Popping open a bottle of something bubbly—whether it’s genuine Champagne or some other type of sparkling wine—is mandatory on New Year’s Eve. But there are lots of fun and super-easy ways to dress up the drink for the night if you’re in the mood for something different. Better yet, put out an assortment of mixers and let your guests concoct their own festive libations. Here are some ideas for sparkling wine add-ins (and if you’re creating cocktails, I’d recommend using an inexpensive cava or Prosecco instead of real Champagne; you don’t want to mess around too much with the good stuff).
There’s no need to measure precisely; just start with a bit of the mixer, add some sparkling wine, then taste. Add more of either until you come up with just the right combination.
Peach puree or nectar
You’re already familiar with the mimosa, the popular brunch staple of orange juice and Champagne. Try making a Bellini instead, which combines peach puree with sparkling wine (traditionally Prosecco). Mix things up even more by experimenting with different purees and nectars, like strawberry, passion fruit, and pear.
Crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
Make a Kir Royale, which combines a bit of sweet crème de cassis with Champagne. So easy and so delicious.
Guinness or other black Irish stout
Try a Black Velvet—a rich, dark beer mixed with Champagne, for something a little more substantial but still festive. You’ll end up with a dark brown cocktail with a creamy head.
A Nelson’s Blood is a shot of port wine combined with Champagne, which makes a tasty crimson cocktail.
Grand Marnier or Cointreau
Have a bottle of orange liqueur left over from a recipe? Here’s an easy way to dispose of it—combine a shot with Champagne for a more sophisticated (and potent) take on the mimosa.
Wild hibiscus in syrup
This one may sound a bit strange, but it’s both pretty and delicious (and extremely unique). You can buy jars of edible hibiscus flowers preserved in syrup (order from wildhibiscus.com or amazon.com). Just remove a flower, place it in the bottom of your flute, pour in a bit of the accompanying syrup, then top off with sparkling wine. The flower opens up in the glass and turns the drink a lovely pink color, while adding a sweet-tart floral flavor reminiscent of raspberries and rhubarb. When you’re done with the drink, don’t forget to eat the flower at the bottom.
Cheers! What’s your favorite way to jazz up sparkling wine?
(image: Lew Robertson/Getty Images)