SPARKLING COCKTAILS FOR A NEW YEAR

How is it that effervescent beverages are so winsome while effervescent humans are almost always distressing? (Don’t answer that.)

364 days a year, I wouldn’t dream of protesting if offered a glass of champagne. On the last day of the year, my mood changes. I don’t just want just bubbles. I want a more complex mixture — something fortified perhaps, or distilled, tart, even slightly bitter — topped with champagne. I want a sparkling cocktail.

I’d raise that cocktail with a suitably beguiling toast for the new year:
We must be still and still moving.”

photo (3)(clockwise from noon: French 75, Elder Fashion Royale, North by Northwest, Bittenbender, Boomin’ Granny)

All recipes below are from the magisterial book, Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails:

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FRENCH 75
classic, well-balanced, overachieving

1 1/2 ounces Plymouth gin
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
dry champagne
1 lemon twist for garnish

Shake all the ingredients (except the champagne) with ice, then strain into a flute. Top with champagne. Garnish with the lemon twist.

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ELDER FASHION ROYALE
understated, self-assured, sophisticated

1 1/2 ounces Plymouth gin
1/2 ounce St-Germain
1 dash orange bitters
dry champagne
1 grapefruit twist for garnish

Stir all the ingredients (except the champagne) over ice, then strain into a flute. Top with champagne. Garnish with the grapefruit twist.

IMG_9522

NORTH BY NORTHWEST
mysterious, brooding, iconoclastic

1 1/2 ounces Aviation gin
1/4 ounce absinthe
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
dry champagne

Shake all the ingredients (except the champagne) with ice, then strain into a flute. Top with champagne. No garnish.

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BITTENBENDER
complex, zesty, sexy 

4 raspberries
1 lemon twist
1 orange twist
2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce cacao nib-infused Campari*
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce ginger syrup**
1 ounce dry champagne
1 lemon wheel for garnish

In a shaker, muddle the raspberries with the lemon and orange twists. Add the remaining ingredients (except the champagne) and shake with ice. Strain into a snifter over 1 large ice cube. Top with champagne. Garnish with the lemon wheel.
*Combine 3 tablespoons of cacao nibs with one 750-ml bottle of Campari and stir well. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve.
**With about 24 ounces of ginger root, make 1/2 cup fresh ginger juice using a juice extractor or by finely grating fresh ginger, wrapping it in cheesecloth, and squeezing out the juice. Put the juice in a blender with 1 cup of superfine sugar and blend until the sugar is dissolved.

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BOOMIN’ GRANNY
wholesome, nostalgic, a little needy

1 1/2 ounces cognac
1 ounce fresh green (Granny Smith) apple juice*
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce honey syrup**
dry champagne
1 Granny Smith apple slice for garnish

Shake all the ingredients (except the champagne) with ice, then strain into a flute or coupe. Top with champagne. Garnish with the apple slice, dropped into the drink.
*I preferred to double the amount of green apple juice.
**In a bottle or other container with a tight lid, combine 2 cups of honey with 1 cup of warm water. Shake vigorously until the honey is dissolved.

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