By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Jul 08, 2009 at 2:19 PM Photography: Whitney Teska

When it's hot and humid outdoors, it really helps if our summer sippers can serve a dual purpose and be both intoxicating and refreshing. And for those who like to put a little pop in their cocktail, we've got an announcement: Champagne is the new mixer.

The wine experts have been touting Champagne's crisp versatility as well as it compatibility with sushi for a while now.

"To me, that's it," Purple Feet Wine's Nate Norfolk says of the champagne and sushi match-up. "And I think that pairing works because sushi rice has vinegar in it and Champagne, if it's dry, has great acidity to it, which complements the vinegar. The bubbles are constantly refreshing your palate every time you take a sip -- it serves the same roll as the ginger."

So, there you have it. Champagne is not just for New Year's anymore -- it can be mixed into some delicious, summery drinks. Take a swig of these:

Classic Champagne cocktail: This is what the ladies imbibed back in the day.
6 oz. Champagne
1 cube sugar

Soak the sugar cube in the bitters, drop into glass of Champagne and serve with a lemon twist.

Champagne mojito: Like the original, but better.
2 oz. rum
2 oz. chilled Champagne (Spumante is also a favorite)
1 oz. sugar in the raw
5 mint leaves
Juice of half a lime

Add rum and Champagne to glass with ice. Muddle mint, sugar and lime (mortar and pestle works well). Add muddle to glass, stir.

Flirtini: As seen on "Sex and the City."
1 oz. vodka
2 oz. Champagne
2 oz. pineapple juice

You know the drill: Add ingredients to an ice-filled martini shaker. Shake. Pour. Garnish with lemon twist.

Mimosa: They're not just for breakfast anymore.
2 oz. Champagne
2 oz. cold orange juice
Orange slice for garnish

I oz. Grand Marnier
Cranberry or pink grapefruit juice instead of orange juice
Fresh raspberries

Crushed ice is optional in this very versatile cocktail. If you're making them in Champagne flutes, skip the ice.

Black velvet ... if you please.
4 oz. chilled Champagne
4 oz. cold stout (Guinness is a favorite)

If you pour it right, it looks quite pretty. Fill your glass half way with champagne, let the bubbles die down, then slowly pour stout into glass over the back of a spoon. Voila!

If you prefer other sparkling whites, like Moscato d'Asti or Asti Spumante (pictured above), you can substitute them for Champagne in these recipes, too.

The Marilyn Monroe: The woman once bathed in Champagne; 'nuff said.
2 oz. Champagne
1 oz. apple brandy
Dash of grenadine

If you can't find apple brandy, mix apple juice with regular brandy and pour into Champagne flute. Add the grenadine and top with the bubbly. Toast to a grand life.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”