Every Celebration Deserves a Proper Champagne Bar
Popping open a bottle of bubbly is a surefire way to get the party started. But keeping the party going is another story—even the most practiced sommelier will tire of pouring out bottle after bottle over the course of a night. Setting up a self-serve Champagne bar will not only stretch your bubbly supply with the addition of juices and liquors, it will also leave you free to mingle and actually enjoy your own bash.
So put some Champagne on ice, stock up on aperitifs and fresh juices, and gather some garnishes. Here’s how to set up the ultimate Champagne bar.
Step 1: Stock Up on Sparkling
Skip the high-end vintage Champagne. Instead, opt for a dry, non-vintage bottling, a domestic sparkling wine or even a good Prosecco or Cava. One bottle of bubbly is enough for about eight cocktails, so keep your RSVP list in mind when shopping.
Step 2: Stock Up on Booze
Experimentation is half the fun of a self-service Champagne bar, so make sure to gather up a wide range of liqueurs and spirits. Some of our favorites include:
- Crème de Cassis
- Apricot liqueur
Step 3: Gather the Mixers
Dry Champagne works well with most juices (even tomato juice), so encourage your guests to mix, match and try something they otherwise wouldn’t order at a bar. We suggest stocking up on the following:
- Simple syrup
- Sugar cubes
- Angostura bitters
- Peach purée
- Orange juice
- Stout beer
- Lemon juice
- Cranberry juice
- Grapefruit juice
Step 4: Garnish Your Champagne Bar
Not only will a variety of garnishes make your Champagne cocktails look beautiful (it’s all about the ‘Gram, after all), booze-soaked fruit is always a wonderful treat to find at the bottom of your flute. Set up bowls of raspberries, strawberries and cranberries for guests to plop into their bubbly libations. Pre-cut lemon and grapefruit twists, so imbibers can express the peels over their drinks. Arrange cellars of salts and encourage guests to experiment with savory sprinkles. And don’t forget the edible gold flakes.
Step 5: Pop Those Bottles!
Now that your Champagne bar is all set up, it’s time to make the cocktails. Fill a large bucket with ice to keep a few opened bottles on hand. Store the extra bottles in the fridge for later use.
Label your booze, mixers and garnishes with note cards, mini chalkboards or simply line a table with butcher paper and write ingredient names directly on the surface. Set out Champagne flutes, jiggers and bar spoons.
While we encourage experimenting with new flavors and inventing unique cocktails, here are a few of our favorite classic combinations to get you started:
- Champagne + orange juice = Mimosa
- Champagne + crème de cassis = Kir Royale
- Champagne + absinthe = Death in the Afternoon
- Champagne + Angostura bitters + sugar cube + lemon twist = Champagne Cocktail
- Champagne + peach purée = Bellini
- Champagne + stout beer = Black Velvet
- Champagne + gin + lemon juice + simple syrup = French 75