The Reason People Drop Sugar Cubes In A Glass Of Champagne

In the 1987 hit film "Moonstruck," the Castorini family celebrates two marriage engagements in the span of a few days, both for Italian American widow, Loretta, played brilliantly by Cher. At the news of both, the family celebrates like most families do, with glasses of champagne. On both occasions, though, the characters drop sugar cubes into the champagne glasses, causing a burst of effervescence to rise to the top. This doesn't seem so unusual, after all, a champagne cocktail is similar — you just need to add some bitters and a lemon twist. And we add flavorings to champagne to make all kinds of drinks, like mimosas, kir royales, and French 75s.

But, it turns out, the Castorini family likely had no interest in creating a champagne cocktail at these two celebratory moments. "Moonstruck" has been praised for its accurate depiction of the Italian American family unit in part because of details like these sugar cube scenes which aren't so unusual to those who call Italy their homeland. Yes, sugaring up champagne will make it sweeter and more pleasant to drink, but the practice has more to do with superstition than it does with flavor.

A little sugar, a lot of happiness

Italians are experts when it comes to superstitions, which are a huge part of their culture. According to many Italians, the battle between good and evil is alive and well and when it comes to luck (or the lack thereof), people are basically responsible for their own. Spill wine at the table? You'd better dab some of it behind everyone's ear lest you fall into horrendous luck. Spill olive oil? Sorry, there's no redemption for that. And don't even think about toasting with a glass of water. One way to keep evil away? Drop a sugar cube in your champagne.

As the old wives' tale goes, the devil is evil incarnate and never wants to see anyone happy. Because champagne already makes people happy, adding sugar to it is an extra precaution against his advances. All of those bubbles that come as a result of this little trick are really just carbon dioxide gas reacting with the sugar, but it positively lifts your spirits, taking happiness to another level, guaranteed to keep Old Scratch at bay. While the practice may have started with the Italians, lots of people enjoy a little sugar in their bubbly for the kiss of sweetness it brings. If it happens to bring more happiness into their lives, all the better.