Episode #054 – New Year’s Cocktails

I love the holiday season. The food is better, the weather is better, and people at least feel a little guilty when they realize how terrible they’ve behaved all year. It’s a time for tradition, good times, and a healthy buzz.

I really prefer NYE as a “close friends holiday,” meaning that I enjoy it more celebrating in the comfort of my own home, or a friends with just a dozen or so people. Standing in a mosh pit by a bar trying desperately to coming anywhere close to getting your money’s worth from a ticketed open bar event is dreadful, and I haven’t quite made it into the upper crusts of society where the drinks are free and you don’t have to fight for them.

In doing research for this episode, I came across a couple of articles that mention a Gin and Tonic as a New Year’s drink. I’ve never heard of that. I’ve never considered it one, and don’t think that will change.

Jordan’s New Year’s Drink traditions:

  • Champagne
  • Eggnog
  • Finish a bottle (not necessary to start and finish a bottle, more like an “out with the old” sort of sipping)

New Year’s Cocktails

Champagne Cocktails

Place a sugar cube in a chilled champagne flute, lash it with 2 or 3 dashes of bitters (Angostura or Peychaud’s), fill the glass with brut champagne or other, cheaper, bubbly, and squeeze a lemon twist on top.

or – Black Velvet—Stout and Champagne (created for the funeral of Prince Albert)

or – Corpse Reviver #2

or – Grapefruit Mimosa: Serves 4, ½ cup fresh grapefruit juice, 1 bottle champagne, Sugar in the raw for rim garnish (optional)

or – French 75 (Cognac variation): 1½ oz. VSOP Cognac, ½ oz. Simple Syrup, ½ oz. fresh lemon juice, Sparkling wine. Serve up in a martini glass, top with sparkling wine.

Cherry Thistle (with Cherry Heering)

In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces Scotch, 1 ounce lemon juice, 3/4 ounce Cherry Heering, and 1/4 ounce simple syrup. Add one egg white. Dry shake and then add ice and shake again. Strain glass into a cocktail. Garnish with a cherry.

Good Luck Sangria

In Spain, people eat 12 grapes at midnight for 12 good months (in Peru, they have a 13th grape)

  • 2 bottles chilled dry red wine
  • 1 cup cognac
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec or Cointreau
  • 1/3 cup superfine granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 1 orange, sliced thin
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin
  • 12 grapes, for no reason
  • 2 cups chilled seltzer or club soda

Mix everything but the seltzer an hour before you want to serve to chill; then add the seltzer and ice before you serve each with a grape or 2

Pomegranate Moscow Mule

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. pomegranate juice
  • 1 tbsp. pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. honey (or 1 ½ tsp. honey syrup)
  • ice
  • ginger beer
  • Sprig of Rosemary

Ma Baensch New Year’s Shot

Pour super-chilled vodka into a large shot glass, garnish with a piece of Ma Baensch’s Herring. Add your favorite toast and take it.

International New Year’s Traditions

  • Scottish singing of Auld Lang Syne and all-night parties
  • Bonenkai “Forget-the-Year” Parties in Japan
  • Buddhist monks striking a gong 108 times for 108 kinds of human weakness
  • Spain—Eat 12 grapes for each of the next 12 months
  • Herring on New Year’s Day
  • http://www.infoplease.com/spot/newyearcelebrations.html

What to drink on New Year’s Day?

We have an episode on hangover drinks that is worth listening to for some ideas. If you drank responsibly, and aren’t hurting I’m a big fan of dark beers like porters, red wines to go with pot roast or corned beef (“bargain” Burgundy (Pinot Noir) for $40, New Zealand Pinot Noir for $30, Cotes du Rhone $20… get adventurous in the new year, try a Aglianico Ah-LYAH-nee-ko from southern Italy). But all good things begin and end with whiskey, so that Scotch, Japanese or Bourbon that you’ve been hording should be slightly less horded and slightly more enjoyed in the new year.

New Year’s Eve Toasts

Here’s a toast to the future, a toast to the past, and a toast to our friends, far and near. May the future be pleasant, the past a bright dream. May our friends remain faithful and dear.


As you slide down the banisters of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.

To being a better drinker!