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All about bubbly

December 27, 1999



Champagne



Champagne comes in bottles of various sizes, from the split (187 millileter) to the half-bottle (375 millileter) to the regular-size bottle (750 millileter). Beyond that, the names of the larger bottles sound like characters from ancient history.

- Magnum: equal to two regular-size bottles of champagne.

- Jeroboam: equal to four bottles.

- Methuselah: equal to eight bottles.

- Salmanazar: equal to 12 bottles.

- Balthazar: equal to 16 bottles.

- Nebuchadnezzar: equal to 20 bottles.

By LINDA BEAULIEU / Associated Press Writer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Scientists say there are 49 million bubbles in a bottle of champagne. Is that what makes champagne so special?

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Whatever the reason, millions of people around the world are preparing for New Year's Eve 1999 with champagne in mind.

Edward Korry, assistant professor in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University and an authority on champagne, says it's easy to calculate how much champagne you will need for your New Year's Eve party.

"Each regular-size (750-millileter) bottle of champagne yields five 5-ounce flutes of champagne," he says. "It's a general rule to plan on two glasses an hour per person."

For a toast, provide one bottle for every 10 guests; for dinner, one bottle for two to three; for a cocktail reception, one bottle for three to four.

Champagne, Korry says, is produced with varying degrees of sweetness. Brut champagne, the most common, is the driest. Extra-dry champagne has a slightly higher level of sugar. Sec champagne has a medium sugar level, and demi-sec champagne is sweet.

"Champagne is best served chilled, but not ice cold," Korry says. "The best temperature is 45 F to 48 F. Champagne may be chilled in a bucket that is half full of ice and water for 30 minutes before serving, or in the refrigerator for three to four hours. Never, ever store champagne in the freezer. That will damage the wine."

How long will a bottle of champagne keep? For 10 years or so, if it is kept in a cool dark cellar, lying on its side.

Punches are popular for celebrations and holidays. This recipe for a Champagne Punch calls for two regular-size bottles of champagne. Because it will be mixed with other ingredients, an inexpensive champagne should be used. Save the good stuff for the stroke of midnight.

Champagne Punch

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups lemon juice
  • 2 cups apricot nectar
  • 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 3 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 quarts ginger ale, chilled
  • 2 regular-size bottles champagne, chilled


Make a sugar syrup by boiling the sugar and water for 1 minute. Cool. Add lemon juice, apricot nectar and orange, apple and pineapple juices. Chill. Place a large block of ice in a punch bowl. Pour chilled mixture over ice. Just before serving, add ginger ale and champagne.

Serves 30.

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