Champagne is a bubbly, sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France. Wines made from champagne have been around for centuries, dating back to medieval times. Today, with the digital revolution, references to champagne drinks can be found virtually anywhere in blogs, old newspapers, cocktail books and more. Champagne drinks are the perfect recipe to celebrate special occasions. Read on for some great variations of this drink.

Johnny Michaels
La Belle Vie
1510 Groveland Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 874-6440

La Belle Vie – translation from French meaning the ‘The Good Life’ – is one of the most distinguishable, iconic restaurants in the Twin Cities. Johnny Michaels is the bartender, bar manager and “La Belle Vie’s affable cocktail scientist” known to make some of the best champagne mixes. He is one of the Twin Cities’ “Best Drink-Slingers” and has published a recipe book for making drinks called the “North Star Cocktails.” He is a drink maker with a passion and an insatiable work ethic that shows through in every single cocktail he prepares.


This Charming Man (Courtesy of Johnny Michaels)

This Charming Man Cocktail

  • Glass of ice
  • 3/4 ounce Bombay Sapphire gin
  • 1/4 ounce crème de cassis
  • 1/4 fresh lemon
  • Cava

Mix all ingredients together in a glass. Stir with a straw, top it off with Cava and then add a lemon wheel.

Alive With Pleasure (Courtesy of Johnny Michaels)

Alive With Pleasure a.k.a The Return of a Best Friend

  • 1/3 glass of ice
  • 1 ounce Gordon’s gin
  • 1 ounce yuzu-ginger syrup
  • Cava

Combine the ingredients, shake and strain. It should fill the martini glass 2/3 to 3/4 full. Top with Cava, add a dash of cherry pimms and a smaller dash of sour cherry syrup. Garnish with a brandied cherry on a stick and a mounted key lime wheel.

RelatedMost Creative Cocktails In Minnesota

To Gild The Lily (Courtesy of Johnny Michaels)

To Gild The Lily

  • 1/2 ounce chilled pre-mix (consists of 50 percent gin, 25 percent Yellow Chartreuse, 25 percent St. Germain, orange bitters and orange blossom water)
  • Cava
  • Lemon twist

Michaels keeps this pre-mix chilled in the cooler, so when he gets an order, he sugars the flute’s rim, adds half an ounce of chilled pre-mix and then tops with Cava and garnishes with the lemon twist. He strongly believes it’s easier than jiggering out three small amounts of liquor and liqueurs.

Brute Nature-Snifter

  • 2/3 ounce cognac
  • 1/3 ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Original Bitters
  • Cava

Mix all ingredients together in a champagne flute and enjoy. But be careful, these taste so good that they go down extremely easily.

The Esquire-Snifter (Courtesy of Johnny Michaels)

The Esquire-Snifter

  • 2/3 ounce cognac
  • 1/3 ounce Mandarine Napoleon
  • 2 dashes of Angostura or Regans’ orange bitters
  • Cava

The Esquire-Snifter will quickly liven up a person’s day. Mix all ingredients together in a champagne flute. It is not recommended to mix with other cocktails. This one is spirited, elegant and best enjoyed during the fall and spring seasons in Minnesota.

About Johnny Michaels: 

Mixologist Johnny Michaels is a pioneer in the art of making cocktails. He has written for several publications, including a monthly article for Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine, inspired other bartenders to stay relentless in the art form and designed the cocktail menus for restaurants in the area. He is one of the founders of the North Star Bartenders’ Guild (NSBG), along with the help of a small community of like-minded mixologists (Nick Kosevich, Jesse Held, Pip Hanson, Chad Larson and Jeff Rogers). They all collaborated and put together the “North Star Cocktails” book – a mixology handbook that illustrates how to make designer drinks. 

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Anthony Carranza is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota related to tech, social media, news, and local happenings around the Twin Cities. His work can be found at