The History Of The Champagne Cocktail.
Cocktails are very much an American thing as a cocktail like this would never exist in France or Italy. They would be arrested if someone added a raw sugar cube, bitters, and a lemon peel to champagne. On a side note, the British are big into cocktails 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 a bit extra presentation to champagne for toasting. The bitters provide a nice earthy and herbal element to the cocktail, but the sugar cube doesn’t add much sweetness. The most significant contribution of the sugar cube is to give the carbonation in the Champagne a surface to atomize onto 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 nice lemon flavor, and if you express it over the top, it coats the top of the glass with a beautiful lemon smell and taste. If you’re looking for a simple way to elevate your presentation during a toast, the champagne cocktail is a fun one to try.