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Poor Man’s Champagne Cocktail

Alcohol is expensive. Unless you distill your own on the sly, you’ll be at the mercy of high taxes and big brands. One option is to buy the cheapest booze going, and, with a little magic, turn it into something special. That’s a big part of what cocktails are about.

But you can push it much harder if you think outside the glass. The key is the environment that you drink in. Even if you stick to park bench beverages, if you drink in a space that looks magical, with proper service, the experience will be awesome.–Sam Bompas and Harry Parr

LC Budget-Appropriate Cocktail Note

We haven’t done the math to ascertain that, ounce for ounce, this Champagne cocktail is indeed a far more budget-appropriate alternative to bubbly, but it certainly seems like that’d be the case. Not that we have anything against bubbly. Gosh, no. But we can absolutely vouch for the assertion that the environment makes the cocktail—or, in this case, the Champagne cocktail. Course we’d sip this in an unfinished basement and still feel pretty posh.

Poor Man’s Champagne Cocktail Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • 1 cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 sugar cube
  • Angostura bitters, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Calvados or other apple brandy (or substitute 1/2 tablespoon each thawed frozen apple juice concentrate and Cognac)
  • 1 bottle hard cider, chilled
  • Sliced apple or lemon twist, for garnish

Directions

  • 1. Place the sugar cube in a flute and dribble enough bitters over the sugar to soak it. Add the Calvados and top off the flute with the cider. (You may have some cider left over. Tant pis.) Garnish each Champagne cocktail, er, poor man’s Champagne cocktail with a slice of apple or a lemon twist.
  • 2. Sip, smack your lips, and sigh.
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