Champagne, a bubbly white wine made from grapes grown in the Champagne region of northern France, is a different product than the other sparkling white wines such as prosecco and cava. Although they may be delicious, these aren’t considered Champagne, per Boston Magazine. There are two reasons why Champagne gets the nod here, as opposed to one of the other fizzy whites. The first is that Champagne, together with brandy, forms the basis of one of the oldest in cocktail history (via Difford’s Guide). That would, of course, be the Champagne cocktail, and that calls for Champagne and Cognac.
The Champagne cocktail’s origins are unknown, but its first published recipe dates back to 1862. That first recipe called for bitters, sugar, and Champagne but made no mention of brandy. Although brandy may have always been an unofficial ingredient, it wasn’t until sometime later that brandy came to define the classic Champagne cocktail, just as much as the sugar cube and the dash of bitters. The second reason why we ranked Champagne so highly is that there is something incredibly poetic about mixing Champagne with a brandy made from Champagne grapes. Known as Champagne Cognac, it mixes exquisitely well with Champagne (via Barina Craft). Sugar and bitters are, of course, optional.