Saturday, April 14, 2007

You Must Remember This – The Champagne Cocktail

Major Strasser: "What is your nationality?"
Rick: "I am a drunkard."

They drink a lot in Casablanca, even by the standards of old movies, though it’s not like the cranky quaffing of W.C. Fields, nor the self-satisfied sippings of Nick and Nora Charles, nor the tipsy team of George and Marion Kerby. Liquor in Casablanca is a darker brew, running the gamut from lost love, seething cynicism, political alienation and, of course, drop-dead glamour. It’s the glamour that’s got me going. Yes, we all know how drink and tobacco are hazardous to one’s health, but we’re going back to a time not so long ago when the world didn’t know any better or didn’t care if they did. Was there ever a pose more lux, languid and alluring than the curl of fingertips closing around a cocktail stem on one hand and the drifting coil of smoke from the half-sucked cigarette from the other? And didn’t the tense and terrifying undercurrent of Nazi occupation seem blunted, however briefly, by Inspector Renault recommending “Veuve Clicquot ’26, a good French wine”? Good old Veuve Clicquot, the shrewd and defiant wine widow bent on breaking through Napoleon’s blockade in 1814 and lavishing the Russian enemy with 10,000 bottles of her best bubbly. God bless Veuve Clicquot for her savvy, and God bless France for putting champagne on the map to begin with.

It is the occasional persnickety purist in me and a general love of all things bitter that leads me to but a slight variation on the classic champagne cocktail, the one Victor Laszlo orders for himself and his wife, Ilsa, as they are waiting for those golden letters of transit at Rick’s Café Américain. Since it is difficult to balance a 127-page script in one hand and a swell and swanky cocktail in the other, you can check out the dialogue here, while I go pop the cork.

Campari Champagne Cocktail - Slightly adapted from DRINKSMIXER


1 shot of well-chilled Campari
Well-chilled champagne or other sparkling white wine
1 sugar cube
Lemon or Lime garnish (optional)


Pour Campari into a champagne saucer or flute. Fill glass with champagne almost to the top of glass edge. Drop sugar cube dead center into glass. Garnish if desired.

Serves 1.

This post is being submitted to the duo of Married with Dinner, Anita and Cameron, who are hosting Mixology Monday # 14 - Champagne.


  1. Ah, a bitter+sweet cocktail for a bittersweet love story. :)

    Thanks for participating in MxMo... I'm aiming have the roundup posted tomorrow night.

  2. Just the excuse I needed to think about vintage flicks. Thanks for hosting such a fun event.

  3. Delicious! If it wasn't so early I'd say 'chin chin'!
    Lovely blog and I love the pictures of the quails eggs too!

  4. It IS rather early, but there is some consolation in several good cups of Joe. Thanks for the kind words. The quail eggs are among my favorite shots; they pretty much posed themselves.

  5. Thanks again for participating in MxMo XIV -- the roundup is here: