Some people say that how you spend New Year's Eve sets the tone for the rest of the year. Although we're not the superstitious type, if that means the upcoming year will be full of Champagne, we're all for it! And while a glass of bubbly on its own is all well and good, we also love giving guests the option of customizing it with a little something special. Here, five inspired ideas that are sure to impress and couldn't be easier to put together.
1. Liqueur-Infused Sugar Cubes
Here’s a charming way to spiff up your sparkly: Swap a Champagne cocktail’s usual brown Angostura-bitters-infused sugar cubes for ones soaked in a vivid flavored liqueur. Color sugar cubes with a few drops, set them out with bubbly, and let guests choose a shade. From left to right: Peychaud's bitters, creme de violette, Suze, and Giffard pamplemousse.
2. Candied Ginger
Another easy way to reinvent the classic Champagne cocktail? Keep the Angostura bitters and switch out the sugar cube for a piece of candied ginger -- you can even make your own! It gives the drink a subtle spicy-sweet flavor and makes a great treat once you've taken that last sip.
3. Kumquats + Sugar
The delicate citrus does double duty here -- it's teamed with sugar to rim the flute, and a kumquat slice is dropped into the rosé Champagne (choose a dry, floral variety). Need a festive name for this concoction? Make it an astrological aperitif by dubbing it the Capricorn.
In Spain, it's not just about what you drink on New Year's Eve, but what you eat: a dozen grapes, symbolizing good luck for each month in the year ahead. The tradition is to down them as quickly as possible at the stroke of midnight -- the celebratory bubbly comes much later. Make the ritual your own by threading grapes onto skewers, and serve each in a glass of Champagne (or cava if you want to take another cue from the Spaniards) just before the countdown.
A teaspoon of sorbet transforms a glass of bubbly in color and flavor. Swirl in your favorite flavor -- we used raspberry and passion fruit -- and watch as your Champagne becomes an irresistible fizzy slushie. Serve alongside a batch of our cranberry-pomegranate punch, and it's a party!
Whichever upgrade you choose, you're going to want your bubbly to be cold. Watch our Kitchen Conundrums expert Thomas Joseph demonstrate the fastest way to chill Champagne: