5 Ingredients or Fewer

Carey Nershi's Angostura Sugar Cubes for Champagne Cocktails

December 29, 2014
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes about a pint jar's worth of sugar cubes for many Champagne cocktails
Author Notes

A last-minute 2-ingredient DIY host gift (or party trick for your own New Year's celebration) -- either way, you'll start 2015 making an impression. You can use any sugar -- this recipe calls for superfine, which you can make yourself by blasting it for few pulses in your food processor. But you can also use fancier sugars if that's more your style. Later in the year, you can pull the same trick out again and again. Make honey sugar cubes to set out at a fancy tea, or grind lavender (or chamomile or orange peel) with sugar, then add water. Mix in cinnamon or maple or bourbon for a brunch with big pots of coffee. Make vanilla or almond cubes with the kids for hot cocoas. Cut them in triangles or diamonds or Xs or Ys to reveal that the baby is a boy or girl, or buy elaborate candy molds to make them shaped like flowers or hearts or dinosaurs. Pack them in a mason jar or mug or pour-over situation for more cohesive gifting. Adapted from Reclaiming Provincial and WikihowGenius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (see note above)
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 fluid ounce) Angostura bitters
  • Champagne or sparkling wine for serving
  • Lemon twists for serving (optional)
  1. Combine sugar and bitters in a bowl and stir until liquid is evenly distributed. Use your fingers to pinch the mixture if needed, to make the mixture uniformly pink.
  2. If using molds, press the mixture into molds, packing it down as much as possible. Microwave at 50% power for 20 to 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can let the molds sit out overnight to dry and harden. Once set, pop the cubes out of the mold.
  3. If not using molds, heat the oven to 250° F and line an oven-safe baking pan with parchment paper. (The cubes pictured were made in a standard 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.)
  4. Pour the sugar onto the parchment paper. Pack the sugar into the base of the pan very tightly with a spatula, meat pounder, or another tool that is stiff and flat. The height should be similar to a commercial sugar cube, around 1.27cm/1/2 inch.
  5. Using a thin knife, score the sugar into a grid of cubes of the size you want, slicing all the way through the layer of sugar. Put the pan in the oven to dry for 1 hour.
  6. Remove the pan of sugar from the oven and let the sugar cubes cool for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Break up the cubes. Pull the sugar cubes out of the pan and break them apart with your hands or something smooth and sturdy like a table knife or bench scraper. If cut properly, they will break fairly easy.
  8. Store the sugar cubes in an airtight container. To serve, put a sugar cube in a coupe glass or Champagne flute and pour Champagne or sparkling wine over. Garnish with a lemon twist if you like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Eunice Choi
    Eunice Choi
  • Louisa
  • tweeter10
  • hardlikearmour
  • infinitezest
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

11 Reviews

Monica L. December 13, 2016
Tried this out and it was very easy to make (the oven method). The thing is, I don't taste it when I have it in my sparkling. I tried it with a regular bottle and a dry rosé. I wonder what I did wrong? :(
Eunice C. November 3, 2016
This was such a fun project! Thanks, Kristen and Carey! I loved making these super easy cubes and actually made 400+ using a half sheet tray. I used a cross-wire cooling rack to create score lines and cut the sugar into neat little cubes. I also used an empty half sheet tray to help pack the sugar down before baking them at 250 degrees.

For my next batch, I may try incorporating some candied lemon zest to see what happens! You'll probably be seeing these as gifts soon ;)
Louisa March 20, 2015
I took the shortcut and used sugar cubes. I lined a (brownie?) pan with nonstick foil, and tiled the bottom with the cubes (not enough to fill the whole pan, no matter) and then shook the bitter bottle until the cubes were covered. Baked at 250 degrees for an hour, and then let them sit overnight in the oven. They broke apart easily. I tried one in water to see how it would dissolve and it worked just fine. Using for a celebration this weekend, so thanks for this recipe!
Monica L. December 13, 2016
Hi Louisa! How did the taste turn out for you? I did the long method (sugar in blender, bitters then oven) and tried it out but didn't taste the bitters. I was wondering if directly adding dashes of the bitters to ready-made cubes would give it more taste...
Nan B. December 31, 2014
Thanks for the recipe!
Made them earlier today, and they came out perfect!
Happy New Year! :)
tweeter10 December 31, 2014
How is the recipe adapted if you already have sugar cubes?
Kristen M. December 31, 2014
If you want to use standard sugar cubes, just put one in a Champagne glass and douse with a few drops of bitters, then pour sparkling wine over and garnish with a lemon twist, if you like. This recipe is for going one step beyond that.
hardlikearmour December 31, 2014
I made these using a mini-ice cube tray for a mold. I microwaved then let them set overnight. About half of them popped out intact. I didn't use commercial superfine sugar, just blitzed some raw sugar in my food processor, so I'm sure that contributed to my mediocre success. I got enough cubes to give as a mini-gift to my cocktail crazy brother, so I'm happy.
Kristen M. December 31, 2014
Thanks for letting us know -- I did see in the Wikihow notes that the ratio is fairly important with the baking pan method at least (too little liquid will be crumbly; too much will make a stiff block). I wonder if a little more liquid relative to sugar would have helped more of yours hold together.
infinitezest December 31, 2014
How long will these keep if stored in a tightly sealed jar at room temperature? Thanks!
Kristen M. December 31, 2014
A very, very long time -- I wouldn't worry about an expiration date, if they're packed cool and dry and the jar is tightly sealed, though they may eventually start to lose some flavor.