With a party theme like ‘making spirits bright,’ there was a little pressure to design an awesome cocktail that would suit lots of tastes. Katie and I deliberated for weeks about whether we should have punch or cocktails at the Bright Blog Bash and then it hit me. How do you make spirits bright? You add color and flavor to your drinks and make it super fun for your guests.
I remember the first time I ordered a champagne cocktail. I was with a group of friends at Bida Manda in Raleigh (to-die-for Laotian cuisine you must try if you’re ever in the area), and we each ordered a champagne cocktail. The server came by our table with glasses partly filled with brandy, a bottle of champagne and an array of colored sugar cubes in all kinds of flavors. The server filled our glasses with champagne and dropped our choice of sugar cube into each drink. (I think between everyone in our group we tried them all!) We marveled at the glasses as we watched the sugar cubes dance, bubble and fizz. I remember thinking how beautiful they were.
I’d kind of forgotten all about that experience but it came flooding back during my cocktail brainstorming. Most champagne cocktails are made with sugar cubes soaked in Angostura cocktail bitters, brandy and champagne, but a while ago I took a stab at making homemade sugar cubes for lavender champagne cocktails. I have been dying to try some other flavors to create a cocktail experience like the one I’d had at that restaurant. The Bright Blog Bash seemed like a perfect opportunity.
I decided to make sugar cubes in four flavors: Angostura bitters (slightly orange-flavored), lemon, rose and lavender. I colored, flavored and molded the sugar cubes myself. I used mini fondant cutters to get the star shapes. I also chose to use vodka instead of brandy to let the flavors come through more strongly.
Our guests really had fun dressing up their champagne! If you’re hosting a holiday or New Year’s Eve party, these would be really fun cocktails to let your guests have fun with. Your guests can select their own flavor, combine flavors or just drink plain champagne.
In lieu of champagne, you can use prosecco or sparkling wine, or even non-alcoholic sparkling cider for any non-drinkers in your crowd. This is a very versatile drink, and you will enjoy coming up with fun flavors to make! You can use any leftover sugar cubes in hot or iced tea for something a little different! The recipe is after the jump.
Thanks for following along with all the Bright Blog Bash fun this week! I hope you spent some time over on Twin Stripe to see Katie’s perspective of the party. Many thanks to our sponsors for their contributions and to Sara Logan Photography for all the gorgeous photos this week! Have a great weekend. // susannah
Click below to learn how to design your own Champagne Cocktail Bar!
A festive, sparkly and versatile drink with the added fun of customization
- Sugar cubes
- Granulated sugar, 1/4 cup per flavor
- 1/2 teaspoon water
- Flavorings, such as Angosturra bitters, lemon juice, lavender extract or rose water
- Liquid food coloring
- Egg white
- Fondant cutters
- 1 ounce brandy or vodka
- 3 to 4 ounces champagne, prosecco or sparkling cider
- Make the sugar cubes. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, water, a few drops of flavoring and 1-2 drops food coloring. Stir until color is evenly distributed. Mixture will be crumbly.
- Dip the edge of a spoon in the egg white, then add a couple drops to the mixture. The color will even out and the mixture will become smooth and slick. (It’s almost like the perfect consistency for building a sandcastle.)
- Drop the sugar mixture onto a piece of parchment paper. Using a flat spatula or the back of a spoon, pat into desired thickness. (I chose 1/4 inch or so.) Use fondant cutters to cut desired shapes or a knife to cut squares. Place the cut pieces onto a piece of parchment. Let dry for 2-3 hours. Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container up to 6 months.
- Make the cocktail. Fill glasses with brandy or vodka. Top with champagne. Drop in 1 or 2 sugar cubes. Serve immediately.
If sugar mixture is too wet, add more sugar. If it is too dry, add more water. If it won’t stick together, add more egg white.
- Serving Size: 1 cocktail, easily multiplied
(Photos // Sara Logan Photography)