It’s New Years – Time for Champagne Cocktails!

As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time for WILD REVELRY and AGGRESSIVE PARTYING.  To instigate and enable such celebrations, I did some experimenting with champagne cocktails, hunting for drinks that pack a punch, have a complex taste but don’t demand complicated ingredients, and bring those bubbles partygoers demand.  After over an hour of exhaustive Google searching and heavy drinking, I settled on a list of four New Year’s cocktails that, IMHO, will knock your socks off.

First up was the “Champagne Julep” via Punch Magazine which substitutes cognac for the julep’s customary bourbon and adds some champagne to the mix.  Great drink, very strong, perfect mix of the sugary syrup, the mint flavor, and the champagne.  The small dose of cognac partners perfectly to present an up-front yet subtly bubbly kick.  Loved it, but very strong.

  • 1/2 ounce cognac
  • 3 ounces champagne or other dry, sparkling wine
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup or one sugar cube
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 6-7 mint leaves

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The bubbles kept flowing with “Ritz of New York” a drink designed by cocktail god Dale DeGroff.  I really loved this drink, the bubbles hit up front, then give way to a great citrus and cointreau taste, and conclude with the powerful, resonant punch of the cognac.  Perfect for New Years, I think this DeGroff guy might have a future.

  • 1 ounce Cognac
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec
  • 2 splashes maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Chilled champagne or sparkling wine

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We get a little bitter with the “Negroni Royal” designed by Mauro’s Negroni Club in Munich.  I’m not a huge fan of Negronis but I thought this was a cool take on the recipe and a really chill party-friendly taste.  The sensation, especially on the head, is still bitter, but the rest of the drink is a little sweeter and poppier than the standard.  The cranberry offers an interesting, in-the-background but enriching fruit flavor.

  • 2/3 oz Campari
  • 2/3 oz Cointreau
  • 1.5 oz cranberry juice
  • 3.5 oz chilled Champagne

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Our final drink is the “Seelbach Cocktail” from the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville.  This was a very, very powerful taste heavily influenced by the large amount of Peychauds you throw in.  Simply put, if you like the Peychaud taste, you’ll love this drink (I did).  It’s a heavier drink that the three others particularly with the weight of the bourbon, but it’s still bright enough to enjoy one or two of them at a freewheeling party.

  • .75 oz bourbon
  • .5 oz Cointreau
  • 7 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 4 oz chilled Champagne

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