It will come as no surprise to most of you that I LOVE champagne. And for a while now I’ve been feeling like it’s my job to tell the champagne story. Champagne, or sparkling wine, has long been associated with festivities and celebrations such as weddings and New Year’s Eve. Champagne is thought of and stereotyped as extravagant and formal. I am here to bust the myth that champagne is only for special occasions.

Champagne is pure fancy! I love the intricate bubbles, the soft flavor and how it feels to hold a glass of champagne in my hand at parties or restaurants. I love mixing it with raspberries, fruit purees, mango juice, pomegranate juice and more.

I try to use “bubbly” or “sparkling wine” when talking about champagne because only the stuff from the Champagne region of France can be called Champagne. However, I choose to break that rule from time to time because the word “champagne” brings to mind images of beauty, relaxation and glamour. I can’t help it. I love CHAMPAGNE! I love the word, the taste, the image and I love the price.

Not so expensive either
Yes, that’s right. It’s inexpensive—the same price as wine. Modern wine production techniques have made bubbly affordable and accessible to everyone. I often buy bottles that are under $10 including Prosecco and Cava at Trader Joe’s. I also love Risque by Toad Hollow. I received a bottle at my bridal shower and my lovely cousin brought it to my wine party last year. Very good bubbly for around $11!

I know that a wine or sparkling wine connoisseur may not agree with me, but I find that the inexpensive bottles taste great! When mixing with juice or fruit, it’s not as important to have impeccable sparkling wines. Try one, try a few and try to mix them with different things.

Make it stand out and everyone will love you
I love creating a champagne bar when I host parties and I’m always surprised by the number and type of people who actually drink it. It’s a treat for everyone and I selfishly do it for myself too. I recently hosted a holiday party and had the bubbly bar as our signature drink.

Now available
And if you’re looking for the sparkly stuff when you’re out for happy hour, most places carry small bottles or serve it by the glass. I have several favorite places for grabbing a glass. Try Sapor for a full pour for $8, Roat Osha for perfect Thai food and a champagne cocktail called Thai the Knot or Vic’s for a full bottle under $14. This is a great option when you are meeting your female friends for happy hour. And for a delicious Bellini, try Sample Room and Spoonriver! YUM!

Bring the life to the party!
Think about grabbing a bottle of bubbly before you attend an event, throw a party or as a host gift in 2010. Everyone will thank you for it!
Live the fancy life!