Why Do We Drink Champagne on New Year’s Eve? A Brief History
Do you ever sit back and wonder about America’s many random, sometimes strange traditions? On New Year’s Eve, we all so happily join in the celebration, setting off fireworks, banging pots and pans, and popping a bottle of our favorite bubbly. But who actually takes the time to read about these crazy customs?
Fortunately, you’re in luck. While you head to the liquor store and stock up on your essential New Year’s champagne supplies, boast your knowledge of why we’ve come to toast our flutes come midnight.
When did champagne become a celebratory drink?
Although historians point as far back as Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire, we can trace later roots of the customary champagne toast to a little town in France, where the bubbly variety gets its namesake. Back then, wine was sometimes packaged before going through the complete fermentation process. When eager drinkers poured themselves a glass, they discovered a curiously fizzy finish. Demand soon grew, and the Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon made various alterations to improve the formula’s flavor and effervescence. Corked for optimal freshness, champagne was sought by royalty far and wide. The masses later followed suit, seeking its fine, subtle, satisfying sensation for all their celebratory events. Today, champagne remains our customary festive sip of choice.
Why do Americans drink champagne at New Year’s?
People in the states didn’t first start enjoying champagne until European settlers brought it here regularly some time around the early 19th century. Back then, the tradition of staying up until midnight on December 31st was already in full swing. Local taverns hosted wild parties, while even the White House welcomed visitors for a late-night toast. But even then, people would drink anything they could get their hands on. Champagne became a true mainstay in the 1930s, when popular New York clubs hosted outrageously crowded celebrations for the elite. After a certain time, such lounges would implement a champagne-only rule, and the tradition stuck. To this day, champagne is associated with money, sophistication, privilege, and indulgence.
So, how can I make my champagne toast special this New Year’s Eve?
Break the mold by treating guests to a one-of-a-kind toasting experience. Check out some unique champagne accessories from flutes and seals to coolers and sabers.