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Why You Should Tailgate With Champagne

Why do we put bubbly on a pedestal? If it weren't for the upper crust or Jay-Z, we'd all be drinking it daily.
posted: 07/22/2009
Removing a cork with your teeth. Always a bad idea.

New Year’s is coming. A night for those who party exactly once a year. And with it, a drink with a reputation, and for good reason. Other than painful adolescent memories of leaving swaths of Korbel-induced vomit across your graduation dress, the only champagne experience most of us have involves a pretentious gala or a $35 mimosa buffet in Vegas. But mixing OF and champagne is sacrilege to more than just cork dorks. The rest of us have been conditioned to put champagne in the same category as caviar, imported pate and Bentleys. And we’re wrong.

Mike Varrin, Whistler Blackcomb’s Director of Bars – yes, that’s his real title, and yes, it’s a good job – says champagne should be enjoyed liberally and without the constraints of social hierarchy. “It’s time for champagne to make a comeback,” says Varrin. “It’s a beverage that should be drunk spontaneously by anybody at any time of the day.”

As for pairing this bubbly headache factory with food, Varrin eschews traditional combinations. “At the risk of sounding like a heretic, champagne is basically just white wine and sugar, so drink it with anything that goes with white. Chinese food, chicken fingers, sushi – all are good with it.” And how to serve it après? “Preferably followed with another glass, and immediately. You can drink it straight-up chilled or as part of a cocktail. My favorite is champagne, orange vodka, ginger ale, and a splash of cranberry. Or go straight to the Cham-Bulls, which are equal parts champagne and Red Bull. You’ll inevitably wind up dealing with what we call the Red Pain in the morning, but you’ll see stars all night.”

Three Champagnes Jay-Z Would Never Stock On His Yacht
1. Freixenet ($12): Made in Spain, this sparkling white is often found in the hands of coeds who insist on calling you “sweetie.”

2. Segura Viudas Brut Reserva ($9): Dry, crisp, and, most importantly, cheap. This one scores high and goes down smooth.

3. Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs ($4): The Sofia Mini six-ounce can is for those who know that life tastes better through a straw.

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