On New Year’s Eve, some head to a cave to reflect and renew, while others head straight to the bars, maybe pausing to reflect somewhere between the first cocktail and the last champagne toast. Whatever way you plan on kissing ’08 goodbye (and so many are happy to see it go), it’s a good time to mix up a new whole new repertoire of festive cocktails for family and friends.
The Classic Champagne Cocktail
A glass of bubbly is tradition on NYE and the classic cocktail makes it even more festive. The only thing you might want to alter with this “classic” is the champagne—it’s traditionally more expensive (and therefore less recession-minded) than other options. Instead, look for alternatives like sparkling wine, Italian prosecco, or cava, a Spanish sparkling wine, all of which can be found for under $20.
- One bottle chilled sparkling wine or Champagne
- Sugar cubes
- Angostura bitters
- Garnish of lemon or tangerine twist
Place sugar cube in bottom of chilled champagne flute. Sprinkle a few drops of bitters on the cube. Slowly pour in bubbly and garnish with citrus twist.
This is another way to spruce up the traditional glass of Champagne. Since citrus is in season, squeezing your own juice should be a snap; you can substitute ruby red grapefruit or tangerines for the blood orange.
- Three parts Champagne or sparkling wine
- One part freshly squeezed blood orange juice
- Dash of Chambord
- Skewered raspberry, for garnish
Pour champagne into chilled champagne flute, top with juice. Add a dash of Chambord, garnish with raspberry skewer, and serve.
Manhattan Ball Drop
A NYE twist on the classic Manhattan.
- Dash of orange bitters
- 1/2 ounce vermouth
- 2-1/2 ounces rye whiskey
- Orange or lemon zest
- Pomegranate seeds
Sprinkle a few drops of bitters into a tall glass. Add one part vermouth to five parts whiskey. Add in ice, stir, and strain into a chilled martini or cocktail glass. Squeeze citrus zest over drink (don’t put in) and slip in a teaspoon or two of pomegranate seeds.
Gin Fizz, Danish Style
After years of being shelved for vodka, gin has made a comeback in ’08. This cocktail celebrates the liquor; the festive burgundy color and mildly sweet cherry flavor make it a great drink to serve at cocktail parties and during the holidays.
Kirsch is a clear brandy distilled from the fermented juice of black cherries and Heering Cherry Liqueur is a Danish beverage. Specialty liquor stores usually have both.
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 teaspoon Kirsch
- 1/2 ounce Heering Cherry Liqueur
- Squeeze of half a lime
- 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
- 2 ounces sparkling water
Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice. Pour in gin, Kirsch, Heering, lime juice, and sugar and shake well. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Stir in sparkling water and garnish with a slice of lime.
The Recession Reveler
It’s a recession—who has the money to spend on lousy, booze-guzzling friends? Instead, trick them with this alcohol-free, yet delicious drink. Or just serve it to the designated drivers.
- Ginger simple syrup
- Juice of one tangerine
- Club soda
- Lime wedge garnish
Fill a tall cocktail glass with ice. Add a drizzle of simple syrup, tangerine juice, and club soda and stir. Garnish with lime wedge.
The Later to ’08er Hangover Cure
Fernet Branca, a bitter Italian digestive, is an acquired taste, and perhaps one you don’t want to acquire while hung over. However, it is also supposed to work as a remedy—either preventative (drink it all night long and suffer no repercussions) or a cure the morning after. And come ’09, we’re all going to need some help.
For the uninitiated, the best way to consume Fernet is with a mixer or chaser.
- One ounce Fernet Branca
- Ginger ale or ginger simple syrup and club soda
Pour ice into a chilled tumbler; add Fernet and soda and stir.
Although ’08 may have not put many in the mood to celebrate, there are still other reasons to celebrate—like a better ’09!