OK… so I should preface this post by saying I love sharing champagne with my friends and I do think champagne tastes better when it’s shared. And I am a pretty generous champagne sharer…. but we all have at least one friend who somehow manages to drink a lot of good champagne, but they NEVER actually buy any!
Champagne freeloaders suck!
And coming up to the party season, this is an important community service announcement!
Even hanging out with friends I love dearly, I have a few champagne horror stories… like the birthday party I went to that was held at a BYO restaurant. I’d brought one bottle of vintage champagne to enjoy over dinner and everyone else had red wine. Within minutes of arriving, my champagne had been popped and poured to everyone as a pre-dinner drink. So after one tiny little glass of champs at the start of the night, I was left high and dry for the rest of the night.
On the back of dozens of experiences like that over the years, I have gotten pretty good at pulling a few sneaky tricks to beat the champagne freeloaders and cheap-arses at their own game!
Here are four of my most successful tips and tricks… you’re welcome!
Tip 1 – Only bust out your bargain champagnes at parties
Stock up on bargain champagne when they are on sale and hold them over for sharing at parties. These party favourites are always around for $50 or under and can go cheaper on sale. I always have a stockpile of them at the ready for parties when there is just one massive esky for all contributions.
- Moet and Chandon, at First Choice for $52 or Dan Murphy’s for $50 (Aussie prices if you are reading this 13 December 2018) but I have seen this priced lower so keep an eye out coming up to party season.
- GH Mumm… get it for as little as $42.50 a bottle at Dan Murphy or First Choice (current price for First Choice if you are reading this 13 December 2018)
- Taittinger… $49.95 at Dan Murphy’s (current if you are reading this 13 December 2018)
- Lanson is at Dan Murphy’s for $42.90 in any six or $45.20 a bottle (current if you are reading this 13 December 2018)
- Piper Heidsieck… the lowest I’ve seen is for about $38 so watch the specials at Dan Murphy’s, First Choice Liquor and it’s currently at that price at Dan’s and First Choice if you are reading this 13 December 2018) or $38.99 in any six at Vintage Cellars.
It may not entirely stop the champagne freeloaders from attacking your stash but if you do have to bleed a little champs for the greater good, it’s not going to hurt the hip pocket too much and you will still enjoy a great quality champagne.
Tip 2 – Pull out an ‘export-only’ brand that no one knows
When I am feeling a little less generous, I sometimes bring one of many of the champagnes that are released for export under a different brand. Champagne freeloaders will never have heard of them so they won’t know that it only cost you $30! And if they don’t enjoy it (ummm – whatever! Who cares if they like it or not, they’re not paying!), they might just stop quaffing your booze… and then you can open something else from further up the price range once they’ve moved on.
It’s really not hard to find options for well under $50… read my top picks for under $50 road test if you want to know what I rated for cost and quality or just stalk the champagne aisles of Dan Murphy’s or Vintage Cellars. You can get plenty of options for around $30 which most bubbles fans will LOVE and not know the difference.
If you know you have a fussier French fan on your hands (like me!), my top picks for great value quality options are below. Chances are they will never have tried them before and might be a little loose already from party juice, and the cheap and cheery option will slip under their wine-snob radar!
All prices current for 13 December 2018.
Aubert Et Fils Rosé, from Dan Murphy’s for $32.99 per bottle or $31.40 in a half dozen
Moutard Rosé at Vintage Cellars now for $34.99 in a half dozen or $38.88 each.
Tip 3- Enlist a ‘decoy champagne’
If you’re really smart (and sneaky) and you absolutely want to drink something extra special just for you, use the champs suggested in tips one and two as decoy champagnes and conspire with your host (or your waiter) to stash your special champs away from hungry eyes! The host or waiter can slip it to you by the glass and no one will even know you’re not drinking from the bottle on the table. You might need to tip the waiter or slip the host a glass for their silence but a small price to pay for your champagne fix. I LOVE the decoy champagne trick.
Tip 4 – Bugger ’em and just say no!
OK so that might sound a bit harsh but really… why should we feel guilty about enjoying the champagne we’ve worked hard for?
So I’ve become VERY comfortable with this as a motto… polite but firm and fair.
“If you didn’t bring it (or help pay for it), please don’t assume you can drink it. Unless you are specifically offered it by the person who did bring it.”
It’s not complicated really. Just basic manners. And I don’t need a fifth top after that.
If you are posting pics of your champagne sessions or busting freeloaders this silly season, tag @bubbleandflute #bubbleandflute #champagnesquad #bustafreeloader
Bubble & Flute promotes the responsible consumption of alcohol for individuals of legal drinking age in their country.