Best Champagne Drinks From A Washington DC Mixologist

February 27, 2013 8:00 AM

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

Although it used to be considered a beverage just for special occasions, champagne has become mainstream, something people drink at happy hour, with dinner and for no special reason at all. It’s just something about drinking bubbles that makes an ordinary day extraordinary. Local D.C. mixologists have caught on to the recent popularity of sparkling wine, and as a result have started creating novel champagne cocktails for D.C. residents to imbibe. Here are a couple great recipes from local D.C. Mixologists Matthew Allred, Obinna Emenyonu, Jon Harris and Brian Zipin.

Matthew Allred
9712 Traville Gateway Drive
Rockville, MD 20850
(301) 424-8650

With an impressive background in creating craft cocktails at local hotspots like Brassiere Beck and Bombay Club, Allred is now the bar manager at Quench, where he has developed an exciting and innovative beverage program. Here are two of his favorite champagne cocktails, which he will gladly personally concoct for you at Quench. Both of these bubbly beverages are as tasty to drink as they are lovely to look at.

French 76
.75 oz kumquat puree
.5 oz orange infused vodka
.25 oz lemon juice
.25 oz vanilla syrup

Combine the first four ingredients in a mixing glass and shake briefly. Strain the mixture into a tall glass over fresh ice. Fill with champagne. Garnish with a few skewered kumquats.

The Bouquet
1 sugar cube
5 drops of lavender bitters
.75 oz st. germain liquor

Drop a sugar cube into a champagne flute. Then drop in at least five drops of lavender bitters. Allred recommends Scrappy’s brand of lavender bitters. Next, fill the glass with champagne and add a lemon twist to garnish.

Related: 2012 Tasted Good: The Best New Restaurants That Opened In Washington DC

Obinna Emenyonu
2121 P St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 956-6650

Known affectionately as Obi to those who know him, Obinna hails from Nigeria but has been in the D.C. are for quite some time. He took over the bar scene at Urbana in 2009, after a three year stint at Perry’s in Adams Morgan. Since joining Urbana he has focused his energy on creating specialty cocktails for Urbana’s patrons to enjoy. His most recent innovation is the following drink, named after the GOP final electoral count that gave the victory to President Obama. It is simple, sweet, and celebratory.

The GOP 208
.5 oz domain canton
1 oz fresh squeezed blood orange juice

Add the first two ingredients to a champagne flute, and then top off with chilled prosecco until the glass is filled.

Jon Harris
1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 861-1310

Formerly of “speakeasy” The Gibson, Harris just joined Firefly in 2012. The craft cocktail menu he has put together in the time he has been at Firefly is designed to enhance the flavors of the dishes made by Firefly’s head chef. Heading the bar and making almost all of the syrups, mixers, juices, bitters, and sodas used in his cocktails himself keeps Harris busy, but he always has time to make you his popular champagne cocktail.

Champagne Cocktail
1 sugar cube
4 dashes of Angostura Bitters
1 long lemon twist
champagneDouse the sugar cube in the bitters. Pour the champagne into a champagne flute and fill nearly to the top. Add the sugar cube and garnish with twist.

Related: Best Holiday Drink Ideas From Washington DC Mixologists

Brian Zipin
DSG Delicatessen
1317 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 293-4400

As beverage director of this new hotspot, Brian Zipin, has worked assiduously to develop a fantastic drink menu for the restaurant. Zipin’s years of experience in the restaurant/bar industry, most notably at Citronelle and Central, become apparent when sampling his well-rounded, flavorful libations. His mazel tov cocktail is one of his best. It in line with the contemporary Jewish theme of DSG Delicatessen, all the while being decadent and delicious.

Mazel Tov Cocktail
.25 ounce lavender syrup
1 oz averell damson gin
Splash of fresh lemon juice

To make the lavender syrup pour two cups of water in a saucepan and soak two ounces of lavender buds for five minutes. Add one and a half cups of sugar, and then bring to a simmer for 7 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cool and strain. Keep extra in refrigerator. For the cocktail, pour lavender syrup, gin, and lemon in a mixing glass over ice, stir briefly, and strain into champagne flute. Top with chilled champagne and serve.

Priya Konings is a freelance writer and restaurant critic in Washington D.C. Her work can be found at

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