‘A glass of bubbly’ or champagne is an integral part of most celebrations. But what is champagne? A London bartending academy will teach you not only what this sparkling wine is all about, but also how to make some innovative, fabulous cocktails with it.

Drink champagne in a London bartending academy

Champagne is a sparkling wine made from grapes and produced specifically in the Champagne region of France. It is not a generic name and no other bubbling; sparkling wine can be called champagne. The grapes used for the production of champagne are primarily the dark Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and the white Chardonnay. It has to be fermented twice. During the second fermentation some rock sugar and several grams of yeast are added to it and this causes the carbonation which creates the fizzing bubbles. The champagne bottle is then sealed with a crown cap and allowed to age. Subsequently the cap is carefully replaced with a cork and then the bottle is sold. This method of production is known as ‘methode champenoise’. Champagne production and sale is totally controlled by CIVC of France, keeping in mind the economic interests of the winegrowing community of the area.

There are a number of different types of champagne. Those made from Chardonnay grapes are called ‘Blanc de blanc’, those from the Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier grapes are called ‘Blanc de Noir’. When a bit of still red wine is added to the sparkling wine it gets a pink hue and is called the Rose Champagne or the Pink Champagne. Depending on the sweetness of the bottled wine, it is classified as follows, wherein Extra Brut is the driest and Doux the sweetest.

  • Extra Brut
  • Brut
  • Extra Dry
  • Sec
  • Demi-sec
  • Doux

The top 10 brands of Champagne today are

  • Moet & Chandon
  • Veuve Clicquot
  • Nicholas Feuillatte
  • GH. Mumm
  • Laurent Perrier
  • Piper Heidsieck
  • Tattinger
  • Pommery
  • Lanson
  • Perrier Juoet

There is a specific technique to opening a bottle of champagne and then pouring it. The cork of the bottle has to be held and the bottle itself slowly turned to release the pressure of the gas inside and prevent spillage. It must be served in a champagne flute which is held at an angle and the wine has to be slowly poured into it.

To talk about a few champagne cocktails the few favourites that come to mind are

  • Champagne cocktail: A sugar cube in the flute, a couple of dashes of bitters, topped with brut champagne, finished with a squeeze of lime
  • Mimosa: Fresh orange juice topped champagne; a dash of grenadine or Grand Marnier will add a whole new complexity to this simple cocktail
  • Jubal Early Punch: Sugar dissolved in lemon juice and water; rum and brandy mixed into it; champagne poured in just before serving. A delightful party-drink for a bunch of people!
  • Black Velvet: Half a tall glass of stout slowly topped with champagne and gently stirred.

Champagne is not just a celebration drink; it can be had any time of the day. Down the ages it has been associated with the sophisticated class, kings and queens, film stars, presidents and prime ministers.

If you wish to know more about it, join a London bartending academy.