A few years back a friend gave me a small book of champagne cocktail recipes. I use it most often during the holidays because of how fun and festive these drinks are. Plus, they're a lighter alternative to the usual heavy winter and holiday drinks many hosts serve. You don't have to limit yourself to champagne in these recipes, prosecco or any kind of sparkling wine will do just as nicely. And you don't need to spend a lot on your bubbly. A more expensive bottle of champagne will yield a drier cocktail, less expensive ones tend to be sweeter.
Fresh Mint Leaves
1 sugar cube
1 tablespoon bourbon
5 ounces champagne
This is a variation of the classic mint julep and it's served in some of the swanky cafes in Paris. In a champagne flute glass muddle, several mint leaves with the sugar cube and bourbon. Top with champagne. Garnish with a mint leaf and bourbon-soaked cherry.
Fresh strawberries (enough for a garnish and one ounce of puree)
4 ounces champagne
While we normally think of summer when it comes to strawberry drinks, I like this at the holidays for its rich, red color. In a blender combine the strawberries and a dash of simple syrup. Blend until frothy. Strain the puree and then add an ounce to a flute glass. Top with champagne. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and rosemary.