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.

Día de Los Muertos!

Día de Los Muertos!

Many people think that Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is related to Halloween festivities. It is a separate holiday in Mexico, more akin to All Souls Day. Find out more about this two-day festival via infographic by El Jimenez!

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 58 - Tootsie Roll

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 58 - Tootsie Roll

Toosie Rolls have been part of the military since their inception, but there was one battle that this candy was a little more than a treat for tired soldiers. This cocktail by Aisha Sharpe blends rye whiskey, chocolate bitters, and sweet Pedro Ximenez sherry to replicate this sweet treat. It works quite nicely.

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 56 - The Revolver

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 56 - The Revolver

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#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 52 - Dublin Iced Coffee

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 52 - Dublin Iced Coffee

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#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 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 29 - Corpse Reviver #1

#100DaysOfCocktails - Day 29 - Corpse Reviver #1

October is a month for scary things; what is scarier than an animated corpse? There are two versions of the Corpse Reviver. One is gin based, and very common on cocktail menus. The other is cognac based, and you are lucky to find it in the wild. Corpse Reviver #1 is the focus of today's #100DaysOfCocktails.