6 drinks to make your New Year’s eve party unforgettable
December 31 is one of the most exciting and hopeful nights of the year — the New Year is full of limitless potential and so are you. Since holiday parties are back in full swing, it might be your turn to throw together a glitzy and glamorous New Year’s Eve party, so you need a cocktail menu that will keep the spirits bright. Whether you’re an amateur mixologist or a certified home bartender, with the right tools and ingredients, you can serve a luxurious list of liquor-based beverages for the 21-and-up crowd as the ball drops and “Auld Lang Syne” plays you into 2022.
What do you need to make New Year’s Eve cocktails?
New Year’s Eve is the perfect opportunity to make an array of classy and seasonal drinks that will satisfy everyone’s taste. Champagne and other similar bubbly white wines are a NYE staple, with millions of glasses being raised at midnight. Sparkling white wine makes a lively ingredient in many light and refreshing drinks that are perfect for December 31. Wintry favorites like mulled wine or cinnamon-tinged classics are also unique and uplifting, and with the proper recipes, instructions, equipment and components, you can create cocktails that will captivate the crowd.
Common ingredients include
- Prosecco: This Italian sparkling white wine is one of the most common substitutes for champagne, which might be out of your budget. It’s dry, bubbly and makes a great topper to add fizz to your cocktail.
- Gin: One of the most popular drink bases, this botanical-forward spirit is popular for many boozy or refreshing cocktails. It’s the heart of a good martini and adds a punch to drinks like the French 75.
- Vodka: This spirit has a neutral taste that makes it ideal for making a drink stronger without adding any additional flavors. On the other hand, flavored vodka can liven up a drink while supplying it with that extra boost of booze.
- Red wine: While sparkling white takes center stage on NYE, red wine is the central ingredient for a warm and wintry mulled wine punch.
- Apples, spices and other additions: Seasonal drinks during the cold months typically feature mulled spices like star anise, cloves and cinnamon sticks, while some also call for apples, orange peels, apple cider or ginger.
- Brandy: Distilled wine is the primary component in this spirit, but some brandies are flavored with apples, pears, plums or other ingredients. It’s sweeter and less boozy than spirits like whiskey, making it ideal for lighter cocktails.
Equipment you may need includes
- Bar tools: In order to make tasty cocktails, you’ll need the tools to measure, mix, shake and serve. You can purchase tools like a shaker tin set or mixing glass à la carte or you can invest in a handy cocktail tool kit with measuring jigger, mixing spoon and strainer included.
- Stock pot: If you want to provide your guests with one or two hot and boozy concoctions, you’ll need a reliable pot for heating and infusing flavors. Make sure you also have a proper mesh strainer and some cheesecloth to filter out all your solids. A coffee airpot is also handy for storing and serving hot drinks.
- Spice muddler: There are a couple of options for muddling your spices — a wooden muddler or a mortar and pestle. Both make it easy to crush and mix spices and herbs, so it’s simply a matter of personal preference.
- Glassware: Some useful glassware to pick up for New Year’s Eve includes Irish coffee-style mugs for hot drinks, stemmed coupes for fancy chilled cocktails and champagne flutes for the midnight toast. Tall Collins and short rocks glasses are also staples for any cocktail menu.
Cocktails for your New Year’s Eve party menu
This classic bubbly cocktail might be the most famous sparkling wine-based mixed drink. The refreshing drink calls for 1 ounce of gin, .5 ounce of simple syrup, .75 ounce of fresh lemon juice and sparkling white wine. Combine the gin, simple syrup and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake for 20 seconds, strain into a champagne flute, top with about 3 ounces of prosecco and garnish with a lemon twist. For a fruitier variety, try adding .5 ounce of black raspberry liqueur that adds dry sweetness and a tart touch.
Consider this warm winter staple a kind of hot punch. Also known as glögg, this calls for one 750 milliliter bottle of dry red wine, .25 cup of brandy, 4 tablespoons of honey, 2 oranges and mulling spices (8 whole cloves, 4 cinnamon sticks and 3 star anise). Begin by adding your liquid ingredients to your stock pot, along with 1 orange sliced into eight wedges and another zested into the mixture.
Once your spices are well-muddled, add them to the pot and heat the ingredients on medium heat before reducing and simmering for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and pour into an airpot, which should keep the mulled wine hot for up to 4 hours. Serve in a preheated cocktail mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange peel twist.
Here’s a refreshing classic spruced up for the holidays. Add 1.5 ounces of gin to a Collins glass along with .5 ounce of simple syrup and .75 ounce of fresh lemon juice. Add ice to the glass, fill with extra-fizzy mineral water or club soda, and float .5 ounce of cranberry juice on the top. Finish the drink with a sprig of rosemary to create a dry and woodsy New Year’s Eve delight.
For the boozy bunch, this popular twist on the classic negroni is another cold weather staple. Start by adding 1 ounce of bonded bourbon or rye whiskey, 1 ounce of sweet vermouth and 1 ounce of Campari to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir with a cocktail spoon for 20-30 seconds before straining into either a chilled coupe or a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with an orange twist and add a cinnamon stick for some seasonal spice.
Get the most out of this year’s apple cider harvest by incorporating it into a New Orleans classic. Add 2 ounces of apple cider, 2 ounces of cognac, 1 ounce of French orange liqueur and .75 ounce of fresh lemon juice to a shaker and add ice. Shake for 20-30 seconds, strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with an orange twist; add a thinly sliced apple wedge (green or red) for a bit more fruit flavor.
Winter whiskey sour
Start with 2 ounces of high-proof bourbon and .5 ounces of demerara or brown sugar syrup; add the two together and stir until well-blended. Add .5 ounces of allspice dram, .75 ounces of fresh lemon juice and .25 ounces of egg whites. Shake the mixture for 10 seconds before adding ice to the shaker. Give it a second shake for about 15-20 seconds, strain into a chilled coupe before finally garnishing with a light sprinkle of nutmeg and a single star anise floating on the top. If you want to skip the egg white, just shake and serve in a rocks glass over ice.
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