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Champage Cocktail Experiments

January 27, 2011

Of course, trying out a variety of champagne cocktails is all in the name of science.  It wasn’t fun at all…wait….

The line up

Materials Used:

  • Dry sparkling wine- we used an inexpensive cava
  • Lemon sugar
  • St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
  • Pimm’s No. 1
  • Aperol
  • Orange liqueur
  • Bitters (we used Jerry Thomas, Angostura works too)
  • Rosemary simple syrup (1 cup water and 1 cup sugar simmered with 4 sprigs of rosemary for about 20+ minutes, then strained)
  • Orange simple syrup (juice and peel of 2 oranges, simmered for 20+ minutes with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup water, then strained)

Making rosemary simple syrup


What would be the best combination for a New Year’s cocktail that would meet the following criteria:

  • Universally enjoyed
  • Drinkable over the course of an evening (ie not too strong or sweet that you can only have one)
  • Not too fussy to make over and over again
  • Plays well with a lemon sugar rim, because I already made the lemon sugar, liked it, and wanted to use it for New Year’s.


The ideal combination would be 1 liqueur, 1 simple syrup flavor, topped off with champagne.   Something that had a balance of herbal, sweet, and bitter would be ideal.  My pre-taste testing guess was rosemary simple syrup, orange liqueur and a few dashes of bitters.

Taking notes!


Trial 1: This recipe came from the NY Times, and was sort of a starting off point.  It contained 3/4 ounce each of Aperol, St-Germain,  lemon juice (although the recipe called for lime juice, we didn’t have any on hand), and rosemary-infused simple syrup.  This was mixed together and then topped with 2 ounces dry sparkling wine.

Notes: This drink was delicious, with all of the ingredients working in harmony.  The herbal flavors of the rosemary played well with the bright aperol and the lemon juice.  This wasn’t as light as most sparkling wine cocktails, which lead up to using 3 oz. of cava in all of our drinks rather than the 2 ounces listed here.

The only drawback was that this drink required many ingredients, including 2 different liqueurs.  Bringing this to a party might be unwieldy as well as expensive.  So we forged ahead to find a combination that would be tasty and interesting, but simpler and easier to transport.

Trial 2: 1 oz. each of Aperol and  rosemary syrup, topped with 3 ounces of cava.

Notes: Too medicinal in taste.  There wasn’t enough bright flavor to counteract the herbal flavors.

The final syrup, a mix of orange, grapefruit and rosemary


The final result, ready for transport to a party!

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