Consumer IQ

The Best Bottles of Bubbly for Under $20

Champagne Explosion

Ringing in the New Year in style doesn’t have to mean breaking your newly minted resolution for a frugal 2013.

Bargain bottles of bubbly abound. It’s easy to get a decent one for less than $20.

(If you somehow still end up with a so-so bottle, see our experts’ recipes and tricks below to turn it into something more celebration-worthy.)

A few options to consider:

Cava

When you’re looking at bargain bottles, this Spanish sparkler is likely to be among the more plentiful options.

Earlier this fall, we pointed to the $12 Castillo Perelada Brut Cava as one good option; Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit in New York also stocks a $9 Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava.

French sparklers

Champagne isn’t the only French sparkling wine.

“Keep an eye out for ‘Cremant de Bourgogne’ and ‘Cremant d’Alsace,’” says sommelier Matthew Carroll of BRABO restaurant and its shop, the Butcher’s Block, in Alexandria, Va.

“These sparklers will be made in the exact same method as Champagne, and often with the same grapes, at a fraction of the cost,” he says.

Wine.com has an $18 Simmonet-Febvre Cremant de Bourgogne Rose, as well as a $19 JCB N°69 Brut Rose Cremant de Bourgogne.

Prosecco

“A great alternative for champagne is prosecco,” says Limor Elkayem of Dealery.com and Buyery.com. “It’s a bubbly white 
wine and I think its actually better than champagne.”

Elkayem’s pick: an $11 bottle of Mionetto Prosecco Brut. WineLibrary.com also has a $14 Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco and a $15 Adami Bosca Di Gica Prosecco.

Salvaging a So-So Bottle

Try these 5 recipes to use up the rest of the bottle:

New Year’s Resolution. Jesse Card, Cruzan Master Mixologist, created this cocktail.

To make, pour one part Cruzan Black Cherry rum into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Add a dash of bitters to 
finish.

Garnish with a cherry wrapped in a lemon twist.

Granita. Turn sparkling wine into a dessert. “Mix together three to four cups of simple syrup with a bottle of bubbly and pour out onto a sheet pan,” says Carroll.

Then place the pan into the freezer and use a fork to scrape up the icy parts every 20 minutes or so. It’s ready to eat when the tray is the texture of shaved ice.

Sgroppino. It’s a similar recipe to granita, but Pamela Braun of “My Man’s Belly” also uses vodka and lemon sorbet in this dessert.

Bellinis. Drop a tablespoon of your choice of jam at the bottom of a cocktail glass. Top with sparkling wine.

Gingersnap Fizz. Celebrity chef 
Candice Kumai’s recipe starts with a ginger-infused simple syrup.

To make, heat a half-cup sugar, 
a half-cup water, two tablespoons ginger root and two tablespoons lemon zest. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, 
simmering until slightly thickened.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and 
cool. Pour about a quarter cup Woodbridge Robert Mondavi Brut sparkling wine into a champagne flute. Add about 
a tablespoon syrup.

Garnish with a lemon zest or a piece of candied ginger.

Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.