Top 5 Signature Cocktails for New Year’s Eve

One mixologists' expert recommendations for your New Year's party.

Looking for some delicious and festive cocktails to mix for your New Year's Eve party? Try some of these Patch favorites!

1. Southside of France

This cocktail brings in elements of two classics: The Southside and The French 75.  It's an effervescent mix of gin, sparkling wine, fresh lemon, sugar and mint, and it looks great all dolled up in a champagne glass.

1½ oz gin
¾ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
¾ oz simple syrup
5-6 mint leaves
1-2 oz champagne

Combine gin, lemon, simple and mint in a mixing glass. Fill with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a champagne glass and top with champagne. Garnish with a single mint leaf by rubbing the rim of the glass and then dropping gently into the drink.

2.    Aperol Negroni

To my mind, the classic Negroni is a nearly perfect cocktail, but it's also a perfect example of the situation I described above. It's a little too serious for the occasion. With less alcohol and less bitter astringency than the traditional Campari, Aperol brings in sweeter, brighter notes. The Aperol Negroni takes a beautiful, yet familiar, old friend, and slips her into something a little more comfortable.

1 oz gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Aperol

Combine all ingredients in an ice filled mixing glass. Stir until the glass is cold in your hand. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a strip of orange peel by rubbing the peel pith side up along the rim of the glass then dropping it pith side down into the glass .

3.    Sushine in Winter

The key to this simple drink is the use of a bright winter fruit that just looks ever-so-cute on the rim of a cocktail glass: the cumquat.  For everyone that loves a fruity vodka drink, but wants to keep their cocktails seasonal, this one's for you.

2 oz vodka
1 oz simple
½ oz fresh lime juice
3 cumquats

Place 2 cumquats into a mixing glass.  Add lime juice and muddle until the cumquats burst open and smash against the bottom of the glass. Add the simple and vodka. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a one whole cumquat sliced almost halfway through so that it slides onto the rim of the glass.

4.    Hemmingway in Jalisco

This is little play on the classic Hemmingway Daiquiri substituting blanco tequila for white rum.   The touch of bitterness from the Maraschino Liqueur perfectly balances the big flavors of grapefruit and agave.

2 oz  Tequila Blanco
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.  Fill with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a strip of grapefruit peel by rubbing the peel pith side up along the rim of the glass, twisting it in your fingers and dropping it pith side down into the glass.

5.    Beyond Good and Evil (Revised)

This is a little different version of a cocktail we developed at Orson in San Francisco, working closely with our pastry department. Accordingly, it requires a bit more work than the rest.  But its use of winter fruit and its encouragement to abandon everyday social conventions strike me as rendering it perfectly appropriate for any hearty New Year's Eve celebration. Quince, perhaps the original forbidden fruit, is complemented by sweet bourbon and bitter Campari.

1½ oz bourbon
½ oz Campari
½ oz lemon juice
Teaspoon full of quince compote*
½ oz rosemary simple syrup**

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Fill with ice. Shake vigorously for ten seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the crown of a rosemary sprig.

* To make quince compote, boil peeled and cored quince, in just enough sweetened water to cover the fruit, until soft. Puree.
** To make rosemary simple, simmer rosemary in sugar and water to taste. Strain.

Bren December 27, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Speaking as somebody who's spent years and years working as a bartender and bar manager, I really must insist that the word "mixologist" be removed from our language. I don't know one bartender who doesn't cringe when he or she hears that word. "Mixologist" is an attempt to make bartending sound like something more than it is, and if you really think about it, the word is insulting to bartenders: It implies that what they do is not important enough to just be called what it is. If you invent five dollar words to make it sound like a bartender is a chemist or a PhD, the message you're really sending is that bartending by itself is not something to take pride in.


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