New Year's Eve may be the most anticipated party of the year. But with so many competing soirées, wing-dings, bashes and galas, it can be hard to ensure your party stands out. The best way to shine in the crowded party pack? Step away from plain sparkling wine and step up to the easy challenge of a Champagne or sparkling wine cocktail.
The following five recipes will have your celebration remembered all through the next year.
The Kir Royale is a classic Champagne cocktail tracing its origins back to Felix Kir, a mayor of Dijon, France around 1945. Traditionally, the drink is made with the French raspberry liqueur Framboise (or something closely related). But it doesn’t get any less regal if you make it with Sidetrack Distillery raspberry liqueur when you’re in WA State. This recipe from Champagne Cocktails is modified in such a way: Pour 1 ounce of Sidetrack Raspberry liqueur into a flute glass. Fill the glass with chilled Champagne. Twist a lemon twist over the drink and drop it in.
Toast the New Year to come and think little of your youth that has passed; you can act young anytime. This recipe from Champagne Cocktails certainly helps that along: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add 1 ounce Cherry Heering, 1-1/2 ounces fresh orange juice, and 1-1/2 ounces simple syrup. Shake youthfully. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into a flute glass. Top with sparkling wine and then stir briefly.
While this may sound like a risqué dance (hmm, not a bad thing on New Year’s Eve), it’s actually a dreamy drink of layered flavors. It takes some prep, but it’s worth it. The recipe’s also from Champagne Cocktails and serves 2: Add flowers from two lavender sprigs, 3 ounces gin, and 1-1/2 ounces lavender simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Muddle well. Fill the shaker halfway with ice cubes. Shake well and fine strain equally into two flute glasses. Top each with chilled Prosecco, and garnish each with a lavender sprig. To make lavender simple syrup, add 1/4 cup chopped fresh lavender, 2 cups sugar, and 1-1/2 cups water to a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches a low boil, stirring regularly. Then reduce to medium-low and keep at a simmer, still stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool completely and then strain well (will keep for a month or so).
In honor of legendary Seattle band Heart, I suggest you sing the song that shares this cocktail’s name while drinking it – at least the first one. Singing, after all, is a New Year’s Tradition, too. This recipe’s from Wine Cocktails: Add 1 sprig rosemary and 1/2 ounce simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Muddle well. Fill the shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add 1/2 ounce orange curaçao, 1/2 ounce Benedictine, and 2 ounces bourbon. Shake well. Strain into a flute glass and top with chilled rosé sparkling wine. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.
There’s nothing like the feeling you get when over-hearing someone at your party enthusiastically say “Tip Top!” when asked how their New Year’s Eve was. And the best way to get this fantastic feeling is to serve this cocktail that mingles brandy, Benedictine, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and sparkling wine. The following holiday video, from the new season of the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour, teaches how to make the drink...and how to sing about it.
Happy Youth photo copyright 2010 Harvard Common Press and Jerry Errico.