These Champagne Floats Are the Ultimate Grown-Up Summer Treat

A cocktail and dessert, all in one glass.

June 12, 2021
Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson. Food Stylist: Yossy Arefi.

We've teamed up with G.H. Mumm—makers of outstanding Champagnes produced at Maison Mumm in the Champagne region of France since 1827—to celebrate National Rosé Day with their Grand Cordon Rosé. On the menu: ultra-refreshing Champagne floats to sip all summer long. Ready to stock up for the season? Take 15% off your order of 6 bottles or more with the code SUMMER15.

Remember summers as a kid? Long days outside, running to see friends, splashing in the pool, feeling like there’s all the time in the world (and at the same time, none at all). As things slowly start to reopen and the heat settles in for the season, I can’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia—almost like it's summer vacation all over again. With that nostalgia comes the flavors of my childhood: the sweet-tart taste of fresh-picked berries, the smell of smoke from a fire, and the feeling of a brain freeze after slurping down a root beer float too quickly.

Floats are an especially perfect treat for summer: They’re refreshing, fizzy, and just-the-right-amount sweet. This year, I’m giving the childhood classic a little upgrade for the grown-ups by swapping out the soda for Champagne—specifically, G.H. Mumm’s Grand Cordon Rosé. (National Rosé Day is also this weekend, and what better way to celebrate?) Made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this rosé Champagne has notes of ripe strawberries, vanilla, and grapefruit that are ideal for pairing with fruit sorbets, while it’s subtle smoky-savory finish is perfect for those in the mood for a richer ice cream option. The Champagne also has a structured yet delicate effervescence that gives the floats all the bright bubbliness you could want.

Before we dive into a few of my go-to float combos, let’s talk about what to serve ‘em in. When picking the correct glass for your floats, it’s worth remembering what you sipped your root beer floats from as a kid. Those tall soda fountain glasses were great (not to mention, nostalgic), but they also had the appropriate long-handled spoon to go with them. And while tempting and elegant from a flute, a Champagne float is an active drink and a flute's tall, thin body will prove challenging; the thin glass could also break easily.

For looks and practicality, it’s hard to beat a coupe glass. A beautiful scoop sitting in the center of a raised cup brings to mind memories of sundaes, plus it allows you to alternate your sips and scoops more easily without specialty tools. However, if you’re without a coupe, pick a glass you aren’t afraid to put a spoon in, and allows you to easily access the sorbet or ice cream.

3 Champagne Floats for Summer

Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson. Food Stylist: Yossy Arefi.

Lemon Sorbet + Torched Rosemary

The lemon sorbet highlights the subtler citrus aromas of the rosé Champagne while simultaneously elevating the notes of strawberry and cherry. A sprig of torched rosemary over the top of the whole float adds not only a fantastic visual garnish, but a functional one, as well. The smoke from the rosemary wafts around the glass, complementing the savory finish and completing the drink.

Vanilla Ice Cream + Balsamic-Soaked Strawberries

With this, it’s all about the balance of the rich vanilla, the bite from the balsamic, and the sweetness of the strawberries. There are a few key components to keep an eye on with this float:

  • Taste your strawberries. Depending on when and where you get your berries, how sweet they are can vary widely. To make the balsamic-soaked strawberries, mix together 1 or 2 tablespoons sugar, a few tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and a cup or two of chopped fruit, and let sit for about 30 to 45 minutes. The trick is to taste as they macerate; add more sugar as you go if needed (it’s always a good idea to start with less), and remember that there should still be a bit of bite from the balsamic.
  • Make sure your Champagne is cold. A subtle but crucial part of this float is its effervescence. Considering the weight of the ice cream along with bold flavors of vanilla, strawberry, and balsamic, the Champagne can easily be buried if your bottle is warm. Make sure it’s nice and chilled so those bubbles have the chance to rise and sing.
  • The Champagne should be the star. It’s a Champagne float, after all. Start with just one scoop of ice cream, pour over the Champagne, and top with a small spoonful of the balsamic-soaked strawberries—you can always add more, as needed.

Mixed Berry Sorbet + Candied Ginger + Orange Blossom Water

Growing up, I had raspberry and blackberry bushes growing wild in the woods behind my home. While I never relished being snagged and scraped by the thousands of thorns protecting the berries, the reward was well worth it. For this float, we’ll incorporate the candied ginger and orange blossom water into the mixed sorbet. Start by julienning the candied ginger, then work it into the softened sorbet; you want the ginger fine, so it doesn’t freeze into hard chunks through the sorbet. As you work the ginger into the sorbet, add a couple drops of the orange blossom water (be careful here, as a little goes a very long way). Return the sorbet to the freezer to firm back up, then scoop into your glass and top with the Champagne.

It has always been my maxim that drinking should be fun—take it too seriously and you take the joy away. These floats are an opportunity to have fun with your drinks, and they’re here to welcome you and your friends back outside.

What's your dream Champagne float combo? Tell us in the comments!

In partnership with G.H. Mumm, we're sharing all the fun, summer-perfect ways you can enjoy their Grand Cordon Rosé—it's made with Pinot Noir grapes, which bring a rich fruity aroma and elegant floral notes to the glass. Ideal for sipping or pairing with food, this is one bottle you'll want to keep stocked throughout the season (and all year long). Want it delivered straight to your doorstep? Start shopping here—take 15% off your order of 6 bottles or more with the code SUMMER15.

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Harper Fendler

Written by: Harper Fendler

Bartender and writer.