As the years seem to slip through our fingers, with the world feeling a little crazier at every moment, it seems we have yet to lose our interest in looking back toward the crafty days of yore. Maybe it’s our desire to appear perfect—with our jobs, relationships, homes, culinary abilities, the list goes on and on—just like our mothers and fathers before us. It’s an “I can do it all, all by myself!” attitude that can get us in trouble. Until we find the tricks.
It feels as though 2012, and by extension as we head into the new year 2013, are the years of the artisan cocktail. And what better time to debut your bubbly concoctions than New Year’s Eve? When it comes to winding down this holiday season and this year we've selected the most delicious recipes for your drinking pleasure.
The Herbed Mélange From Mojitos to Pimm’s Cups, leafy greens are a surprisingly welcome addition when whetting our whistles. What that winter chill has been calling for is a rosemary-infused vodka that you can make ahead of time so that your day-of prep list is that much shorter. Joy the Baker’s Rosemary Lime Cocktail is a perfect marriage of savory and sweet, ideal for any seasonal soiree. According to her website, here is what you’ll need to do for one cup of simple syrup.
-1 cup water
-1 cup sugar
-3 sprigs rosemary
Over medium heat, combine all three ingredients and bring to a boil so that the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, cover, and let it sit back and do the work for you. Thirty minutes later, remove the sprigs of rosemary and cool the solution. Store in the fridge until your ready to serve with vodka or gin, sparkling water, and a wedge of lime over ice.
Whiskey Sazerac When is a better time but New Year’s Eve to pay homage to the great drinkers before us and whip up one of the country’s first mixed drinks, born from the genius of a Creole apothecary in New Orleans? First created in the early 1800s, The Sazerac is a layered libation with sweet and sour notes that pack a punch. You can find a recipe on Sazerac’s official website that includes cognac, but we prefer a subtler potion that lets the absinthe and ryes speak for themselves, like Chowhound’s Gizmo Sazerac. Here’s what you need to do.
Ahead of time, you can create or purchase a plain simple syrup and stick the glasses you’ll be entertaining with in the freezer. When you’re ready to indulge, rinse your chilled glass in absinthe by pouring a little into the bottom and swirling it around. In a martini shaker, combine:
- 1/2 teaspoon simple syrup
- 4-5 dashes of your favorite bitters brand
- 2 ounces of Bulleit 95 Rye
- 1/2 ounce of Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye
Fill the shaker with ice and stir this drink—never shake it. Voila! It’s just like you’re on Bourbon Street for the New Year.
3, 2, 1, Olé! Nothing screams “let’s do this” more than a tequila shot. Why not make the agave-based liquor your night’s drink of choice with a simple margarita that won’t have you breaking any resolutions? Buy a high quality brand and pour into a shaker with the juice of a couple of limes and organic agave syrup. Add a dash of triple sec or a favorite fruit juice, pour into a glass rimmed with Turbinado sugar and there you have it! A guilt free drink that tastes refreshingly decadent.
Prosecco & Cran We’ll admit it—drinking can be a pricey endeavor. And everyone knows the price paid when costs are cut. Which is why it’s important to know great values in alcoholic goods. A great twist to any champagne cocktail, substituting Northern Italy’s sparkling white wine provides a fitting fizz to any celebratory drink, so leave the Andre on the liquor store’s shelf.
Combined with fruity liquors and fruit, you are left with a simply decadent drink. Adapted from a summer favorite bursting with Fragoli Imported Wild Strawberry Liquor and Prosecco, The New York Times has concocted a cranberry liquor perfect for your NYE plans. Again, you’re going to need to boil down some sugar and water as you did in the rosemary themed drink. You can still do this ahead of time. For the simple syrup you’ll need:
-1 cup water
-2 cups granulated sugar
-2 cups frozen cranberries
-3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice (optional)
-1 tablespoon grated orange rind (optional)
Let the ingredients boil until the cranberries start to “pop,” at which point you can lower the heat and set aside. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to pour into a flute filled with Prosecco. Garnish with a cinnamon stick to get the complete hostess-with-the-mostest look! And if you’re really looking to get down on December 31, swap out the bubbly white wine and turn this brew into a full-blown martini.
And there you have it, readers. A complete list of bubbles and booze that is sure to please even the pickiest of palettes as 2012 winds down and you kick off the New Year. Have fun, be safe, and Happy New Year!