There comes a time in every woman’s life when she realizes that everything that’s good ain’t good for her. For me, that time came not so long ago. On a cold Thursday night, I met my girlfriend at our local watering hole as I often do. I ordered and consumed my two vodka neat cocktails. That’s it. I had only two cocktails. I woke up Friday morning so sick that I almost thought of missing my 9 a.m. conference call. I didn’t miss my call (because I’m a straight G and G’s don’t participate in that weak shit) and suffered through the day convinced that this was some sort of aberration. Maybe I was just coming down with something anyway. Maybe I didn’t eat enough. I’ll do better next time.
Next time came a week or two later and I had exactly two cocktails at a different, snazzier spot. This time I rolled with one of my absolute faves, the Sazerac. I could tell by a few sips into the second one that I was in trouble. How could I have possibly gotten this drunk from two drinks without being roofied? I woke up at 2 a.m. unable to open my eyes and once I could, my eyes wouldn’t focus. I was down for three days this time. THREE DAYS. I have entirely too much going on to waste three whole days popping Advil and hanging near my toilet.
But, as you can imagine, what I was coming to realize was very difficult for me to accept. I tried one last time, but this time I couldn’t even bear to try liquor again. I just stuck with champagne and guess what? I woke up the next day as fresh as a freakin’ flower. I tried again a few days later with just wine. Again, I felt great the next day.
Hallelujah! All was not lost. It’s not all alcoholic beverages; it’s just the hard stuff. I love champagne anyway! I always make an effort to try different bottles. I even buy it by the case just for everyday consumption sometimes. (Note to self: Time to make a Binny’s run to re-up.) Right now, I’m really digging Bollinger La Grande Annee to keep around the house.
So instead of mournfully humming Lisa Fischer’s “How Can I Ease the Pain,” I will focus on all of the good things and look back on my boozier cocktails with love. Besides, I can always switch it up sometimes by building my repertoire of champagne cocktails. Naturally, I’ve already perfected a few.
When I go all mixologist on my champagne, I tend to stick to inexpensive to mid-range champagne. Why waste the really expensive stuff? Also most recipes are at least 75% champagne. With the lowered alcohol content, there’s no way I’m mixing any more than that.
The Good Life
This is by far my go-to champagne cocktail. Something about it makes me want to celebrate.
- Peach bitters (I prefer Fee Brothers)
- Peach liqueur
- Lemon peel garnish
This is a quick and easy one. Just shake a few drops of peach bitters into your champagne, splash in a little liqeur and garnish with lemon peel. P.S. I used to add a touch of vodka to this one. I can’t now, but by all means.
South of France
I got this one from Mastro’s (best bone marrow ever, but I digress). I make this one a LOT. Using liqeurs to bring the flavor actually ups the alcohol content (but not so much that I get all loopy) giving more bang for the buck without watering it down like juices would.
- Esprit de June Liquer
- Combier Créme de Pamplemousse
- Lemon twist
Fill your glass with champagne and splashes of both liqeurs. Drop in a lemon twist for garnish. I try to curl the peel to the best of my ability when I’m feeling extra.
We go waaaay back. I’ve been fancy for a long time.
- Lemon bitters
Add a couple of drops of the bitters to your champagne flute. Fill the flute with your favorite champagne and top off with Chambord.
I love this one when I have time to prepare my sugar cubes and I’m feeling extra sweet, but spicy.
- Sugar cubes soaked with a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters
- Fresh jalapeno ring
Dash each sugar cube with a couple of drops of bitters, drop in the glass and fill ‘er up with champagne. Add the jalapeno ring. Yeah.