A Fresh Twist on the Champagne Cocktail for the New Year
Ah, champagne. There is no wrong way to drink it. But you can make it even better by using it in a cocktail. Traditionally, the champagne cocktail is made with a brown-sugar cube and aromatic bitters distilled from herbs, roots and fragrant bark. The botanical bitters cut the sweetness of the champagne, and the molasses-infused sugar cube folds it right back in, letting the sweetness sit underneath the first wave of bright freshness. The result is a nuanced and convivial cocktail.
Mirroring the ball drop at Times Square, the sugar cube sinks to the bottom of the glass, captivating your attention as it fizzes and nearly sparkles. Bonus: the cube acts as your personal time drop. If you finish your drink before the cube dissolves, you might want to think about slowing your roll, ever so slightly.
Whether you’re looking for a fresh start in 2017, or savoring every last moment of 2016, we can’t think of a better metaphor for considering this year in retrospective. The sweet is rarely appreciated without the bitter, and the bitter adds depth and complexity to the sweet.
In the hopes of bringing in a new year that’s bright and balanced, we enlisted the help of an expert: Josh Batway. The bar manager of Good Bar, a well-provisioned and light-filled bar and restaurant in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle, shared his tips for putting a special twist on a classic.
At midnight on New Year’s Eve in Peru, it’s tradition to fill your bath water with flowers. The color of the bloom represents what you want from your new year. Red roses suggest romance, asters nod toward contentment and freesias angle for a fresh start.
With this tradition in mind, Josh designed a sugar-rimmed cocktail that swaps out champagne for cava. Garden variety bitters are replaced with an assortment of peels, herbs and flowers that could be found on the floor of a Peruvian forest. The result is delicately sweet and peppery, beautifully bubbly.
Lucky for us, Josh shared his recipe and all of his tips for creating this festive cocktail at home and ringing in the new year on a bright note.
1 oz. pisco
1/4 oz. curaçao (brandy-based orange liqueur)
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1 dash Amargo Chuncho (Peruvian bitters)
3/4 oz. egg whites
Cava or other sparkling white wine
- Fill a cocktail shaker with all of the ingredients except lemon twist, cava and golden sugar. Shake vigorously to whip the egg whites.
- Add ice and shake again.
- Double strain the cocktail into a champagne flute rimmed with golden sugar.
- Top it off with the cava, then garnish with a twist of lemon peel crown. (Josh made this pretty flower twist in tribute to the Peruvian tradition.)
If it’s not perfect, that’s okay. Put it in an elegant flute, top it with something sparkling and you can’t go wrong. Cheers! Welcome, 2017.
Photography: Matthew Sumi
Model: Lauren Adler
Wardrobe styling: Megan Oost and Annalicia Montgomery
Art direction, set design and copy: Megan Oost
Thanks to Josh Batway at Good Bar.