Champagne Cocktail – Classic 1862 Jerry Thomas Recipe

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See our affiliate policy for more info.

History Of The Champagne Cocktail

Cocktails are very much an American thing as a cocktail like this would never exist in France or Italy. if someone added a raw sugar cube, bitters and a lemon peel to champagne they would be arrested. On a side note the British are big into cocktails too and have made an equal contribution to the field but they were introduced to making them by Americans. William Tarling, one of the first presidents of the UKBG back in the 1930s, cites Jerry Thomas as having introduced the British to American saloon style drinks with his 1859 UK cocktail exhibit. William Tarling wrote that Jerry Thomas used solid silver tools valued at 1000 pounds in 1850 or a little over 100,000 today, but back to my point.

The champagne cocktail was most likely invented by Jerry Thomas and is used as a way to add extra presentation to champagne for toasting. The bitters provides a really nice earthy and herbal element to the cocktail, but the sugar cube doesn’t add much sweetness. The biggest contribution of the sugar cube is to give the carbonation in the Champagne something to atomize on and make the drink an overwhelming display of carbonation. Like dropping a mentos into a bottle of coke. Flavor wise the lemon peel adds a lot of flavor and if you express it over the top it coats the top of the glass with a wonderful lemon smell and flavor. If you’re looking for a simple way to elevate your presentation during a toast, the champagne cocktail is a fun one to try.


Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the free and easy to use Vintage American Cocktail app.

Champagne Cocktail – Classic 1862 Jerry Thomas Recipe

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American






Total time



Learn how to make a Champagne Cocktail.


  • 5 oz Sparkling Wine

  • 1 Sugar Cube

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters


  • Pour sparkling wine into a champagne flute.
  • Dash the sugar cube with angostura bitters turning a brownish red color.
  • Drop the sugar cube into the glass and garnish with an expressed lemon peel.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *