Effervescent and ever-popular, the champagne cocktail is a study in simplicity. That goes double for sparkling aperitifs such as the Bellini and the French 75. If your customers enjoyed toasting the New Year with a glass of champagne, imagine how the berries, ginger or yuzu of these three reinventions can enliven the post-holiday cocktail experience.
1. The Champagne Cocktail. Recipes like the fresh blueberry and pear champagne aperitif are spinoffs of the classic champagne cocktail that has been a sophisticated sip since the 1800s. The original cocktail was made with a sugar cube, bitters and lemon peel. But maybe it’s time for this update, with blueberries and pears.
2. The Bellini. The Raspberry Ginger Bellini is a reinterpretation of the classic peach nectar and champagne aperitif that originated at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy during World War II. This contemporary version features the flavors of ginger liqueur, raspberries and lemon juice.
3. The French 75. As the story goes, this champagne cocktail/aperitif was created in France during World War I and named for a 75 mm field artillery gun. The classic French 75 cocktail combines the flavors of gin, lemon sour mix and champagne. At Haru in Boston, though, the new Japanese-French hybrid, the Yuzu French 75, made its debut as a New Year’s cocktail. Haru’s mixology team is pouring this sparkling drink — with premium gin, fresh lemon and yuzu juice — during January and February.
See the recipes
Fresh Blueberry and Pear Champagne Aperitif
Yield: 6 to 8 servings in cordial glasses
1 cup fresh blueberries, washed
2 medium Bartlett pears washed, peeled and chopped
2 cups of water
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup champagne
optional for garnish, whipped cream
Place the blueberries, pears, water, sugar, lemon juice and orange juice in a pot and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes. Puree and strain; chill.
When ready to serve, stir ½ cup of champagne into cold fruit mixture and serve in cordial glasses. If desired, garnish each glass with a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh blueberry.
Recipe and photo courtesy of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association
Raspberry Ginger Bellini
Yield: 1 serving
2 Tbsp. ginger liqueur (such as Domaine de Canton)
1 Tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. simple syrup
4 fresh raspberries, plus one for garnish
as needed, ice
6 Tbsp. sparkling rosé
for garnish, candied ginger
Combine the ginger liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and 4 raspberries in a cocktail shaker. Top with ice and shake vigorously. Add sparkling rosé in a champagne coupe glass. Strain shaken contents into glass with rosé. Garnish with a skewer of one raspberry and a piece of candied ginger.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Driscoll’s
The Yuzu French 75
From: Haru, Boston, MA. Yield: 1 serving
1½ oz. top-shelf gin, such as Bombay Sapphire
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
¼ oz. pure yuzu juice
splash of champagne
as needed for garnish, lemon twist
Build, shake and strain the ingredients into a 6-oz. champagne flute and top with champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.