We Tried Tom Hanks’ Champagne Diet Coke Cocktail, and It’s The Real Thing

Updated: Jan. 19, 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?

Tom Hanks Diet Coke Champagne Courtesy Gael Cooper For Taste Of Home OverheadGael 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.

Not up for a drink? Try our favorite champagne recipes.

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