The 10 Best Champagne Cocktails in NYC, 2013


If the ball drop is the visual symbol of New Year’s Eve, then the pop of the Champagne cork is the sound. And while you could toast a fizzy flute’s worth of the stuff this December 31, why stop there? Champagne cocktails showcase the many personalities of the effervescent crowd-pleaser while also revealing the individual style and prowess of their creators. Though the classic — Champagne, sugar cube, bitters, and lemon — has some serious legs, barkeeps around the city aren’t shying away from shaking, muddling, and stirring up dazzling riffs. Here, we present one more countdown worth celebrating: the 10 best Champagne cocktails in NYC.


10. Bottled Champagne Negroni, Saxon + Parole


Two percent milk, Heinz 57, Coca-Cola: Some things just taste better bottled. The team at this Bowery corner spot honors that tried and true practice with the bottled Champagne negroni, a creamier take on the gin-Campari-vermouth original that is dually carbonated via machine and a splash of Champagne before an immediate capping. In a group? Opt for a bucket of four ($14 each; $52 for a bucket).

316 Bowery, 212-254-0350,


9. Andean Dusk,Raine’s Law Room


Remember the nervous rush of excitement that overtook you when you were picking up a first date in high school? Prepare for a redux at this Flatiron speakeasy, where you’ll ring a doorbell and then be greeted by a searching stare. Don’t be deterred — just give your name and you’ll soon be ushered into the intimate confines of the swizzle-slinging lair ownership refers to as a kitchen, where insider relief obliterates awkward introductions faster than that long-awaited prom night hand-hold. A marble island is a bartender’s canvas for hyper-organized creations like the Andean Dusk ($16), a florally driven flute of La Diablada Pisco, muddled red grapes, and Moët Rosé Imperial. 48 West 17th Street, 212-242-0600,


8. Follow the Whipping Star, The Library at the Public


Chesterfield booths and studded leather chairs provide the best seats in the house at this backstage bar to Astor Place’s Public Theater, where the menu is aptly divided into three acts (plus encore). Cocktails like the Follow the Whipping Star ($14) — a lush, amber-hued concoction characterized by bright citrus, zippy effervescence, and the richly nutty flavor of orgeat — find their own way to the spotlight. 425 Lafayette Street, 212-539-8777,


7. DIY Prosecco Bar, Sotto 13


Brunch-goers take the revelry reins at Sotto 13, where a DIY prosecco bar ($20) plays first fiddle to an unlimited booze brunch ($29). A silver tray filled with liqueurs, mixers, and fruit garnishes changes frequently depending on seasonality and availability. In cooler months, (further) spike your sparkling with Aperol and Figenza (fig-infused vodka) before brightening your bubbles with blood orange, pomegranate, and raspberry purees. 140 West 13th Street, 212-647-1001,


6. The Jean Lafitte, Eleven Madison Park


We’d be thrilled to be able to pop for a table at Daniel Humm’s world-renowned multi-course playground, where the views — of the park, skyscraping ceilings, and your neighbor’s plate — are serious rivals. But if you find yourself waiting for a friend (or paycheck) to arrive, the bar is the next best thing. Order the Jean Lafitte ($16), a ripely vegetal, synesthesia-inducing shaking of dill tea syrup, grapefruit, and Salers Aperitif topped off with Champagne. 11 Madison Avenue, 212-889-0905,


5. The Fellini, Brooklyn Social


The pre-disco jukebox pages of this Carroll Gardens hangout pack as much history as the postcard-sized laminated drink list. Try the Fellini ($10), a simple but refreshingly memorable layering of lychee nectar, prosecco, and a mint sprig that is an ode to its revered Italian filmmaker namesake and a passed-down replication of his preferred drink on the set of La Dolce Vita. 335 Smith Street, 718-858-7758,


4. Prince of Wales, Pegu Club


Palm plants and East Asian–inspired lantern lights bedeck this second floor Houston Street tipple destination, where Champagne cocktails reserve an entire menu page. Drink your way through, but don’t miss the rich vanilla notes and deep citrus flavors that reign in the Prince of Wales ($18), a wide, Champagne-topped coupe of Benedictine and cognac garnished with a flaming orange twist. 77 West Houston Street, 212-473-7348,


3. Sprezzatura Royale, Pouring Ribbons


Imbibers get a helping hand at this recently sprouted Alphabet City libation lair, where cocktails are organized by the quantity of booze they contain and the adventure threshold required of the drinker to enjoy. The bartender barometer leans toward “refreshing” and “adventurous” for the Sprezzatura Royale ($14), a honeycomb-packed and florally forward trilogy of grapes: Lambrusco, Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, and Amaro Nonino. 225 Avenue B, 917-656-6788,


2. Black Velvet, Maison Premiere


Coaxing aromas of absinthe may have guests confusing Bedford Avenue for Bourbon Street as they saunter into this Green Fairy–lauding den, where oysters serve as cocktail inspirations and ingredients alike. The classic Black Velvet cocktail gets a holiday overhaul here when a cinnamon-and-clove-packed oyster stout reduction meets Chartogne-Taillet Champagne to incessantly smooth effect. The traditional libation is further updated here in its julep-style delivery — frosted tin included. 298 Bedford Avenue, 347-335-0446,


1. Pear Dea, Locanda Verde


When folks aren’t heading to this vibrant Tribeca “taverna” for Andrew Carmellini’s Italian-inspired eats, they’re saddling up to the friendly curved bar for a different tavern-appropriate activity. A drop or two of a seasonal, house-crafted anise and cinnamon tincture goes into the Pear Dea ($14), a star anise-garnished spice powerhouse of fresh pear puree, prosecco, and Hangar 1 vodka. 377 Greenwich Street, 212-925-3797,