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Champagne Bourbon Cooler

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champagne bourbon cooler cocktail with strawberry and basil garnish
Champagne Bourbon Cooler

Served over ice, with a delicate strawberry-infused champagne simple, this Champagne Bourbon Cooler is my solution to making a brunch cocktail a week-day staple. Rather than wait for Saturday or Sunday to enjoy a champagne-topped cocktail, go ahead, I give you permission. Make one today.

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Sometimes a cocktail comes about because of a particular ingredient, and this is one of those cocktails. I had made a strawberry-infused champagne simple syrup and wanted to use it in a summer drink. Now, on its own the simple has the slight sourness of champagne, plus the sweet and tart flavor of the strawberries infused for 2 days in the syrup.

To make the syrup, I took flat champagne, added an equal weight of sugar and put 1 cup of chopped strawberries in it. I let it sit in the fridge for 2 days, until I could smell the strawberries in the syrup when I took off the lid. A simple strain and the syrup was ready.

But when I put it in my lemonade-bourbon base, I lost a lot of the champagne taste, and the addition of the simple syrup with the lemonade made the cocktail too sweet. A dry champagne float at the top rescued the cocktail, and made it a perfect whiskey cocktail for champagne and wine lovers.

I did add a new bitters I just acquired – BD Bittering’s Strawberry Sassafras bitters – and they did cut back on the sweetness. However, the extra tang of the champagne balanced out the cocktail as a whole.

champagne bourbon cooler cocktail with strawberry and basil garnish
Champagne Bourbon Cooler

Is it bourbon-forward? With just 1.5 oz of bourbon in it, the answer is no. However, you can still taste the bourbon, and I’ve always loved a bourbon-champagne combination, so it was a win-win situation for me.

If you want to increase the bourbon to 2 oz or use a high-proof bourbon, you’d get much more of the finish as you drink it. However, because you have a champagne top, be aware of the total ABV of the cocktail.

A couple of beautiful fresh basil leaves and strawberry slices dress up the drink nicely. I went a little extra and made a strawberry rose – not my cleanest – but you get the idea.

If you’re a strawberry fiend, check out Riding with the Top Down – Strawberry Pineapple Tiki or this Strawberry Rhubarb Smash. And, if you’re a champagne girl, head to this Rhubarb Aperol Spritz or this Strawberry Gin Bubbles cocktail.

champagne bourbon cooler cocktail with strawberry and basil garnish
Champagne Bourbon Cooler
champagne bourbon cooler cocktail with strawberry and basil garnish

Champagne Bourbon Cooler

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Class up your cooler with a dry champagne and strawberry-infused champagne simple to make a lovely afternoon’s Champagne Bourbon Cooler. Add a little hibiscus tea or syrup to get a more vibrant color, but the taste with the basil garnish is incredible. I didn’t think champagne and basil were compatible. I was wrong, they are lovely together.
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Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 oz rye or bourbon
  • 3 oz lemonade
  • ¾ oz strawberry infused champagne simple**
  • 16 drops strawberry sassafras bitters
  • 1/2 barspoon hibiscus simple for color (optional)
  • 2 oz or to top dry champagne
  • Garnish: basil and strawberries

Instructions
 

  • Combine bourbon, lemonade, simple, bitters, and hibiscus syrup (if using) in a mixing glass. Add ice and shake briefly. Strain into a rocks glass and top with dry champagne. Add basil leaves and a strawberry rose or slices for garnish.

Notes

**Strawberry-infused Champagne Simple
  • 1 cup flat champagne
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
Combine champagne and sugar in a jar and shake until all the sugar is dissolved. Add in the strawberries and let infuse in the fridge for at least 2 days. Once the scent of strawberries wafts up to your nose as soon as you open it, strain out the berries and store in a clean jar with a splash of vodka. Will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.
Keyword bourbon, champagne, hibiscus, lemonade, strawberry
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By on August 6th, 2020
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey enthusiast (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location

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