A wise person once offered the toast, "Champagne to our real friends, and real pain to our sham friends!" Whether you wish the former or the latter on the folks you happen to be fraternizing with this New Year, here’s the Vanguard’s guide to all things bubbly.




The Champagne of beers

Miller High Life

Price: $2/40 oz.    

    Tastes like: Bread soaked in piss with a half shot of vodka thrown in.

    If beer were wine, then this beer would be Champagne! Feeling confused? Drink a few of these and you won’t care anymore. Want to really impress your friends? Duct-tape a couple of these babies to both your hands, and don’t take them off until you’ve finished them both. Then people will think you’re really cool.


The lowbrow

Andre Cold Duck

Price: $3

    Tastes like: Fermented Sweet Tarts and Crystal Clear Pepsi.

    It would be an overstatement to call Cold Duck, a combination of Champagne, sparkling Burgundy and sugar, good. However, the stuff is mostly drinkable when served very, very cold. And when quantity is a priority over quality, it’s a safe bet. Just make sure to stock a very, very large bottle of aspirin on your bedside table.


The Champagne is Korbel, but the Korbel’s not Champagne

Korbel Brut California Champagne

Price: $10

    Tastes like: Box wine…with bubbles!

    Remember those annoying commercials with the "The Champagne’s not Korbel" slogan, always pronounced in a snooty huff? Well of course the Champagne’s not Korbel, because Korbel isn’t Champagne. It’s a California sparkling wine. Champagne, by definition, comes from the Champagne region of France. But hey, if you want to pay $10 to look like a smug dipshit, I’m not going to stop you…as long as you’ll share.


Middle of the road

Champagne Billecart-Salmon

Price: $22

    Tastes like: A sunny day on the lawn of the chateau.

    Billecart-Salmon, while not cheap, is actually pretty good. In fact, it is widely regarded by wine snobs as one of the best Champagne deals around. The label and distinctive bottle shape also make it look way more expensive than it actually is. If you want to look like you know your shit about Champagne or piss off Republicans by pronouncing its ridiculously French name (Bee-yay-car Sall-moan), this is the New Year beverage for you.


A touch of class

Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee

Price: $33

    Tastes like: Liquid French aristocrat.

    The sparkling wines from Bollinger’s vineyards were the Champagne of choice for Thomas Jefferson, and have been James Bond’s preferred bottle in the last 10 films in the franchise. These two are classy guys. Jefferson gets extra points for being a real person, but Bond gets kudos for not owning slaves.


Bling bling

Roederer Cristal

Price: $350+

    Tastes like: The sweet juices of a diamond-encrusted hooker…with bubbles!

    Cristal, the pinnacle of Roederer’s line of Champagnes (a single bottle can top $5,000), is the ultra-high-end Champagne du jour, and beverage of choice for millionaire rappers everywhere. If you really can’t think of anything better to spend your money on than this, I suggest you pay somebody to run you over with your Hummer.