While a champagne toast may be the traditional way to greet the the new year, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with a festive cocktail or homemade punch as you celebrate the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. We asked the bartenders who we’ve featured in our Meet Your Bartender series this past year for some of their favorite winter cocktails, punches, and nogs so you can ring out the old and ring in the new with style.
We’ll start with Misty Kalkofen of Drink, who will be featured in next week’s Meet Your Bartender post. At the Lizard Lounge, the B-Side, and now at Drink, Misty has been on the front lines of the classic cocktail revolution in Boston. So it’s fitting that her two seasonal cocktail favorites both are steeped a bit in military/revolutionary lore. The first is an elegant, classic sparkling cocktail that, so the story goes, was invented by cocktail-hungry American GI’s in France, who named it for a piece of artillery, the French 75. The second is a punch with a Black Tea kick (good for a special kind of tea party), which is named for Boston’s famed fomenters of revolution, the Sons of Liberty.
1 oz London dry gin
1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup (1:1)
Shake the gin, lemon and simple syrup over 2 ice cubes just to chill and incorporate the ingredients.
Strain into a champagne flute.
Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a long lemon twist.
Sons of Liberty Punch
Muddle lemon zest with sugar in punch bowl. Allow to sit for up to 90 minutes so sugar will draw oils out of the lemon peels.
Steep black tea in hot water.
Add arrack to the lemon peels and ignite with long wooden match.
Strain tea into bowl to extinguish flame.
Add block of ice, spirits, and lemon juice to bowl.
Allow to steep for 10-15 minutes.
Ladle into chilled punch cups.
Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar shares a drink of his own invention called the Standish Rose. Though he admits the name may not evoke the spirit of the holidays, he says the drink itself is “very festive” with a “color and aroma that are pretty sensational.” The only tricky thing here is preparing your own cranberry syrup/jelly. But there’s nothing to it, really, and it is glorious stuff, even if you, like I, don’t use heirloom cranberries from the farm in Duxbury from which the drink takes its name.
The Standish Rose
2 oz rosé vermouth
1 oz homemade cranberry syrup/jelly *
*For the cranberry syrup, slow cook 16 oz. cranberries with sugar, salt, rosemary, thyme, and orange peel. Cool and then puree with honey syrup (preferably with some ginger and cinnamon steeped into it).
Shake vigorously over ice until cold and strain into a coupe class.
A friend once described Noon Inthasuwan of Umami in Brookline, as “a kind of magician behind the bar.” Her use of unusual spices, flowers and syrups certainly does yield some magical concoctions. Here she conjures up a Spiced Cranberry Cider Punch (with Sichuan peppercorns for added numbing excitement), which she promises is no less spectacular in its non-alcoholic form, as well as a walnut-based Nutcracker Infusion that is as good to eat as it is to sip.
Spiced Cranberry Cider Punch
1 gallon apple cider
1 pint fresh cranberries
10 Kaffir lime leaves
5 pieces cinnamon
5 pieces star anise
5 pieces cardamom
1/3 cup sichuan peppercorns
rind of an orange
1 pint sugar
Bring apple cider and cranberries to a boil.
Add spices and simmer over medium to low heat for 15 minutes.
Add pint of sugar and orange rind and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Strain, reserving the Kaffir lime leaves, which you add back into the liquid.
Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
Garnish with fresh cranberries and an orange wheel.
The base is non-alcoholic and can be served warm or cold. For an alcoholic punch, try adding Applejack, Spiced Rum or Junmai Sake. 1 part alcohol to 3 parts cider. You can also add Bittermen’s Tiki bitters to spike up the flavors before serving.
3 cups walnuts
Zest of 1 orange
1 pint maple syrup
2 pints bourbon
Toss the walnut halves with the orange zest and roast at 175 degrees for 10 minutes.
Bring maple syrup to a gentle boil.
Add the bourbon (be careful, it could flambé)
Pour the warm Maple Bourbon over the nuts and let cool.
Leave at room temperature for 6 hours and then refrigerate.
Serve the infusion warm with a couple of drops of chocolate bitters and an orange twist, or you could use it in a cold cocktail with some ginger beer. According to Noon, the walnuts are also delicious.
Todd Maul of Clio and Uni offers this sparkling cocktail with a bit of funk and a base of aged rum and Swedish Punsch that should cure whatever might ail you as you celebrate the coming of the new year.
The Dr.’s Assistant
2 oz El Dorado 5 Year Old Demarera rum
1 oz Swedish Punsch
1 oz lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
1 1/2 oz champagne
Shake the first four ingredients over ice. Strain in to a champagne flute. Top with champagne.
Lastly, Max Toste of Deep Ellum in Allston shares a pair of exotic eggnog recipes. These are not for the calorie conscious, but you can put off such weighty resolutions for another day, or another year for that matter. Here are his recipes for a rich and creamy San Francisco Nog, whose sweetness is leavened with bitter botanical, Fernet Branca, and a more calorically restrained, New England Nog. With Max’s exclamation points and commentary in tact.
San Francisco Nog
1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 oz heavy cream
3/4 oz simple syrup
1 egg yolk
1 raw sugar cube
2 dashes aromatic bitters
Dry shake all ingredients (1 ice cube).
Add ice and shake vigorously.
Double strain into a double old fashioned glass and garnish with grated cinnamon
New England Nog
1 1/2 oz cold apple cider
1 1/2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz anejo rum (Ron Antigua Diplomatico)
1 whole egg
A dash of aromatic bitters
Dry shake all ingredients.
Add ice and shake vigorously.
Double strain into a chilled wine glass.
Garnish with grated nutmeg.
Cheers! And Happy New Year!