Champagne cocktails make any occasion more festive. And they don’t require Champagne, per se, but can use more affordable bubblies such as Prosecco and Asti Spumante from Italy, Cava from Spain and Sekt from Germany. You can also substitute red bubblies such as Italian Brachetto and Lambrusco, sparkling Shiraz and the many American sparklers.
These alternatives work just as well in a “Champagne cocktail,” in which the mixers cover up much of the complex Champagne flavors for which one pays so much more.
We’ve been working our way through a whole book of bubbly recipes—Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions & Scintillating Sparklers by A.J. Rathbun—that we enjoy giving as a gift, along with a bottle of Prosecco or Cava.
Here’s a recipe from the book: the Tiziano cocktail, a “cousin” of the Bellini* that uses grape juice and Prosecco instead of peach purée and Asti Spumante. It’s easy to make an alcohol-free version by substituting ginger ale for the Prosecco.
The grape juice-ginger ale cocktail with frozen grapes is very popular with kids!
*Both cocktails are named for great artists. Giovanni Bellini was acclaimed as the greatest Venetian painter of the fifteenth century. Fifty years later, his former student, Titian (Tiziano Vecelli), was acclaimed as the greatest Venetian painter of the sixteenth century and the father of modern painting. We’re not sure if the Rossini cocktail, below, is named for the great 19th century Italian composer Gioachino Rossini or the 20th century Polish painter, Nicolaus Rossini.
TIZIANO COCKTAIL RECIPE
Ingredients For 4 Drinks
1. ADD three or four frozen grapes to each flute glass.
2. POUR 1½ ounces of grape juice into each flute.
3. FILL the glasses almost to the top with Prosecco. Serve.
Variation: Change the white grape juice to strawberry juice or strawberry purée and garnish with a strawberry (not frozen) instead of a grape. This drink is known as a Rossini.
Find more of our favorite cocktail recipes.
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