It’s been a long year and we don’t feel like reviewing anything! Instead, we’re giving you some of our favorite drink recipes to ring in the new year!
New Year’s is about celebrating – and how better to celebrate than with champagne? Peaches are one of my all-time favorite fruits, but you could make a Bellini with a whole host of other things, including most berries. Here’s the recipe:
2 fluid ounces peach juice (again, this could be any number of things. It’s also traditionally made with puree, which you can make pretty simply by peeling and blending a peach and refrigerating until cool)
4 fluid ounces champagne (the bellini was originally made with prosecco, but you could do a sparkling wine if you want it sweeter OR a brute if you want it a little more bitter)
1 tablespoon lime juice (optional; a lot of recipes I read suggest raspberry juice but I actually prefer lime juice, especially if I’m using a berry instead of peach juice for the main ingredient)
Pour juice (or puree) into a champagne flute (or the glass of your choice). Pour champagne over juice and allow to rest one minute or until liquids have mixed. Pour raspberry or lime juice over mixture. Voilà!
Champagne and Bitters Gelatin Shots
Many years ago, my good friend Kelsey introduced me to a book full of all sorts of flavored alcoholic gelatin shot recipes (We’re not using the term “Jell-o” as that is a brand, and our gelatin was generic). We tried several of the recipes, but my favorites were by far, these Champagne and Bitters shots, which I have made many times since. This is a layered gelatin shot, and requires some planning ahead, but is totally worth it.
Bitters Simple Syrup
1 ½ cup water
1 cup sugar
9 TBSP angostura bitters
Mix ingredients in saucepan, bring to boiling, stirring occasionally. Let cool.
Sprinkle ½ envelope of gelatin on ½ cup of bitters simple syrup (you’ll have more syrup, which we’ll use later, along with the other ½ envelope of gelatin). Set for a minute, heat on low, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until gelatin is dissolved. Chill one hour.
1/12 cups champagne
½ cup water
1 TBSP sugar
Combine ingredients in saucepan, sprinkle 2 envelopes of gelatin over top, let set a minute, heat on low, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until gelatin is dissolved. Pur over Bitters layer, chill 1 hour.
That is the original recipe. I like to make another bitters layer, since it accents the champagne really well and you make enough bitters syrup to make another layer anyway. Just repeat the first section and pour on top of the champagne layer and let chill for another hour.
If you want something a little stronger while still looking “classy” at your New Year’s Eve party, try an Old Fashioned. It’s basically straight liquor, but it takes a little more effort to make and it’s meant to be sipped slowly.
1 teaspoon sugar or 1 sugar cube
2 or 3 dashes bitters (Angostura is traditional, but you can play around with this and find one that works best for you)
1 teaspoon water
2 ounces bourbon (Someone once told me they do this with rye whiskey. I’ll stick to bourbon, but you can try it if that’s the kind of thing you like.)
An orange peel or cocktail cherry
Traditionally, you are supposed to put the sugar in the bottom of a glass, with bitters and a little water, and muddle it until it’s mixed. Then pour in the bourbon and stir until sugar is dissolved, add ice cubes and stir until chilled, and finally add the orange peel or cherry for garnish. I prefer to muddle the peel or cherry with the sugar, water, and bitters mixture (because I like mine a little fruitier). I will warn you that it’ll take a little more effort to get the sugar completely dissolved when you do it my way, but I think it’s worth it. Now look impressive as you mingle with your guests drinking slightly-flavored bourbon 😉
If you’re going to be drinking a lot, you’d better make a drink with a built-in snack. Earlier this year I became rather obsessed with martinis, probably partially because my husband and I watched our way through all the James Bond movies. I started out being snooty about martinis being made of gin, not vodka, but have since decided that both are tasty. Here’s my usual formula:
2 shots gin or vodka (the better your liquor, the better the drink. There’s a really floral gin I like called Prairie Organic Gin that makes GREAT martinis)
A dash of angostura bitters
½ a shot of vermouth (or maybe a smidge less than that)
A healthy splash of olive juice.
Pour all ingredients into a mixer with ice. Shake rapidly, ideally to music. Pour into a glass with 2 olives (or 4, or however many olives you need to make drinking lightly flavored liquor worth your time). I love getting fancy olives stuffed with almonds, garlic, cheese, or other goodies, and sometimes you can find them soaking in vermouth. In that case, I just skip the vermouth altogether and just use the olive juice. Enjoy!