Whether you’re toasting New Year’s Eve or just celebrating one of life’s little victories, this is one of the easiest drink recipes with the most stunning results. A delicious drink for any special occasion, this cocktail recipe combines premium Champagne with the most luxurious spice of them all, saffron. Sprinkled into the bottom of each Champagne flute, the saffron turns the wine a glorious, golden color right before your eyes. This drink instantly turns any evening into a night to remember.
What makes a luxury Champagne cocktail?
I worked with Champagne Perrier Joüet to create an original cocktail that takes a Champagne toast to a whole new level of luxury. The drink recipe was designed to combine Perrier Joüet Belle Époche Brut Champagne, one of the finest Champagnes in the world, with the world’s most expensive spice. It’s hard to find a more luxurious drink than that! It seriously is the best New Year’s Eve cocktail.
This two-ingredient cocktail couldn’t possibly be easier to make. Yet combining Champagne with the golden spice creates a drink that is sensual, unique and totally unforgettable. We first shared this sexy Champagne drink in my bestselling book, Fork Me, Spoon Me: the sensual cookbook. And it quickly became one of the book’s most talked about recipes not just because it is one of the most expensive cocktail recipes but because of the effect the pairing of Champagne and saffron creates on your senses. The subtle pinch of spice not only deepens the wine’s color to gold but it augments the wine’s natural aromas and flavors, bringing out the Champagne’s more savory qualities.
Why this saffron cocktail is perfect for a toast
This sparkling cocktail is not only beautiful, but it is also indulgent. Champagne, of course, is a natural choice for a toast. It is considered the drink of celebration. But to better understand what makes this cocktail recipe so special, let’s take a closer look at the drink’s lesser-known ingredient, saffron.
What is saffron?
If you don’t cook a lot of Indian or Mediterranean cuisines, you may not have encountered saffron. But it is the ingredient that lends color and a unique, savory quality to many traditional dishes in these cultures.
Saffron comes from a crocus flower that was believed to have first been cultivated in Greece. Each flower produces only three threads of saffron, and it takes about 1,000 of these to produce one ounce of the spice. So now you can understand why saffron is so expensive. It truly is a special-occasion spice.
When to serve this Champagne cocktail
Although this is my New Year’s Eve drink recipe, this saffron-colored cocktail is really my favorite Champagne cocktail for toasts all year long. It’s sophisticated and simple with no muddling or shaking, no whipping of eggs or shaving of ice. It just takes two ingredients, saffron and Champagne. Serve it all year long as a:
New Year’s Eve Champagne toast
Bridal shower drink
Easter Champagne cocktail
Romantic dinner drink
It’s a date night drink
Although this drink is a great choice for luxurious party cocktails, it is also very romantic. As I mentioned earlier, both saffron and Champagne are among the world’s most legendary aphrodisiacs. You can learn more about the aphrodisiac history of saffron and Champagne in my dictionary of aphrodisiac foods.
Tips & substitutions
The trick to infusing the Champagne with the right balance of spice is to carefully toast the saffron in advance.
Preparing the saffron
Once the saffron becomes brittle from light toasting, you can grind it to a fine powder. (I use a small mortar and pestle but you can crumble the toasted threads by hand if you don’t own one.) The toasted, crushed spice brings a robust flavor and golden hue to any glass of bubbly, making this special cocktail both beautiful for toasting and delicious with a meal.
Using a less expensive Champagne
Obviously, Champagne Perrier Joüet recommends making this luxurious cocktail with their vintage Belle Époche Brut Champagne. (You may know it as the one sold in the stunning green bottle with the white and pink anemone flowers.) But if you don’t want to invest in a bottle of vintage Champagne, the drink works beautifully with most Brut-style Champagnes, including those in the under $50 range. Some good, non-vintage choices include:
Champagne Collet Brut Art Deco
Henriot Brut Souverain
Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut
Making it a sparkling wine cocktail
If you’re watching your budget, you can also try this special occasion cocktail recipe with a Brut Cava or any Brut sparkling wine made in the méthode champenoise, also called the traditional method, (methode cap classique in South Africa). Just keep in mind that this is supposed to be a luxurious cocktail, so make sure the wine is fairly high quality. Cheers!
More Champagne cocktail recipes
Saffron Fleurtation Luxury Champagne Cocktail
To make one cocktail
- 5 oz Brut Champagne or Sparkling Wine Use one 750ml bottle to make 5 drinks
- 4 saffron threads Toast 20 threads for 5 drinks
- In a small pan, toast the saffron over medium heat until it just starts to release fragrance, about one minute. (No NOT overcook.)
- Crush the saffron threads (using a mortar and pestle or by hand) then sprinkle a pinch into each of two Champagne flutes.
- Top with Champagne and toast to the art of flirtation.
- Drain and repeat.
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