Happy New Year! As you survey the damage from your New Years Eve festivities, you may discover some leftover champagne from last night's toasts.
Lucky you! Champagne doesn't keep its bubbles all that long, so you need to find a way to use up any opened bottles today. But there's a lot more to do with that bubbly than just morning mimosas or (gasp!) pouring it down the kitchen sink.
My personal favorite? Mix up a a French 75. This is a 1920s-era cocktail named for the guns the French used in World War I that is making a comeback in nicer cocktail lounges. They are light, refreshing, and delicious and make you feel like a character in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, but they're also much, much stronger than they taste, so be careful. Here's how you make one:
2 ounces cognac or gin (I have only had them with gin, and they are fabulous)
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1/2 ounce lemon juice
5 ounces Brut champagne
In a cocktail shaker, combine gin or cognac, sugar, lemon juice, and ice, and shake well. Strain into a chilled collins glass half filled with ice or straight up in a champagne flute. Top off with champagne.
There are all kinds of variations: An Italian 75 uses prosecco instead of champagne, a Mexican 75 uses tequila, agave nectar, and lime juice, and I think orange juice would make a nice substitution as well.
Here's one from NYC bar Employees Only, called the Secret Crush. It's like a classic champagne cocktail (champagne poured over a bitters-infused sugar cube), fancied up with rose champagne, brown sugar, and Campari.
5 ounces cava brut rose, divided
1 raw brown sugar cube
4 or 5 dashes Angostura bitters
3/4 ounce Campari
1 lemon twist
Pour 1 1/2 ounces of the sparkling wine into a champagne flute. Place the sugar cube on a bar spoon and saturate it with the bitters. Carefully place the sugar cube in the flute. Let it rest for a moment. Pour in the rest of the sparkling wine. Add the Campari. Twist the lemon peel over the drink, then discard.
Other ideas are a classic Kir Royale:
6 ounces champagne
1/2 ounce crème de cassis
Pour champagne and creme de cassis into a champagne flute; garnish with lemon twist....
or a Black Velvet: Half champagne and half Guinness.
And if you cannot stand the idea of another cocktail after last night, there's always cooking with it: champagne makes a delicious cooking liquid to poach pears in, or try it cooked with peaches, sugar, and a little cinnamon and nutmeg to make a delicious peach sauce for ice cream.
What do you mix up with leftover champagne?
Image via epicurious.com