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The Cocktail College Podcast: The Champagne Cocktail

“Cocktail College” is brought to you by Mr Black cold brew coffee liqueur. Listener, do you want to know the secret to a great Espresso Martini? It’s not the vodka — though the vodka does matter — but no, it’s the coffee liqueur. And do you wanna know the secret to a great coffee liqueur? It’s coffee. That might sound like a no-brainer, but until Mr Black came along, people weren’t really talking about that people. People weren’t pulling their own espresso shots in the morning. They didn’t care about things like where their espresso came from or when it was roasted. But this is what sets Mr Black apart: It’s made with the finest Arabica cold brew, and you can really taste the difference. And I’m not just saying that because we’re partnering with Mr Black today, I’m saying bartenders have been telling me that for years. Seriously, I remember when it first came along and everyone was recommending it. I was like, “I gotta try this thing.” When I did, I got it. The funny thing is, that was years before Espresso Martini mania. Here we are, and guess what? Mr Black is now available nationwide. Head to to find the closest retailer to you.

The French 75, Air Mail, Old Cuban, and Death in the Afternoon all fit the mold of Champagne cocktails, but as we’ll find out today, there’s arguably only one official “Champagne Cocktail.

Standalone spec or category of cocktails? That’s the big debate on “Cocktail College” as we welcome Amy Racine, the beverage director for JF Restaurants, to explore the Champagne Cocktail. The International Bar Association classifies today’s drink as a “contemporary classic,” listing its ingredients as chilled Champagne, Cognac, Angostura bitters, a sugar cube, and — curiously — a few drops of Grand Marnier. That final component aside, it would seem to confirm that this is a cocktail instead of a category.  As we’ll soon get into with Racine, riffs abound and are easily achieved by switching up the base spirit and tweaking a few other ingredients.

It’s Charmat, Chartreuse, Chandon, Gaston Chiquet, chilled glassware, chilled Cognac, citrus, Cava, chamomile, Calvados, and cocktail culture’s favorite curmudgeon, David Embury (oh my!). And it’s all right here on the “Cocktail College” podcast. Tune in for more.

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Amy Racine’s Champagne Cocktail Recipe


1 brown sugar cube
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
1 ½ ounces chilled VSOP Cognac
3 ounces chilled Champagne
Garnish: orange and lemon peel


Add brown sugar cube to a chilled AP glass or flute.
Soak cube with orange and Angostura bitters.
Add Cognac and top with Champagne.
Express and discard an orange and lemon twist.

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Amy Racine
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The article The Cocktail College Podcast: The Champagne Cocktail appeared first on VinePair.

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