“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” ~ Mark Twain
Champagne (or sparkling wine) has come to symbolize luxury (it’s rumored that Marilyn Monroe bathed in 350 bottles) and new beginnings (think of a bottle of champagne smashing against the side of a new ship or airplane). Champagne is often used to toast in a new year and to celebrate special occasions.
For this Seattle interior designer, what better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than to create a champagne bar!
Invite your friends to bring a bottle of their favorite Champagne or sparkling wine.
Clear a table or section of your bar counter and lay out enough champagne glasses on one corner of your space. You can also place different colored ribbons or charm rings next to the glasses so that your guests can easily identify theirs. This will keep you from having to wash glasses mid-party – a real drag, in my opinion!
Place a few bottles in a pretty ice bucket and keep the rest in a cooler or in your refrigerator. Replenish the bucket as you go along. Remember to provide a couple of hand towels to make cork removal fun and drip free.
Now, place the mix-ins (simple syrup, bitters, sugar cubes, juices, lemon peels) in pretty bowls and containers with pouring spouts to keep messes to a minimum.
Place cocktail recipes throughout the bar area. Laminating the recipes will keep them from getting wet.
Here’s one of my favorite champagne recipes, the French 75. The drink was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris—later Harry’s New York Bar—by barman Harry MacElhone. The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun, also called a “75 Cocktail”, or “Soixante Quinze” in French. The French 75 was popularized in America at the Stork Club in New York (Wikipedia).
The French 75
- 1 cup gin
- 1/2 cup No-Cook Simple Syrup (see below)
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- Lemon twists (for garnish)
To make our No-Cook Simple Syrup, combine 2 cups each superfine sugar and water in an airtight container. Cover and shake until sugar dissolves. Makes 3 cups.
Stir gin, No-Cook Simple Syrup, and fresh lemon juice with ice in a medium pitcher for 10 seconds. Strain into Champagne flutes or coupe glasses.
Top with chilled Champagne (Prosecco or other sparkling wine works in a pinch). Garnish with lemon twists.
(Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine – www.bonappetit.com)
Enjoy! And welcome to spring!