We Tried the Tom Hanks Cocktail, and It’s The Real Thing
Posted on January 25, 2023
Run, Forrest, run—straight to the bar, to mix up this cocktail from the acclaimed actor.
What’s better than a champagne cocktail, whether the bubbly is flavored with cranberry juice or cotton candy? Honestly, you could float Lucky Charms in champagne, and I’d probably drink it. So when Tom Hanks went on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and introduced the world to his new, bizarre champagne-spiked cocktail, I was ready to raise a glass.
If you’ve ever downed a mimosa—or four—at brunch, you know how simple it can be to make a champagne cocktail. Just spike the juice of your choice with bubbly, and you’re off. In Utah, non-drinkers are all about spiking sodas with everything from fruit juice to cream to fancy syrups, dubbing them “dirty sodas.” So Hanks’ bubbly brew is really pretty understandable.
What Is Tom Hanks’ Cocktail Made of?
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper for Taste of Home
Hanks told Colbert he isn’t a drinker. But recently while dining out with his wife Rita Wilson, he asked the restaurant staff to pour a shot of champagne into his Diet Coke, so he could feel like he was celebrating, too. To name the new tipple, Hanks combined the words “Diet Coke” and “champagne,” dubbing the drink a “Diet Cokagne.” Someone alert Sheriff Woody because that kinda sounds like it should be illegal.
The recipe, however, couldn’t be simpler. Hanks fills his glass about one-third full with Diet Coke, then simply tops it off with champagne. You don’t even have to stir. Why, a guy cast away on an island with a volleyball could make it, if he had the ingredients in one of his handy-dandy FedEx boxes.
Here’s What I Thought
Not being on a Tom Hanks budget, I subbed in prosecco for fancy, real French champagne. Hey, they’re both bubbly bevvies, and Italy is on speaking terms with France, so why not?
Hanks is a type 2 diabetic, and Diet Coke is his drink of choice, he told Colbert. So I tried that as a drink base first. The drink itself smells delightfully sweet, almost like pink bubblegum, and with the addition of the sparkling wine, the Diet Coke tastes a bit more like full-sugar Coke. The sparkling wine gives the cola taste a bubbly boost, but it’s not too liquor-y.The result? A neat sipping situation that makes plain soda more special. It may not be a classic cocktail, but it has our seal of approval.
I also tried Hanks’ drink with regular Coke, and with zero sugar cherry Coke. The cherry Coke cocktail was especially good, sweet and fruity with a bubbly edge, reminding me of childhood Shirley Temple drinks, back when kids actually ordered those.
I’m not convinced the Tom Hanks cocktail is some overwhelming innovation. Rum and Coke drinks have been around forever, and mimosas have surely been mixed using just about every beverage in the diner.
But there’s something charming about Hanks sitting in a fancy restaurant with his Diet Coke, wanting to join in the champagne celebration, almost like a little kid drinking milk in a fancy glass. If I happen to be chugging a Diet Coke at a table where sparkling wine of any kind is around, I might just spike up my glass in the future.
Like Hanks says so memorably in Forrest Gump, “you never know what you’re gonna get.” This time, what we got was pretty good.
You’ll love these whimsical champagne cocktails. The cotton candy melts away, leaving behind its pretty pink color.
—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
I created this twist on a Bellini when a friend gave me some Asian pears she grew in her backyard. If you like ginger and want more of a kick, try substituting ginger liqueur for the vodka. It’s one of my favorite champagne cocktails! —Jacyn Siebert, San Francisco, California
Simple yet delicious, this mango Bellini is made with fresh mango puree and your favorite sparkling wine—I usually choose Prosecco for mine. You can easily turn it into a mocktail by using sparkling water in place of the champagne or Prosecco. —Ellen Folkman, Crystal Beach, Florida
For another simple sparkling wine cocktail, don’t miss trying out this recipe for a Kir Royale.
A homemade vanilla bean syrup from our home economists fabulously flavors this hampagne cocktail. The bubbly beverage is ideal for holidays throughout the year.
If you want to make that bubbly last all night without having to actually pour every single glass, set up a self-serve champagne bar with sparkling wine, mixers and garnishes.
This is the perfect fall champagne cocktail. Apple cider mixed with a cinnamon caramel apple simple syrup and topped with bubbly—it’s the best holiday drink ever! —Becky Hardin, St. Peters, Missouri
Mimosas are just so elegant for Sunday brunch. My recipe uses tart cranberries to balance the sweetness of champagne and orange juice. —Shannon Stephens, Lake in the Hills, Illinois
This amber champagne cocktail is a bubbly twist on the traditional old-fashioned. Try it with extra dry champagne. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
This is a terrific champagne cocktail for any celebration. And because you make it by the pitcher, feel free to mingle with your guests instead of tending bar. —Moffat Frazier, New York, New York
A blend of four fruit juices pairs well with bubbly champagne in this party-pleasing punch. A strawberry garnish adds a festive touch. —Amy Short, Lesage, West Virginia
Mixing festive red cranberry juice, Triple Sec and champagne creates a fun poinsettia drink for Christmas parties, a New Year’s Eve bash or any get-together during the fall and winter seasons. Garnish with a few fresh berries and enjoy. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
This champagne punch, served at my wedding, continues to this day to be the elegant drink we serve at special events. —Anita Geoghagan, Woodstock, Georgia
Add a splash of color to your brunch table with this lovely rosy champagne cocktail. It has a fantastic sweet-tart taste. —Jessie Sarrazin, Livingston, Montana
Toast the happy couple at your next bridal shower with a fun and fruity drink! It’s the perfect refreshment on a hot day. —Kelly Tran, Salem, Oregon
Folks will savor the subtle kiss of peach flavor in this elegant brunch beverage. — Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I searched high and low for the perfect punch recipe and finally decided to create my own. This sipper is a big hit at parties, especially weddings. In summer I freeze fresh peaches and fresh strawberries; if you don’t have fresh fruit, store-bought frozen fruit works just as well. —Linda Hall, Evington, Virginia
Everyone needs a little treat at brunch! I wanted to kick things up a notch, so I added a scoop of ice cream to my mimosas. Sometimes I add chocolate, too.—Amy Lents, Grand Forks, North Dakota
Here’s a tasty twist on the classic mimosa. To make refreshing strawberry mimosas friendly for kids or mamas-to-be, substitute lemon-lime soda or ginger ale for the champagne. —Kelly Maxwell, Plainfield, Illinois
To make this punch even more festive, float an ice ring in the punch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A standard offering at brunches, mimosas are as pretty as they are tasty. In this recipe, the champagne doesn’t overpower the orange juice—especially if the champagne is extra dry. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mix peaches and basil with club soda for a cool and refreshing mocktail! —Dana Hinck, Pensacola, Florida
We make this punch for our annual Christmas brunch, and everyone loves it! I usually triple this recipe for a bigger crowd and garnish the punch with an orange-tangerine ice ring made several days ahead of time. —Kathy McKay, Acworth, Georgia
Wine-infused berries make a lovely addition to this special-occasion drink. I love serving this during the beginning of spring to celebrate the new season. —Gina Quartermaine, Alexandria, Virginia