What feels like a lifetime time ago, just before the dawn of the year 2012, I made a vow to spend the next 12 months becoming really fancy. This was mostly in jest, of course, and somehow quite quickly became the most fully realized New Year’s resolution I’d ever made—mostly because I had people rallying around me, joining me, cheering me on. Also probably because I would inevitably have Champagne to share. Not always capital “C” French Champagne, but bubbles nonetheless. I’d always followed the narrative that busting open fizzy booze is the ideal way to to punctuate an already special occasion, but during this time of giddy reflection, it occurred to me: Why couldn’t I shake things up a little? If Champagne is pretty much a party in a bottle, can’t it transform a regular old Tuesday into something a little bit sparkly?
That’s how I became a casual Champagne drinker, and why I think more people could stand to give it a shot. The whole #fancy2012 initiative sounds frivolous on the face of it, I know, but hear me out, because it actually made me consistently happier that year and ever since.
When I say fancy, I don’t automatically mean expensive. Think of it as a glittery version of Danish hygge—the philosophy in which every simple moment and act can be made just a little bit cozier. There, it might mean some fluffy slippers, candlelight, and a mug of tea with which to curl up and read a book. For me, it could be a fresh coat of gold nail polish, a plush leopard throw, and a chilly flute of inexpensive cava with which to watch Auntie Mame for the millionth time. It’s little details that make my world a tiny bit brighter and honestly, who couldn’t use that this time of year? (Or this whole past year.)
Champagne, prosecco, cava, Crémant, blanc de blanc, and other sparklers tend to get relegated to celebratory occasions, and I get that. The audible pop of the cork is a perfect punctuation to an achievement of any sort. It’s a literally effervescent expression of pleasure that engages all the senses: shimmering in the glass, tickling the nose, and shimmying across the tongue. It’s an instant mood lift—I’ve got an almost Pavlovian response to the sound of a bottle being opened and poured—but there’s plenty of decent stuff that’s in the same price range as everyday wine and even beer if it’s priced it out by the glass.
Why not keep a bottle in the fridge, use a specially designed stopper to keep the fizz in, and pour myself a flute or a coupe with dinner? If I’m in more of a cocktail mood, a splash of bubbles turns the whole thing into a royale, pushing and popping the flavors forward, and just making the whole enterprise more alive. I don’t have to kill the bottle that night if I keep it chilled and sealed, and I get to go about my business throughout the day knowing that there’s a little bit of magic waiting for me back at home when I want it. And I’m not talking about splashing out for Krug and Ruinart for solo Scandal watching on a random Thursday (though I’m also not not suggesting that). A $10 prosecco can easily do the trick and if a friend pops by, I can dole out a glass of delight to them, too.
It's such a small and silly thing, but we live in a big and serious world that feels like it's getting a shade darker on a daily basis. If any of us can grab just a moment of levity and grace and sip it from a coupe, why not do it? Put on a plastic tiara to go to the grocery store, buy a single rose at the deli, sip our seltzer from a flute, and make space in our refrigerators for a cheap bottle of bubbles to pop on an otherwise dull weeknight. I fancy it won't be the last time we try it.