Superstorm Vanilla Bourbon Champagne Cocktail

November  4, 2012
4 Ratings
Author Notes

I vaguely recall hearing once that French Onion soup came about when Napoleon's army was left with nothing but champagne and onions. Well, thanks to Sandy and a week-plus power outage (goodbye, contents of refrigerator!), we were left with little but packages of crackers and liquor, including champagne and bourbon. We were among the lucky ones; we still had a roof over our heads. So we are thankful, indeed. Anyway, in a classic champagne cocktail, a sugar cube is doused with bitters and the champagne is given a boost with cognac; here, we used vanilla as the underlying flavor and jacked it up with classic American bourbon. Once the power comes back on we'll upload a photo containing the homemade sugar cubes; in the emergency, we just used the regular sugar cubes with vanilla drops. By candlelight. With blankets.

Cheers! —wssmom

Test Kitchen Notes

The name of this cocktail is a mouthful: big name and big on flavor. Wssmom is a mixologist extraordinaire -- she turned simple into profound in just a few easy steps. I opted to use pre-made sugar cubes; I have demerara cubes that I dipped in vanilla paste to really boost the vanilla flavor. The vanilla sugar cube with the bourbon and prosecco was delicious and packed a punch. The cube not only gave it a whisper of sweetness but a subtle undertone of vanilla, too. Garnishing with a vanilla bean is the finishing touch to a lovely cocktail that I hope you try. It's well worth it. —sdebrango

  • Makes 1
  • Janet Johnston' s Vanilla Sugar Cubes
  • 4 vanilla beans
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure vanilla extract
  • Vanilla Bourbon Champagne Cocktail
  • 1 vanilla bean cube
  • 1 shot good bourbon whiskey (such as Maker's Mark)
  • Chilled champagne or prosecco
  • Split vanilla bean, for garnish
In This Recipe
  1. Janet Johnston' s Vanilla Sugar Cubes
  2. Cut the vanilla beans into 1/2-inch pieces and ground in a sprice mill until powdered.
  3. Mix together all ingredients. Scrape into a parchment-lined 8-inch pan to about a 1/2-inch depth. Use a knife to score into 1/2-inch cubes. Bake for 90 minutes at 275°F. Remove and let cool. Remove sugar and break into cubes.
  4. Alternatively, take an already-made sugar cube and put a couple wee drops of pure vanilla extract on it.
  1. Vanilla Bourbon Champagne Cocktail
  2. Drop a vanilla sugar cube into a chilled champagne flute. Add a shot of bourbon and fill the glass with champagne or prosecco. Garnish with a split vanilla bean. Cheers!

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