Classic champagne cocktail image

Classic Champagne Cocktail

What better to toast in the new year than this classic champagne cocktail. I’ve added St Germain elderflower liqueur to mine, just for that something special. This is very similar to my Elderflower Champagne Cocktail, which uses gin and elderflower liqueur.

Want to know the story of the cocktail? Click here to read more.

First things first. You’re for the recipe, right? Here it is, right at the top.

Classic Champagne Cocktail

Classic Champagne Cocktail

Recipe by Marti

The classic champagne cocktail has just three ingredients – sugar cube, bitters and bubbles. I add elderflower liqueur for that extra special something. It’s the perfect celebration drink.

Course: Cocktail HourDifficulty: Easy
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Make in


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You will need

  • 1 1 sugar cube

  • 1-2 dashes 1-2 Angostura Bitters

  • 5 ml 5 St Germain elderflower liqueur (optional)

  • Sparkling wine or champagne to top up the glass

Here’s what to do

  • Add the sugar cube to a champagne flute or coupe glass.
  • Cover the sugar cube with a few dashes of Angostura Bitters.
  • Add elderflower liqueur, if using
  • Top up with your favourite sparkling wine or champagne. You may need to do this in stages to allow bubbles to settle in between.

Recipe Video

Tips and tricks

  • A true champagne cocktail doesn’t have elderflower liqueur, but I think it adds a lovely note to the finished drink. Just leave it out if you wish.
  • To make life easier, you can place the sugar cube on a tall spoon sitting on paper towel and shake the bitters over before adding to the glass. It saves a bit of mess and makes life a bit easier.

About the Classic Champagne Cocktail

In his 1948 publication, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, the American attorney and bartender, David A. Embury shared his instructions on how to mix the perfect Classic Champagne Cocktail. The instruction, as shared by Diffords Guide, goes like this:

This drink should be served in a pre-chilled saucer champagne glass. Place a medium-sized loaf of sugar in the glass and saturate it with Angostura bitters – about 2 dashes. Fill with thoroughly chilled champagne. Add a twist of lemon or orange peel, or both …

David A. Embury

He goes on to describe the cocktail as an incongruous mess.

Harrumph, I say.

Appearing in the history books

The jury’s out a bit on that, but some say it was in 1855 within an account of the Panama Railroad, published by Harper & Brothers of New York.

Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published in 1861, mentions a ‘Regent’s Punch’ of champagne and brandy. It made another appearance in Jerry Thomas’ cocktail book – the world’s first – published in 1862. The book, titled How to Mix Drinks, calls for the classic three ingredients – sugar, bitters and ‘wine’. It’s then garnished with lemon peel.

Many people still choose to make them with brandy, which adds rather a punch to the basic bubble.

Love them or loathe them, the Champagne Cocktail is here to stay. And whether you choose to make the version in my recipe, use cognac or gin, which is another popular addition. Whether you pour fine champagne or fun bubbly, they’re certainly a tipple fit for celebrations.

Cheers one and all.

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