While the Margarita is already a pretty flawless drink, there are few things that cannot be improved by the addition of Champagne, especially rosé Champagne. Enter the Colletti Royale, a spritzy, boozy cocktail from bartender Julie Reiner, co-owner of the celebrated cocktail bars Clover Club and Leyenda in New York City.
This vivid orange spritzer gets its striking colors from blood oranges and rosé Champagne, which means it can be a bit tricky to make in the warmer months, when blood oranges are out of season. The juice blends lovingly with tequila, and is further enhanced by the brandy-based orange liqueur Cointreau, as well as two dashes of orange bitters. St-Germain, an elderflower liqueur, adds some sweetness and floral notes, amplifying the drink’s complexity and depth; some lime juice helps balance the acidity and sweetness.
When it comes to the sparkling wine that tops the drink and give it its requisite burst of spritz, there are some options. The best, and the one that Reiner goes with for the drink, is to use a rosé Champagne. Generally on the dry side of things (at this point it’s a given, hopefully, that rosé is not invariably sweet) with plenty of berry notes and an aroma of baked brioche, it’s nearly impossible to find a perfect substitute for a pink Champagne. However, there are some reasonably close alternatives. For one, Cremant sparkling wines are available in regions across France. Made in the same manner as Champagne, but often with different varietals, wines like Cremant d’Alsace, Cremant de Bourgogne, and Cremant de Loire make for lovely replacements. And while they don’t carry the name of the famous wine region, they do generally carry a lower price tag for a similar quality sparkling rosé.
Likewise, the United States is producing some quality sparkling rosé, with states like Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, New York, and even Texas getting in on the action. Just be sure to avoid anything too sweet or it will throw off the balance of the drink.
- 1 1/2 ounces reposado tequila
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau
- 1/2 ounce St-Germain
- 1/2 ounce blood orange juice
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Rosé Champagne, chilled, to top (approximately 3 ounces)
- Garnish: blood orange wheel
Add the tequila, Cointreau, St-Germain, blood orange juice, lime juice and bitters to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a wine glass filled with fresh ice.
Top with the Champagne and garnish with a blood orange wheel.