Even if sparkling wine and Champagne can be sidelined during some of the year, end-of-year festivities usually bring an uptick in consumption of bubbles, especially from the classic region of Champagne. Speaking of Champagne, no holiday beverage program can be without it, especially for the requisite New Year’s Eve toast. Morton’s includes 10 bottles of Champagne on its sparkling wine, priced from $86 to $290, as well as glasses of Piper-Heidsieck Brut and the Pommery Rosé Brut for $19.75, and does see a slight increase in sales on December 31. But unfortunately, says Fasolino, guests still pigeonhole Champagne as a celebratory drink.
Operators with a sparkling wine-focus often have greater success rolling out holiday Champagne promotions. “Our special holiday bubbly deals page helps our clients discover new houses and new styles at amazing prices during the holidays,” explains Emmanuelle Chiche, managing partner for The Bubble Lounge’s two locations in New York and San Francisco.
A bottle of 1998 Henriot Brut Rosé, for instance, is discounted to $125, instead of the regular $165. When guests order any of the 24 Champagnes offered as part of this promotion, they receive a complementary platter of strawberries and chocolate fondue. The Bubble Lounge notes a 10 to 15 percent increase in Champagne and sparkling wine sales over the holidays, when staff sabers hundreds of bottles for a striking presentation.
Champagne’s refreshing effervescence and crisp acidity also make it a winning match for a variety of cuisines, from Asian to seafood and even steak. “I wish it fit in more with our beverage program,” muses Fasolino, adding that she recommends pairing Morton’s tender Filet Mignon with a delicate Brut style, or a Rib Eye Steak with a richer option, like a vintage Champagne. Pairing Champagne with dessert at the end of the evening takes a touch more skill. Bubbly that is very dry can taste even more so when sipped next to a sweet dessert; selecting a wine style that has some sweetness, like a Demi-Sec, will make for a more sippable partner.