Easy Champagne Cocktails: a DIY Bubbles Bar

Thirsty Jane loves a Mimosa, especially when slaving over a turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. The Mimosa truly is both a classic and a classy drink. Allegedly invented in Paris in 1925, the Mimosa features 2 ounces of fresh orange juice, a wee bit (1 teaspoon) of orange liqueur (like Gran Marnier) and Champagne. Most of the Mimosa’s consumed in the US resemble more closely the Buck’s Fizz which hails from England and omits the orange liqueur way, the drink is absolutely gorgeous and delicious for brunch. There’s no need to stop with orange juice, however. For example, another classic is the Bellini, which was invented in Italy in the 1930’s and uses a white peach puree.

Next time you host a brunch party, try setting up your own “Bubbles Bar” and let guests mix their own sparkling wine cocktail. All you need is a few bottles of sparkling wine and a variety of fruit juices and/or liqueurs– remember it’s only “Champagne” if it is from the Champagne region in France. US, Italy and Spain also make wonderful and value-oriented sparkling wines. Italian Prosecco is wonderful for any of these cocktails! Opt for a “brut” because it is drier and will balance better with the sweetness of the juices or liqueurs used.

Almost any juice can be provided as a mixing option at your Bubbles Bar. Orange and peach are the most traditional, but papaya, cranberry, pineapple and pomegranate all make great accompaniments to sparkling wine. For a non-alcoholic version, use sparkling white grape juice!

Many liqueurs also compliment sparkling wine wonderfully. My favorite is the Kir Royale which is a traditional French aperitif combining champagne with creme de cassis. Other liqueurs you might want to include on your Bubbles Bar are Chambord, elderflower liqueur, cognac, and Aperol.

Don’t worry if guests appear nervous at first to mix their own cocktail.  Encourage them to experiment and toss any bad drinks down the drain. Remember: Thirsty Jane has dumped her share of bad tries in the sink. By then end of the party, though, people are usually engaged in the process and leave feeling empowered to make a great drink.


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