Punching Up For The New Year!

On Living Dayton yesterday (27 Dec 17), I showed a couple of simple to make cocktails for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Simple cocktails are great for parties. They do not take much time to make if you have to do them individually and can be absolute crowd pleasers. As impressive as a drink is with multiple ingredients and unique elements, there is a reason that margaritas and Manhattans maintain their popularity. Old Fashioneds fall into that category as well. Ask twenty bartenders how to make one, and odds are you will get at least fifteen different versions. 

An Old Fashioned works with three ingredients. There is a base spirit, usually whiskey, a sweetener, usually sugar, and bitters of some sort. Recipes exist that have oranges, cherries, soda water, rum, and all manner of other changes made to that basic formula. It is one of the reasons that no matter what bar you go to, there is never a problem ordering and Old Fashioned. As you can see, most bars and homes have the ingredients needed to make one. 

 Tools of the trade on Living Dayton!

Tools of the trade on Living Dayton!

Maple Old Fashioned

2 oz. rye-heavy bourbon or rye whiskey
.5 oz. maple syrup
3-4 dashes Angostura bitters

Glass: Old Fashioned
Ice: Cubed
Garnish: Orange zest

Pour all of the ingredients into a mixing glass over ice. Stir until chilled, then strain into an Old Fashioned glass over ice. Twist the zest over the cocktail and add it to the drink.

This goes with the pork dish you might be having on New Year's Day. Pork is eaten on the first day of the year to ensure good fortune in the coming days. Central European countries, Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the rest, eat pig because the pig cannot look behind it. It is always "rooting forward" to find food or get to where it is going. This always forward drive by our porcine friends is why their meat is considered good luck, and that tradition moved into the Midwest as the people of those countries immigrated there. If you cannot eat pork, pig-shaped cookies and candies are also considered part of the good luck ritual. 

Sparkling New Year

1 oz. brandy (Optional)
.5 oz. orange liqueur
1 oz. cranberry juice
Sweet sparkling wine

Glass: Champagne or Coupe
Ice: None
Garnish: Orange zest

Pour the brandy, orange liqueur, and cranberry juice into a mixing tin over ice. Shake until chilled, 20 - 30 seconds, then strain into the flute or coupe. Top with the champagne. Twist the zest over the cocktail and add it to the drink.

How can you do New Year's without something sparkling? Champagne has been a vehicle for celebrations for centuries, ever since the British figured out how the process worked. The bitter cold winters in England helped, because even fermentation was not willing to continue in the cold. This left some undigested sugars in the wine, which created the sparkle when the process fired back up in the spring. 

This cocktail would be difficult to make over and over again quickly. The best solution to serve this to a large group of people? Turn it into a punch!

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Sparkling New Year Punch

1.5 cups brandy (Optional)
1 cup orange liqueur
6 cups cranberry juice
2 750 mL bottles sweet sparkling wine 

Glass: Punch Cup
Ice: Cubed
Garnish: Cranberries and Orange Slices

Pour all of the ingredients except the champagne into a sealable container the day before the party. This will allow all of the flavors to blend overnight. When you are ready to serve, fill a punch bowl half full of ice. Pour the blended mix over the ice. Then add the two bottles of champagne, cranberries, and orange slices just before the party begins. Arrange some cups by the bowl and allow people to serve themselves!

Be aware that punches have a kick. Removing the brandy from the recipe is not going to dull the flavor, but it will pull back on the alcohol content. 

Here are two cocktails that are sure to add to your guests' enjoyment of welcoming the new year! Pick up these extra ingredients while you are out purchasing your party favors, pork, and sauerkraut over the weekend and safely enjoy the beginning of 2018.

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 56 - The Revolver

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 56 - The Revolver

Early in his career, Jon Santer developed a simple recipe of bourbon, coffee liqueur, and orange bitters. It was christened The Revolver and continued on his way, pushing the world of cocktails forward one libation at a time. He helped bring back the speakeasy concept, and by and large built a following for his amazing work and the energy he gives to the industry. 

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 50 - Bourbon Renewal

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 50 - Bourbon Renewal

The Bar Book by Jeffery Morgenthaler was one of the first books I read that really pulled me deeper into the science and craft of the cocktail. Bourbon is a spirit that I enjoy using in cocktails, as well as sipping on its own. And this is a landmark day in #100DaysOfCocktails. Half way through. 

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 43 - The Second Marriage

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 43 - The Second Marriage

Sherry has been around for centuries, but was lost to the United States when Prohibition struck. As bartenders are diving deeper into history, sherry is slowly moving back into the limelight. Dan Greenbaum's The Second Marriage takes this classic wine and blends it with a classic cocktail to create a modern masterpiece, as #100DaysOfCocktails discovered.

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 39 - Maple Bourbon Shandy

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 39 - Maple Bourbon Shandy

Beer and whiskey are a pairing that are as good and peanut butter and jelly or eggs and bacon. The good folks over at 80Twenty have turned in a gem of a riff on the shandy, adding some bitters, orange juice, and maple syrup to create a cocktail you'll keep going back to sip. 

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 37 - The Gold Rush

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 37 - The Gold Rush

Sometimes it is a simple shift that creates a new cocktail. The Gold Rush, which seems like something that should have been around forever, was a recent creation at Milk & Honey in the early 2000's. Substituting simple syrup for honey syrup fully shifts the flavor and mouthfeel of this whiskey sour variant. 

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 35 - Above the Board

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 35 - Above the Board

The 21c Museum and Hotel in Louisville, KY, is not just known for warm hospitality and innovative art. They are known for Proof on Main, their cocktail bar and restaurant attached to the venue. They graciously shared Above the Board in the book The American Cocktail, and #100DaysOfCocktails could not have been more excited.

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 31 - Kentucky Coffee

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 31 - Kentucky Coffee

After a long day of travel, sometimes you hit something that is familiar. It is definitely a spin on the classic Irish Coffee, but a great way to relax after thirteen hours on the road. #100DaysOfCocktails moves into the modern era, slowly, with the Kentucky Coffee.

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 28 - Twelve Mile Limit

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 28 - Twelve Mile Limit

When it was apparent that the three mile international border was being used as a staging ground for drunken revelry during Prohibition, Congress pushed the border out to twelve miles. This discouraged small boats from smuggling, but encouraged Tommy Millard to create the Twelve Mile Limit cocktail. 

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 24 - The Seelbach

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 24 - The Seelbach

After being lost for eighty years, the Seelbach cocktail popped up when a manager at the hotel of the same name discovered it. It was dusted off and added to the menu, bringing back a bourbon and champagne concoction that is a delight all the way through. What #100DaysOfCocktails found shocking was the amount of bitters in it.