History of Gin and Fizz Cocktails
22nd July 2019
Champagne and Prosecco within cocktails are certainly a popular trend amongst imbibers and how each spirit performs in them is important to the brewers. Is it though Champagne and Gin cocktails or Prosecco and Gin cocktails that we should be opting for – Who performs the best?
Firstly, we must remember that there are different styles of both Champagne and Prosecco from dry labels (sweeter) to extra brut (drier / less sugar) and this will make a big impact on the final taste of the cocktail. A cocktail will also be very much dependent on ingredients so when you are adding fizzy wine its performance will depend on what it is competing against in the glass.
Cocktails are not something new on the scene, they have been around for quite a while including those which combine the usage of Champagne, some of the earliest written records of cocktails featuring Champagne date to 1855.
- When was Champagne invented? A: 1863
- When was Prosecco invented? A: 1969 (given its DOC status)
- When was Gin invented? A: 11th Century
When it comes to enjoying cocktails at bars and pubs, Champagne will generally be the more popular option, that said we are seeing an increasing amount containing Prosecco following its recent popularity surge. Many fizzy cocktails will be the well known ones such as Kir royale, Bellini and French 75 though also we will see more complex and bespoke cocktails taking advantage of specific flavours offered from the wine or the spirit.
The growing popularity of gin and especially craft gins in the UK (over 300 labels now in circulation) has seen an increased amount of cocktails including it as an ingredient. Gin can for sure give a cocktail a refreshing and very much green taste with its aromatic compounds from the botanicals and when you add some Champagne / Prosecco its becomes a very crisp and thirst quenching option.
So which is better, Champagne or Prosecco in a Gin based cocktail?
The best way to take a look at this discussion is to try some and share some tasting notes. For me, it is very much down to the quality of the gin in question and the style of Champagne/Prosecco chosen. I generally prefer a Brut / Blanc de Blancs Champagne and for a Prosecco, I would opt for a DOC and extra dry.
Saint Amans Gin: “Creamy juniper aromas. Initially soft and creamy then pushes towards juniper / lavender in the length.”
Pothecary Gin Trinity Organic: “Lime / lemon zest on the nose. Once again, as always from the gins of Pothecary, a wow factor comes in to play and here we get juniper, herbal, black pepper and more in flavours… ”
Celebrity’s & Co Abel Jobar Prestige Brut: “Do not be fooled by the label stating ‘Celebrity’s & Co’ thinking that this is just merely another cheap marketing exercise which compromises taste. There are most tempting aromas with creamy yellow fruits and butter croissant. Flavours are of good yellow stone fruits, citrus and brioche. Not overly complex, yet it delivers fine Champagne characters in taste.”
Montelliana Prosecco Treviso Extra Dry: “Ripe green fruits, pears most shining through mostly with a hint of lime zest on the nose. Flavours are easy to enjoy with ripe pears, citrus and a touch of creaminess.”
Champagne & Saint Amans Gin: “Certainly a lemon pastry / curd on the nose. Drier tasting crisp citrus flavours with a hint of gin. The Champagne here is quite dominant and yet a pleasing balance.”
Champagne & Pothecary Gin: “Here the combination meets shoulder to shoulder. The Champagne is powerful in expressing its flavours as is the Pothecary gin, we get an initial taste explosion mostly showing citrus, toast, herbal flavours which gradually fade in the length.” Favourite combination– If you get the correct pairing, ie balance between strong taste characters from the Champagne chosen and the Gin, then these two combine wonderfully well entertaining your palate with an orchestra of fine flavours.
Prosecco & Saint Amans Gin: “Fresh fruity flavours initially then softly the gin appears in the length. Smooth and fruity overall with a livening kick of fresh citrus.”
Prosecco & Pothecary Gin: “Fresh fruity flavours initially then quickly the Pothecary comes in to play to show, with a subtle citrus background, its herbal and peppery characteristics.“
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods and within cocktails.