Sunday, July 22, 2018
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Five Champagne cocktail recipes to drink on New Year’s Eve

Anything that sparkles. That is what your beverage of choice should be for New Year’s Eve, a night when the drinks should glitter as much as that giant ball in Times Square.

To toast to 2018, we’ve assembled five cocktail recipes using sparkling wine. A splurge on Champagne feels right for this occasion, but these would work well with cava or prosecco or any sparkling wine. (This is your annual reminder that "Champagne" gets its name from the region of France in which it is produced, so technically, if it’s a sparkling wine that is not produced in Champagne, it can’t be called "Champagne.")

Some of these celebratory clinkers can also work as non-alcoholic libations. Try substituting plain sparkling water or tonic water for the alcohol in the Cranberry Rosemary Cocktail, French 75 and Semifreddo Bellini.

These are light and fizzy drinks that will have you feeling the same way come midnight.

Kindness Cocktail

This recipe for the Kindness sparkling wine cocktail mixes botanical gin, lightly spiced Drambuie and the complex sweetness of honey. If you’re hosting a party, you can make the cocktail in a pitcher ahead of time — just leave out the sparkling wine. Guests can add that to their glass at 11:55.

¾ ounce Drambuie

½ ounce gin

½ ounce lemon juice

½ ounce Honey Simple Syrup (recipe below)

4 ounces sparkling wine

In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine the Drambuie, gin, lemon juice and simple syrup, and stir to combine. Strain into a wine glass and top with sparkling wine just before serving.

Serves 1.

Source: Culinary Institute of America

Champagne Cocktail

So simple, yet so festive. Sugar cubes make for a fun adornment to your New Year’s Eve spread, so set them out in a fancy dish next to a couple bottles of bitters and have guests make their own drinks. Feel free to branch out beyond the classic Angostura bitters if you have happen upon some other flavors.

1 sugar cube

2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Brut Champagne

Place a sugar cube in a chilled Champagne flute, lash it with 2 or 3 dashes of bitters, fill the glass with brut Champagne, and squeeze a lemon twist on top.

Serves 1.

Source: Esquire

Cranberry Rosemary Cocktail

This cocktail is a real stunner, garnished with candied cranberries and a cinnamon stick. You can also throw a sprig of fresh rosemary for maximum holiday cheer.

4 candied cranberries

2 tablespoons Rosemary Simple Syrup (recipe below)

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

6 ounces Champagne

Place cranberries in a cocktail shaker and lightly press down on them with the back of a spoon to release juices. Add Rosemary Simple Syrup and orange juice. Shake with a handful of ice, then strain into a Champagne class. Top with Champagne.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick and two more candied cranberries.

Serves 1.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

French 75

The lemony cocktail is a true classic. Feeling like mixing things up? Try swapping out the gin for cognac.

2 ounces dry gin

1 teaspoon superfine sugar

½ ounce lemon juice

5 ounces brut Champagne

Shake gin, lemon juice and sugar well with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker.

Strain into as glass half-full of cracked ice and top off with Champagne.

Serves 1.

Source: Esquire

Semifreddo Bellini

"Semifreddo" is the Italian way of indicating that something is sort of frozen, which is a great way to describe this cocktail. Frozen peaches get blended with some schnapps and Champagne to create a cocktail suitable for Florida’s December temperatures. This works really well with strawberries and raspberries, too. In fact, you can’t really go wrong with freezing pieces of fruit and using them to garnish a simple glass of even plain Champagne.

1 cup peeled, chopped peaches, frozen until hardened

¼ cup peach schnapps

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled Champagne

2 tablespoons superfine sugar

Blend peaches, peach schnapps, 2 tablespoons Champagne, the sugar and ice in a blender until smooth.

Divide mixture between 2 glasses. Top off with remaining Champagne evenly between the glasses, and serve.

Serves 2.

Source: Martha Stewart

Versatile and vibrant accoutrements

Assemble some easy accoutrements ahead of time and pull them out on Dec. 31 for quick cocktail making. Here are two versatile syrups and a vibrant garnish that will up your sparkling wine game.

Honey Simple Syrup

Honey Simple Syrup is an easy make-ahead recipe that you’ll enjoy for more than one cocktail. Use it to lightly sweeten lemonade for young guests (add a splash of sparkling water for bubbles) or as a sweetener for mulled apple cider. Choose your favorite honey, but keep in mind that some varieties, like orange blossom, are more flavorful than others.

½ cup honey

½ cup water

Combine the honey and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the honey dissolves. Cool completely before use.

Makes about ¾ cups (enough for 24 cocktails).

Source: Culinary Institute of America

Rosemary Simple Syrup

Same deal with this flavored syrup, which lends a subtle herby flair to your cocktails. We’re pairing it with cranberries in the Cranberry Rosemary Cocktail recipe above.

1 cup water

1 cup white sugar

? cup fresh rosemary leaves

Add water, sugar and rosemary leaves to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook until sugar has dissolved. Let mixture simmer for about 2 minutes, then remove saucepan and let it sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature. Strain syrup to remove rosemary leaves, and let cool.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

Candied Cranberries

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

½ cup cranberries

Cook ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Transfer to top of double boiler. Add cranberries. Cover berry mixture and place over simmering water. Cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from over water. Let cranberry mixture stand at room temperature overnight.

Place remaining ½ cup sugar on plate. Drain cranberries well. Add to sugar and turn to coat. Let dry at least 30 minutes. Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Source: Epicurious

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