Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Vodka Cocktails


two bubbly, golden-hued Maxwell cocktails, served side-by-side in Champagne flutes
Image: / Tim Nusog

Cocktails are fun and festive harbingers of a good night, but when you make drinks with sparkling wine, you bring an extra dose of effervescence to the party. Champagne cocktails are a diverse bunch, ranging from classics like the gin-spiked French 75 and the moody, absinthe-laced Death in the Afternoon to creative originals, like the Maxwell.

This refreshing cocktail comes from H. Joseph Ehrmann, a lauded San Francisco bartender and the owner of Elixir Saloon, one of the Bay Area’s oldest bars. It’s a fine option for a date, as the recipe makes enough for two drinks. Call up a companion before you break out your bar tools, and you’ll have someone to share it with.

The Maxwell features cucumber vodka, Cointreau, fresh cucumber and lemon juices, agave nectar and a Champagne topper. The lightly flavored vodka is sweetened with the small measures of orange liqueur and agave nectar, but the cucumber juice, lemon juice and sparkling wine keep the flavor profile squarely in the light-and-refreshing camp.

There are a couple ways to get that cucumber juice. Since the recipe only requires a small amount, you can muddle some cucumber in a separate container until you reach the necessary volume. Or, if you have a juicer, throw the vegetable in for a quick fix. The juicer is especially helpful if you plan on making more than one round of drinks, as one medium-size cucumber can yield a full cup of juice. Set the juice aside, and you’ll be ready to accommodate refill requests.

With its bubbly character and notes of citrusy lemon and hydrating cucumber, the Maxwell is ideal for the summer months when the weather’s warm. But don’t dismiss this recipe during other times of the year. The easy-drinking cocktail is worthy of making an appearance at year-round occasions, from al fresco springtime soirees to New Year’s Eve parties.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Square One cucumber vodka

  • 1/4 ounce Cointreau

  • 3/4 ounce cucumber juice

  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/4 ounce agave nectar

  • Brut Champagne or other sparkling wine (about 1 split-size bottle), chilled, to top


Serves 2.

  1. Add the cucumber vodka, Cointreau, cucumber juice, lemon juice and agave nectar into a large shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Double-strain, dividing between two flutes.

  3. Top each flute with Champagne and chill the rest of the bottle in an ice bucket.

  4. While drinking, top with more Champagne as desired.