The holiday season will come quickly if we don’t start preparing now. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve celebrations from the past pop into the minds of many individuals, including me, during this time of year. A sparkling wine known as Cold Duck features prominently in some of these recollections.
As famous melodies play in the background, we’ll feel the winter chill and see adjacent homes lit up in festive grandeur. Some of us will look back on this beverage fondly, remembering it from many special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Some of us will look back with fondness for this beverage.
You may even remember with a sense of wistful longing the advertising from the 1970s that featured a joyful couple raising a glass of Cold Duck to the holidays while a merry Christmas carol played in the background. You could be forgiven for thinking that Cold Duck seems more like a dish for the main course than a drink.
Or, you may recoil in horror at purchasing a bottle of Cold Duck because it is one of the most inexpensive wines available, costing only a few dollars. Compared to some of the other sparkling wines available on the market, such as Dom Perignon or one of the different champagnes, Cold Duck does not have the same level of refinement.
A bottle of Cold Duck costs a few dollars at most supermarket stores. Compared to the high price tag of a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, which can cost well over $100 per bottle, this price tag seems relatively reasonable. However, Cold Duck was at one time one of the sparkling wines that sold the most bottles and were the most well-liked among consumers in the United States.
The drink’s origin, known as “Cold Duck,” can be traced back to Germany, specifically to Bavaria, where it was customary to combine chilled, sparkling Burgundy with bottles of Champagne that had been opened earlier. This concoction was referred to as kalte ende (cold end).
This tradition prevented the empty champagne bottles from being thrown away once they had been opened and allowed the celebrants to enjoy a delicious beverage at the same time. The name eventually became transliterated as kalte ente, which means cold duck. This change occurred over time. Harold Borgman, the proprietor of the Pontchartrain Wine Cellars in Detroit, came up with the idea for his own alcoholic beverage in 1937, basing it on a common tradition in Bavaria.
In the early 1970s, Cold Duck enjoyed a considerable spike in popularity. At that time, it was a trendy wine to serve at parties and other social occasions. The classic version of the American Cold Duck was made by mixing one red wine from California with two parts of sparkling wine from New York. Cold Duck combines soft concord grape with sweet red and white wines. This particular recipe has evolved throughout the years.
One of the most well-known brands of Cold Duck is André, which comes from the E&J Gallo Winery and is made with Concord grapes. This particular recipe is quite popular. In 1971, only four short years after André Cold Duck was first made available to the general public, the E&J Gallo Winery sold a total of two million cases of the wine annually.
Cold Duck is best enjoyed chilled, as with many white and sparkling wines, but not with the vast majority of red wines. It pairs exceptionally well with party hors d’oeuvres like cheese and crackers or olives baked in a pie crust.