Sure, flutes of Champagne are traditional, but I think you should try mixing up a cocktail or two at your New Year’s Eve celebration tonight. And to help make your 2017 as spirited as possible, I’ve gotten recipes from three top bars across the country. So, whether you’re in the mood for a twist on a bubbly classic, a caffeine-spiked whiskey or a piping hot concoction from frozen North Dakota, you’ll be ringing in the new year in style.
True to its name, LA’s Big Bar goes, well, big on New Year’s Eve, kicking off its annual party at 3 PM. It serves a different special cocktail each hour inspired by a part of the world where it’s already midnight. The Irish Bump created by bar manager Cari Hah will be available starting at 4 PM Pacific, which is when they’ll be toasting the new year in Dublin. It features the caffeine punch of cold-brew coffee, paired with cinnamon syrup and a Jameson whiskey that gets extra coffee notes from time spent in barrels that have held stout beer. A cloud of Angostura Bitters-spiked whipped cream on top makes this simple cocktail extra-special.
INGREDIENTS:1.5 oz Jameson Caskmates Irish Whiskey3 oz Cold-brew coffee.75 oz Cinnamon syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water, steeped with broken-up cinnamon sticks for 15-20 minutes)
Glass: Double Old-FashionedGarnish: Angostura whipped cream*
DIRECTIONS: Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a double Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a dollop of Angostura whipped cream.
*To make Angostura whipped cream, combine 8 ounces of cream with 1 ounce of Angostura Bitters. Whip until stiff peaks form.
Hot Buttered Popcorn Rum
In Bismarck, N.D., Friday’s forecast calls for a balmy high of 18 degrees Fahrenheit—and that’s during the day. The winter weather makes cocktail menus in the frigid town a bit different: “Here, hot drinks reign supreme,” says Kate Gerwin, who manages a trio of the best bars in Bismarck (which all just happen to share the same building): Humpback Sally’s, Lüft and the hidden speakeasy 510.2. Gerwin’s festive twist on Hot Buttered Rum, which uses popcorn-infused rum and a rich, spiced butter-and-cream batter, will be on the menus at all three this New Year’s Eve. The recipe below makes enough batter for a good 18-20 drinks, and you can store any extra in the freezer for months—long enough to survive even a North Dakota winter!
INGREDIENTS:2 tbsp. Rum Batter*2 oz Very hot water2 oz Popcorn-infused Don Q Añejo Rum**Lightly whipped cream
Glass: MugGarnish: Caramel popcorn
DIRECTIONS: Add the Rum Batter and water to a mug, and stir until the batter melts and dissolves. Add the rum and top with cream whipped until slightly thickened. Garnish with a few pieces of caramel popcorn.
INGREDIENTS:8 oz Cream1 oz Powdered sugar1 stick (4 oz.) Butter, softened4 oz Brown sugar.5 tbsp. Molasses1 tbsp. Ground cloves1 tbsp. Ground cinnamon1 tbsp. Ground nutmeg
DIRECTIONS: In a stand mixer, whip the cream and powdered sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Stir together the remaining ingredients and fold into the whipped cream mixture. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (or longer in the freezer).
**Steep 1 (750-mL) bottle of Don Q Añejo Rum with about 3 ounces of popped popcorn overnight, then strain and rebottle.
In Manhattan’s East Village this year, neighborhood restaurant Virginia’s is planning a decadent six-course dinner for New Year’s Eve featuring oysters, foie gras and suckling pig, with a set of creative cocktails to match by bartender Eric Smades. His Airmail is sort of a mash-up of two classics from the early 1900s: the floral Aviation and the bubbly French 75. It’s a refreshingly tart gin drink with a touch of violet liqueur and a topping of celebratory sparkling wine.
INGREDIENTS:1.5 oz Gin.5 oz Creme de violette.75 oz Lime juice.5 oz Simple syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water)1 Egg whiteSparkling wine
Glass: FluteGarnish: Lime-twist rose
DIRECTIONS: Add all the ingredients except the sparkling wine to a shaker and shake hard (without ice). Open the shaker, fill with ice and shake again. Strain into a flute glass and fill with sparkling wine. To garnish, roll up a lime twist to look like a rose and secure with a cocktail pick or skewer.