Discerning Drinking, Chapter Twenty.


Originally posted 17th February 2013

Of course, it’s not pronounced ‘Cham-paggan’, nor ‘Cham-pag-nee’, but there are few better ways to un-posh posh things like saying their names like a moron (I once lived with someone who called Rioja “Ree-o-joe”).

My housemate brought a bottle of Champaggan back to the apartment after breaking the news of his awesome, long overdue and very well-deserved promotion.  I was more than a little anxious as bubbly does to me what it does to pretty much most people; gets them inebriated a little too quickly. Never fear though, my housemate had an ingenious solution to the pitfalls of Tuesday night drinking: Dominos Pizza Two for Tuesday.  Throw a onesie, Eastenders and Holby City into the mix and this was going to be mid-week tomfoolery at its best.

So as we waited for the food to arrive and debated whether or not I should answer the door to Pizza Guy dressed as a giraffe with a glass of Champaggan in my hand, we thumbed through my cocktail book to find some acceptable Champaggan cocktails. Cocktail guru Simon Difford regards the ‘Devil’s Wine’ (so-called in the Eighteenth Century due to the propensity for the bottles to randomly explode) as one of the fourteen base ingredients for cocktail making, so it really would be a massive shame to simply drink it neat.

French 77

The French 77 is a classic and refreshing cocktail.  Its original incarnation, the French 75, has been knocking around for the best part of a century. Essentially a glass of bubbles with a twist of gin, lemon and sugar, the 75 is allegedly named for the 75mm Howitzer field gun which was in all-too-frequent use in the First World War.  Since then, the cocktail has inspired a few ‘sequels’, such as the French 76 which subs gin with vodka. The 77 is made as follows:

  • 1 shot St. Germain elderflower liqueur;
  • ¼ shot lemon juice;
  • Topped with Champaggan.

To create a French 77, all you need to do is pour everything into a flute (or if you can’t be arsed, a mug works just as well) and lightly agitate suing a bar spoon. Enjoy responsibly, or with a whole Meateor pizza from Dominos on Commercial Road.

The 77 works very well, as the sweetness of the St. Germain subdues the bubbly just enough to balance everything out into a floral and fresh flavour-fest.  It didn’t really compliment the pizza but hey, I’ve also been told that the ex-Pope is a Catholic.

Blue Champagne

Mixed at Carmine’s for shits and giggles, Blue Champagne calls for certain specifics which, due to to drunkenness and pizza-induced tiredness, were not followed:

  • ¾ shot vodka;
  • Eighth of a shot Triple Sec;
  • ¼ shot Blue Curaçao;
  • ¼ shot lemon juice;
  • Topped with Champaggan.

We chose to add a shot of Blue Curaçao to a glass of Champaggan and that was about it. The result wa s sickly sweet and orangey waste of good wine; a drink which was probably the principle cause of a brash hangover the next morning.

So, a night of cocktail-0making mixed fortunes. Goes to show that you don’t need to just piss around with the name to ruin a perfectly good bottle of Moet.  Still, as Napoleon once said;

In victory you deserve Champagne; in defeat, you need it”.

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