Ultimate Guide to Champagne

Bubbly, sparkling wine, prosecco — whatever name you know it by, champagne is certainly flowing this time of year. From the holidays to New Year’s Eve and beyond, plenty of people are popping bottles all around the globe to celebrate.

But what is champagne? And how should you get the most out of this delicious and exciting drink? What you need is an ultimate guide to champagne — and we’re here to deliver.

At Prestige Haus, we love all things cocktail-related, and that includes champagne. Here’s a look at what champagne is, how to enjoy it, and even some fun champagne cocktails to serve up this holiday season.

Friends enjoying champagne

What is Champagne, Really?

Champagne is a word that’s used pretty loosely, but there’s an actual definition that can be helpful to know. For instance, champagne is not sparkling wine (even though many mistake them to be the same.)

Champagne with a capital “C” only comes from a place called Champagne, which is France. This type of Champagne is delicious, but it’s also a bit pricey. True Champagne must also be made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Pinot Meunier.

Champagne with a lowercase “c” can be from other areas, and it’s often referred to as sparkling wine. It can also be just as enjoyable — without putting a strain on your bank account.

Champagne Buying Guide

You might be searching for the best bubbly for a party, or just for a quiet night at home. Either way, it can be helpful to know what you’re getting into before heading to the store.

First, think about what kind of champagne you like. Then, use our pro tips to get the best bang for your buck when buying champagne.

Dry or Sweet Champagne?

First, are you a dry or sweet person? Think about this in terms of other wines, too. Do you love a sweet red, or do you prefer a dry red instead? For whites, do you opt for a dry Sauvignon Blanc or a sweeter Riesling?

Then, apply this knowledge to your champagne buying.

For the most part, champagnes are less sweet than they were a century ago. You can thank consumer demand for that. But here is a general guide to the sweetness scale of champagne:

  • Brut Nature/Brut Zéro: Fewer than 3 grams of sugar per liter
  • Extra Brut: Fewer than 6 g/l
  • Brut: Fewer than 15 g/l
  • Extra Sec/Extra Dry: 12-20 g/l
  • Sec: 17-35 g/l
  • Demi-sec: 33-50 g/l
  • Doux: More than 50 g/l

If you love super-sweet champagne, opt for a Moscato, a white wine that has a softer bubble quality to it.

Pro Tips For Buying Champagne

Even if you know the level of sweetness you prefer, selecting the right champagne can still be a challenge. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember these few tips when you’re at your local wine shop or grocery store.

  1. Look for the phrase Methode Traditionelle on the bottle. This means that the sparkling wine was made with the same process as the real stuff. (The other method is the time-saving Charmat process, which is bulk fermentation and usually starts with lesser quality wine)
  2. If you see “vintage” printed on a bottle next to a year, that means the winemaker considers the grapes used in that sparkling wine to be particularly extraordinary. Give this one a try!
  3. Don’t forgo a sparkling wine just because it doesn’t have a year printed on it. Some winemakers combine grapes from a bunch of years to maintain consistent taste and quality.
  4. If you’re going with true Champagne, check out some notable producers that make quality Champagne, such as Boizel, Bollinger, Pol Roger, and Taittinger.
  5. Go to a wine shop instead of a grocery store. Employees should be specially trained in wine, and they can help you out if you feel lost.

How to Serve Champagne

Champagne is best served cold. The ideal temperature is around 40 to 50°F.

How do you get to this temperature? That’s easy. Either chill your champagne in the fridge for about three hours, or place the bottle in a bucket, tub, or sink full of ice and water for 30 minutes. Once you pop that bottle, keep it on ice in an ice bucket or sink.

When you’re ready to pop bottles and celebrate, do so safely. Actually, “popping bottles” is a bit misleading, as the cork should actually ease out of the bottle gently and quietly. Here’s how:

  1. Take the foil off the wire cage that surrounds the cork.
  2. Hold the cork down with a kitchen towel or cloth napkin, then twist the tab on the wire cage to loosen it.
  3. Tilt the bottle away from you (this is key) at about a 45-degree angle.
  4. Grasp the bottle — with that cloth or towel still in your hand — with one hand, and gently twist the bottle (not the cork) with the other hand.
  5. Let the pressure in the bottle slowly and gently release.

Serve in a champagne glass (complete with some fun wine charms to keep track of whose drink is whose) and toast a happy holiday season!

emoji wine charms

Champagne Cocktails You’ll Love This Holiday Season

If you want to mix things up a bit, sip on a champagne cocktail instead (or some delicious holiday wine or a fun cosmopolitan).

Here are two champagne cocktails you and your guests will love.

1. Classic Champagne Cocktail

This classic champagne cocktail is delicious while not overpowering the exquisite taste of champagne. Plus, it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.


  • 1 sugar cube
  • Angostura bitters
  • 4 oz. chilled champagne
  • Lemon zest


  1. Soak the sugar cube by placing it right on top of the bitters bottle, holding the sugar cube in place, and turning the bitters bottle upside down.
  2. Drop the soaked cube in a champagne flute.
  3. Pour champagne on top.
  4. Garnish with lemon zest.

Classic Champagne Cocktail

2. Pomegranate Royale

Pomegranate Royale ChampagneIf you want to spice things up (and add a little color for the holiday season), try the Pomegranate Royale. The finished product is a beautiful red cocktail that’s tasty and fun.


  • 5 pomegranate seeds
  • 1 oz. pomegranate liqueur
  • 4 oz. chilled champagne


  1. Add pomegranate seeds to the glass.
  2. Top with pomegranate liqueur and champagne.

Cheers to a Merry Holiday Season — and a Happy New Year!

Whether you’re celebrating a holiday or simply rolling in the new year, we wish you the best champagne-filled celebrations full of happiness and cheer. Build up your home bar with some great accessories, find the best bubbly for the occasion, and enjoy the season.

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for more holiday cocktail fun!

What champagne celebrations are you going to host this season?