I worked with Champagne Perrier Joüet to create a cocktail that takes a Champagne toast to a whole new level of luxury. This two-ingredient cocktail couldn’t possibly be easier to make yet it creates a drink that is sensual, unique and totally unforgettable. That’s because this Champagne cocktail recipe combines two of the world’s best-known aphrodisiac foods, Champagne, (or sparkling wine) with saffron threads to create a sexy Champagne drink with a golden hue.
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. The golden hue the saffron lends to the Champagne is both stunning and decadent. It is easy to see why it has become the most popular cocktail for a New Year’s Eve toast among the book’s readers.
Why this is the best cocktail for a Champagne toast
This sparkling cocktail is not only beautiful, it is luxurious. Did you know that saffron is the world’s most expensive spice? And Champagne, of course, is considered one of the world’s greatest luxury drinks.
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 first be 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.
An easy cocktail recipe to make for parties
Although I call it my New Year’s Eve drink recipe, this saffron-colored cocktail is really my favorite Champagne cocktail for toasting. And it is great for the entire season from Thanksgiving to the first of the year. It is also an elegant cocktail recipe for a wedding toast.
This sophisticated cocktail’s simplicity makes it a smart choice for a party host. It calls for no muddling or shaking, no whipping of eggs or shaving of ice. In fact, it only calls for those two aforementioned ingredients, saffron and Champagne. And since you make a powder of the saffron in advance, the only assembly required to wow your party guests is to place a pinch of saffron in the glass and pour in the Champagne
Why this is a drink for date night
Although this drink is a great choice for a luxurious party cocktail, it is also a drink to serve on date night. 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 for making the best luxury Champagne cocktail
The trick to infusing the Champagne with the right balance of spice is to toast the saffron very gently in advance. Once it becomes brittle, you can grind it to a fine powder, to be sprinkled judiciously into the bottom of each Champagne flute. The toasted, crushed spice brings a robust flavor and golden hue to any bottle of bubbly, making this special cocktail both beautiful for toasting and delicious with a meal.
How to choose the right sparkling wine for this luxury drink
Obviously, Champagne Perrier Joüet recommends making this luxurious cocktail with their vintage Belle Epoque Champagne. (That’s the one sold in the stunning green bottle with the white and pink anemone flowers.) But the drink works beautifully with most Brut-style Champagnes.
You can make a Cava cocktail
If you’re watching your budget, you can also try this new year’s cocktail recipe with a Brut Cava or any Brut sparkling wine made in the méthode champenoise, also called the traditional method. Obviously, this is supposed to be a luxury cocktail, so I recommend not skimping too much. Beyond making sure that you’re buying a wine made in the traditional method, not tank method, make sure you select a Cava or sparkling wine that you would happily drink on its own, not just make into a cocktail.
More Champagne Cocktail recipes
Saffron Fleurtation Cocktail
- 1 bottle Brut Champagne or Sparkling Wine
- 20 saffron threads
- 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 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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