Guess What? Cold Duck Still Exists

Brooke Newberry
(Photo: )

This was the purple stuff that made housewives giddy at five o’clock in the 80s. Before they drank it.  André, the brand that sells itself as “California Champagne,” originally unveiled Cold Duck in the 1930s, as per Wikipedia. The recipe was based on a German custom called Kaltes Ende (translated as “cold end”), that involves what seems like a very fraternity-friendly mixing of all the dregs of unfinished wine bottles with a sweet sparkling wine. Wiki also proposes that the original German recipe contains one part Rhine wine (from the valley of the Rhine River), one part Mosel, and one part sparkling wine, all mixed together with the addition of lemons and balm mint. American Cold Duck is remembered for being a sweet, bubbling grape-juicy mess that was either overindulged in or was backed away from after the first sip, for fear of waking up feeling like something along the lines of a cold duck. Guess what? Cold Duck still exists, but its purpleness now exists in a more cherry-colored form under André’s alias, “Sparkling Sweet Red.” The wine’s label has also changed, with the loud and proud display of the words “Cold Duck” moved underneath the new title.

André’s Sparkling Sweet Red description: “Our André Sweet Sparkling Red California champagne is a sweet combination of red and white grapes, blended with a soft Concord grape base for tangy, ripe fruit flavors.” The recipe has changed since the 80s, but we’re guessing the juice’s ability to duck us over still exists.

A DIY “Cold Duck”:  Fill a champagne flute ¾ full with a dry sparkling white.  Top glass with Welch’s brand non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice and a splash of Burgundy (any pinot noir will do, of course).