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New Champagne Lounge Expands Bubbly Horizons

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She repor...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s time to pop some bottles. But what do you actually know about champagne other than the fact that it’s bubbly and glamorous?

Natalie Nyhus underwent a “champagne education” at Releve Champagne Lounge at the Graves 601 Hotel, a new Lounge in Minneapolis dedicated to the romantic drink.

More than four dozen varieties of champagne and sparkling wine are now parked for patrons on the fourth floor at the hotel. So what makes the drink so romantic?

“I think some of it is what it’s what we’ve attributed to it. We’ve created a ‘special occasion cocktail,’ as you were,” Graves 601’s executive chef John Occhiato said. “It’s lightly sweet. It’s not heavy. It’s the perfect cocktail for a date for romance.”

Releve Champagne Lounge is at the forefront of champagne exploration as the only champagne bar in the Twin Cities. And you won’t see just classic flutes. Instead, Releve is mixing flavors, adding bitters, sugar cubes, hibiscus flower and more to enhance and change the flavor.

“It’s a good palate for other flavors here. By adding cherries, peach or pear bitters. Adds a little something different to customize it to your taste,” Occhiato said. “We are in a cocktail time period. People are educating themselves about craft beers and cocktails, and champagne is the next step.”

In addition to champagne, Releve also has a menu that’s split into two sections: Madison Avenue and Hennepin Avenue. The Madison side is a little more highbrow, with things like oysters. The Hennepin side has lobster grilled cheese and walleye sliders.

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