An all-inclusive cruise ship can be a dangerous place. It’s all too easy to overindulge, particularly when certain staff members seem determined to convince you to have yet another glass of wine with dinner. Do they get paid more if they pour more free wine?
When my liver is thus imperiled for a week, I avoid hard liquor and drink only wine (and the occasional glass of water). I did make an exception on this journey with Silversea, when the bartender Marwell convinced me to imbibe a delicious “Grand Champagne Cocktail” one night before dinner. I’d sampled plain ol’ Champagne Cocktails before and enjoyed them, and I was intrigued to see how Marwell would make it “Grand.”
A standard Champagne Cocktail starts with a cube of sugar at the bottom of a champagne flute. Soak the cube with a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters, top off with Champagne, and voilà! A most elegant aperitif. You can also goose this recipe with the addition of a little Cognac, measuring in about 1/5 as much Cognac as Champagne.
But a cruise is no place to show restraint, so Marwell took it yet further with a splash of Grand Marnier. The resulting Grand Champagne Cocktail (also called a “Night and Day“) tastes complex, deep and lively, and it packs a surprising punch. One of these is plenty before dinner.
It’s rare to see Champagne Cocktails on drink menus nowadays, and when they do appear, it tends to be expensive. All the more reason then to give this drink a try at your next party. You can prepare flutes with bitters-soaked sugar cubes in advance, and add the other ingredients as guests arrive. There’s no need to invest in an expensive Champagne for this cocktail; a dry Cava or Prosecco could also work quiet well (but given a choice, I’d opt for Cava, since its bubbles will stand up to the Cognac and Grand Marnier better).
Presented with this cocktail, your guests will surely be impressed and delighted. And because the liquors make the drink surprisingly strong, a Grand Champagne Cocktail will get your party off to a lively start.