By Elizabeth SanFilippo
Champagne is all about celebrating, and with these five recipes from local mixologists, you can have some fun. While most include champagne, they all include some sort of bubbly — from moscato to other sparkling wines. Make these the perfect drinks to toast with at your next party!
Bridge Bar Chicago
315 N. LaSalle St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Head bar chef and executive chef Kevin Schulz combines interesting flavors to make an impactful champagne drink that he calls French 315, which is available at Bridge Bar for $11. To make this drink at home, combine 1/2 ounce St. Germain, 1/2 ounce Mathilde XO liqueur, 1 dash lavender simple syrup and 4 ounces of sparkling wine (which can be substituted for champagne). Top with orange twist garnish before enjoying.
About Kevin Schulz
Kevin Schulz’s unique dishes and cocktail creations stem from fresh, seasonal and original flavors. In 2009, Schulz joined Fulton’s on the River, where he incorporated traditional cooking techniques acquired from his studies at Le Cordon Bleu Chicago. Prior to Fulton’s, he completed an externship with Michael Taus and worked at Tramonto Steak and Seafood with Chef Rick Tramonto. Kevin’s cuisine and cocktails were soon influenced by all his travels, from Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail to Paris, London, and beyond in Europe. With a knack for unique libations, including brewing beer and creating his own liqueurs and bitters, Kevin helped launch Bridge Bar in the spring of 2011.
Filini Bar and Restaurant
221 N. Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Tickle your senses with head bartender Roger Bailey’s sparkling wine drink, Novara Fizz. Combine 1 ounce Campari, 1/2 ounce lemon juice, 1/2 ounce honey and 2 ounces of prosecco in a shaker tin. Shake vigorously, and then strain into a chilled champagne flute. Garnish with a lemon twist.
About Roger Bailey
Before working as the head bartender in Filini Bar and Restaurant, Bailey had eight years of experience in the beer, wine and spirits industry. Prior to starting at Filini in January 2012, he bartended at both the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower and the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago. He believes that “people should venture outside of the visual aspects of cocktails,” and as such, he strives to enlighten his guests with the knowledge of the products he uses, proving that he’s passionate both about social interaction and creative challenges. He makes a constant effort to get co-workers and guests alike interested and involved in the learning and experimentation of mixology.
Potter’s Lounge (Palmer House Hilton)
124 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
Get creative with Patrick Coyne’s Basil Bliss. In a mixing glass, muddle 4 pineapple chunks, 5 basil leaves and 1/2 ounce of simple syrup. Add 2 ounces Tres Generaciones and shake on ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass, and top off with a splash of champagne. Garnish with a skewered pineapple and a basil leaf floating on top.
Another classic from Potter’s Lounge is Coyne’s “Potter,” which is a classic Belvedere vodka martini topped off with sparkling moscato. In a cocktail shaker, combine 4 ounces Belvedere vodka and ice and shake vigorously until chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass and top off with a splash of sparkling moscato of your choice. Garnish with a lemon twist and a skewer of fresh raspberries.
About Patrick Coyne
Coyne started in the hospitality industry as a dining room attendant and kitchen helper in St. Charles, IL. Throughout school, he held various food and beverage jobs while attending Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, where he graduated with a degree in marketing and operations management. After working as an assistant restaurant manager and food and beverage manager at Big Downtown Restaurant, Coyne moved to the Palmer House Hilton, where he oversees the hotel’s beverage program, including the creation of the cocktail and beverage menus.
2152 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
David Willhite, the mixologist at The Bristol, proves that liqour can go with champagne with his sweet and tasty Cranberry 75. First, make a cranberry syrup by placing 5 dried allspice berries and peels of one orange into a sauce pan at 350 degrees (this works best if you crush the berries). Let the allspice berries and orange peel toast for about five minutes. Then, combine 12 ounces of cranberries, 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Let the cranberries simmer until they start to burst, then remove from the heat. Strain the cranberries for the syrup.
To make the drink, shake and strain 1 ounce brandy, 3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice and 3/4 ounce cranberry syrup into a champagne flute. Top the drink with champagne and add a poached cranberry for garnish.
About David Willhite
St. Louis-native David Willhite has been in the restaurant/hospitality business for over 21 years. As The Bristol’s head mixologist and bartender, he creates the cocktail menu, which includes some of his own seasonal recipes as well as classics. Willhite’s cocktails have been featured in Mr. Boston’s Bartenders Guide, and Willhite prides himself on making drinks that people enjoy.
Related: Best Hot Drinks in Chicago
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.