Champagne cocktails create a rift among barmen: The mere suggestion of adding sugar and secondary flavoring ingredients to real champagne is tantamount to blasphemy in purists' eyes, whereas injecting unorthodox flavors and vibrant color into cocktails is what a mixologist lives for. The purple rain champagne cocktail, purportedly named after the eponymous album and film, dips a metaphorical toe in the classic-cocktail pool but dives headfirst into the rapids of mixology. A sugar cube and dash of bitters echoes the classic cocktail, whereas raspberry liqueur -- which resembles purple rain as it sinks through the champagne -- modernizes it.
The Champagne Cocktail
Drop a 1/2-teaspoon white sugar cube into a chilled champagne flute.
Splash the sugar cube with 2 or 3 drops of absinthe or bitters.
Fill the glass to 1/4 inch from the rim with dry champagne.
Fill a tablespoon with raspberry liqueur. Lift the champagne glass by the stem and tilt it slightly, just enough to let you drizzle the liqueur around the interior of the glass.
Drizzle the liqueur around the sides of the glass and over the surface of the champagne in a spiral. Garnish with a curled lemon zest, if desired.