This is a slightly updated rehash of a column I wrote a couple of years ago for New Year’s Eve. This year we are hanging around the house, reading our Christmas books and watching movies and thinking lazily about New Year’s resolutions. I think we will approach 2022 with modest expectations and goals, and hope for the best. Wear your masks, wash your hands, socially distance, get your boosters and have a very Happy New Year, Gentle Readers!
This New Year’s Eve I am kicking back with gin and Champagne (probably Prosecco because we are starting a New Year’s Resolution Budget).
Prosecco or Champagne? It’s a personal choice. I am hugely impressed by a stately bottle of Veuve Clicquot, and would probably serve it to Mr. Hudson, the butler from Upstairs, Downstairs, if he ever came to call. But I find a pretty orange label on a bottle of Mionetto Prosecco just as appealing.
Recently we found the most delightful Mumm Napa Brut Rosé, on sale. There is nothing so frivolous as a glass full of bubbling pink fizz. So keep your eyes peeled for a sale. You’ll thank me.
The Christmas cookies are almost gone. In the meantime, it is Friday night, and it has been a long week. It’s the last time to indulge in 2021. Instead pouring a glass of my usual cheap winter plonk, I thought I should test some seasonal, perhaps New Year’s Eve-ish cocktail recipes, to get back into the holiday spirit. These are crowd pleasers, but they require a little planning.
“The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef; love is like being enlivened with Champagne.”
– Samuel Johnson
This is my go-to cocktail. Finally, I can sound adult and have a drink at a bar (when we aren’t staying home because of COVID) that isn’t too giggly-sounding. Cosmos are deelish, but they don’t sound sophisticated. French 75s are essentially cool and adult.
“Hits with remarkable precision.”
-Harry Craddock, The Savoy Cocktail Book
2 ounces gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1 spoonful extra fine sugar
Shake the gin, lemon juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker filled with cracked ice until chilled and well-mixed and then pour into tall glass containing cracked ice and fill up the glass with Champagne.
This clever cocktail was said to have been devised during WWI, the kick from the alcohol combo being described as powerful as the French 75mm howitzer gun.
“Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of Champagne; knowing him was like drinking it.”
In a Champagne glass add a teaspoon of sugar and enough Angostura bitters to melt the sugar.
Add a tablespoon of Grand Marnier or cognac and mix in with the sugar, bitters mix.
Add a “fine” quality Champagne and stir. Float a slice of thin orange on top.
This is what Ilsa and Victor Laszlo sipped in Casablanca.
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.”
As always, our festive friends at Food52 have some delightful ideas for nibbles to help soak up some of the bubbly we are sure to be drinking on New Year’s Eve. https://www.food52.com/blog/2807
On a pre-COVID trip to food-forward-thinking-Charleston, friends ordered the Aperol and Prosecco cocktail, because they are oh, so trendy. I did not realize that this is the most popular cocktail in Italy. And now it can be one of yours, too!
Aperol and Prosecco
3 parts chilled, dry Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 splash soda
Serve with on the rocks in wine glass or rocks glass
Garnish with a slice of orange (this makes it practically health food!) https://www.eater.com/2014/10/21/7020183/the-story-of-the-aperol-spritz-a-classic-italian-cocktail
This is very pretty, and so seasonal: Pomegranate Mimosas.
“My only regret in life is that I didn’t drink enough Champagne”
-John Maynard Keynes
And the best of both worlds: a Black Velvet! Champagne and Guinness.
This drink is simply equal parts stout and sparkling wine, and to be honest, there are some who will never understand its appeal. But to fans, this is a perfect special-occasion drink, particularly suited to mornings and late afternoons. I had my first on a gelid night in London, at Rules, in Covent Garden. Divine.
4 ounces (1/2 cup) chilled Champagne or Prosecco
4 ounces (1/2 cup) chilled Guinness Extra Stout
Pour the Champagne into a tall glass. We first had ours served in heavy pewter tankards, but at home we eschew the delicate flutes for a sturdy rocks glass. This is not an effete drink. It is robust, and fills your hand with determination. Be sure to pour the Guinness on top. (This is important: Guinness is heavier. If you pour the sparkling wine second, it won’t combine evenly, and will need to be stirred. I shudder at the thought!)
Enjoy yourself this weekend. Happy New Year! And let the games begin, again, on Monday.
“Why do I drink Champagne for breakfast? Doesn’t everyone?”