New Year’s spirits
Christmas is past us, sadly, but we’re here to alleviate the post-Christmas blahs because there’s a decidedly more cocktail-centric holiday just around the corner. We’re helping you ring in the New Year in spirituous style by asking some of our most renowned mixologists what their favorite cocktails are to embrace 2019 and to welcome the next few months.
Classic Pennsylvania Dutch Eggnog
John Vavryshko IV, formerly of Breathe Cocktail Lounge
For Vavyrshko, this nog goes back to his roots. “This is an enhancement on pre-bottled eggnog that we drink quite a bit of in Pennsylvania, and it’s also where I got the idea to split the spirit base.” The nog uses brandy, rum and bourbon. “The other ingredient is a spiced syrup, which is essential in holiday and/or fall cocktails,” he added. “I like to use Homeland Creamery’s Eggnog; they do a fantastic job.”
In an Irish cream mug, add:
1⁄2-ounce spiced syrup (recipe below)
Add eggnog, leaving a 1⁄2-inch gap and stir to homogenize. Froth heavy cream, Vavryshko suggests using a cocktail shaker for this. Layer cream on top with a spoon. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
“This can be used creatively in just about any fall-winter cocktail or your morning coffee, it’s also fun and doesn’t have too many rules,” Vavryshko said.
Start with 50/50 simple syrup simmering on the stove (that’s half sugar and half water).
Vavryshko suggests adding cloves, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, ginger and an orange peel. Simmer and taste periodically until brown.
Pro tip: Do not allow a rolling boil, as this will destroy some of the flavors and increase the viscosity. Some other ingredients you could use are rosemary, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, cranberries, or apples. “Try to stick to whole spices to avoid chalkiness,” he said.
Of course, no New Year’s Eve celebration would be complete without Champagne. Here is are a couple of Champagne cocktails to jazz up your bubbly.
Andrew Norman, of Fainting Goat Spirits
Of course, Norman highly recommends using his own Emulsion Gin.
1 ½-ounce Emulsion Gin
3/4-ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4-ounce simple syrup
Shake the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup over ice, and strain into a Champagne flute. Top the flute with more Champagne.
Cranberry 75, Vavryshko
For a twist on the above classic, Vavryshko adds cranberry syrup, which is equal parts cranberry juice and sugar simmered until cooked down into syrup. Use either a Champagne flute or a mini-coup.
1 ½-ounce Sutler’s Gin
3⁄4-ounce lemon juice
3⁄4-ounce cranberry syrup
Shake, strain into glass and top with either Champagne or Cava. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Champagne Cocktail, Vavryshko
In a Champagne flute, add one sugar cube and douse with angostura bitters. Top with Champagne or Cava, garnish with a lemon twist.
Holiday Moscow Mule, Norman
1 ½-ounce Tiny Cat Vodka
1 ½-ounce cranberry juice
1/2-ounce fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients except the ginger beer into a shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer and add a sprig of rosemary for garnish.
Chai Old Fashioned
Mark Weddle, operations manager
of Sutler’s Spirits
Award-winning mixologist Weddle has a mantra: “Life is too short to drink bad cocktails.”
2-ounce Maker’s Mark Bourbon
1/2-ounce Chai Simple Syrup
2-3 dashes Fee Brother’s Old
Combine all with ice in a glass-mixing pitcher and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over a large piece of ice. Garnish with an orange peel and a brandied cherry. Coffee ice cubes are a great twist to this recipe; feel free to offer it to your guests at no extra charge.
Chai Simple Syrup:
1-quart Demerara sugar
5-bags of Double Spiced Chai Tea
Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Once all the sugar has dissolved, lower the temperature to medium and add the tea bags. Steep for 30 minutes at a very low simmer then remove the bags. Store in an air-tight container in the cooler for 60 days.
Fancy Nancy, Weddle
Top with Prosecco
Combine Lemoncello and Amaretto in a tin with ice and shake. Strain into a flute and top with Prosecco. Garnish with a slapped basil leaf.
Serving a group? Somebody spiked the punch…
Holiday Rum Punch
Robert Rhodes, of Lao Restaurant + Bar
In a punch bowl add:
6-ounces clove simple syrup (use the above method for this syrup, equal parts sugar and water with a helping of clove and allow to simmer)
6-ounces of cranberry juice
3-ounces of orange juice
7 ½-ounces of Captain Morgan’s Rum
4 ½-ounces of dark rum
Stir ingredients together and top off with 6-ounces of the hard cider of your choice. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and lemon wheel.
I’ve got to throw my two cents in here. At a recent family gathering, we had the most fun having a hot chocolate bar with marshmallows, Pirouettes, caramel sauce–the whole nine yards. What made it extra special for the adults was a little spirit to make them feel young.
Grown-up Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
1 ½-ounce Baileys Salted Caramel Liqueur
6-ounces of hot chocolate
Mix and top with whipped cream, and garnish with caramel or chocolate sauce or sprinkles!
Kristi Maier is a food writer, blogger and cheerleader for all things local who even enjoys cooking in her kitchen, though her kidlets seldom appreciate her efforts.