Champagne… or not?

The traditional idea of ringing in the new year with a celebratory glass goes back many years. The name given to this sparkling effervescence beauty is from its regional namesake. Though its history is tainted with the nickname “devil’s wine.” Those of us who have had a less-than-lovely history with champagne can agree with that name, but its historical context is an interesting one.

A brief history of this deceptive beauty.

One region claims to have true Champagne, and of course, that is the region of Champagne in France. They have a special combination of pinot noir, pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. We can’t blame Dom Perignon entirely for inventing Champagne, but he was a big contributor. The Benedictine Monks, however, were the true originators. The drink got its evil nickname in the 18th century after bottles began exploding and causing bodily harm to people. Its handlers were advised to wear protective headgear.

A potentially painful experience.

The carbon dioxide in Champagne can cause the alcohol to be absorbed quicker and create those higher blood alcohol levels. This can lead to that royal headache the next day. Some research shows that there are health benefits to Champagne as the red wine flavonoids are present. It is a lighter 80-calorie drink for those who like to keep it light and bubbly.

Too much… too soon.

Champagne has an alcohol content of 11%-13%. It can take just one or two glasses to start to fill that fizz. In a party environment, it starts to “go to your head” before you realize it. It just goes down so smoothly that it can be hard to regulate at what point you may no longer just be having a “good time.”

A royal toast.

Sixteenth-century royals and aristocrats would celebrate using Champagne or sparkling wines. The tradition has stuck over the years. Drinking something “fancy” or “celebratory” makes the moment feel more special. A lower alcohol choice like Prosecco is a good alternative, though. There are other sparkling wines as well from other areas like Spain, Italy, Greece, and even America.

Midnight is all right for toasting.

Champagne is such a lovely aesthetic, can lead to such a fun night, and its history is so entertaining. Over 360 million glasses will be poured on New Year’s Eve, making it the most popular drink for the evening! Its smooth warmth will hopefully provide for a memorable time, but watch your head for the exploding cork in the morning.

Happy New Year!