Since I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, I’m still attempting to understand the holiday and make it mine in some way. The best way I have found so far is by taking the traditional ingredients and dishes of the holiday and giving them my own French twist.
That translated into a sweet potato gratin dauphinois one year, or a pumpkin crème brûlée dessert for example. This year, I didn’t do much of the cooking but I was in charge of cocktails and drinks. I came across Leopold Bros’ New England Cranberry Liqueur just in time for Thanksgiving, during a tasting at Bell Wine and Spirit I stumbled upon.
In France, we typically start a holiday or celebratory meal with an apéritif like champagne or light white wine. As soon as I tried the bright crimson, sweet Cranberry liqueur, I knew it would make the perfect apéritif, mixed with a dry bubbly.
I was right! The simple Cranberry kir royal is not only easy to make but it’s also perfect to serve as a festive cocktail throughout the holiday season. Simply mix 1 to 2 oz of Leopold Bros New England Cranberry Liqueur (available in half or full bottles in our area at West Dupont Circle Wines & Liqueur, Bell Wine and Spirits, Modern Liquors they can order it for you in case they don’t actually have it in store) with 3 to 4 oz of brut/cava/prosecco or any other chilled sparkling wine.
And voilà, you have a bright sparkling cocktail to toast the holidays! You can also garnish it with some frozen whole cranberries or use white wine instead of sparkling wine to make it a regular cranberry kir. Or you can just drizzle some on vanilla-pecan ice cream. Cheers!
More on New Year’s Eve: Eating, Drinking, Dancing: New Year’s Eve Options in Borderstan and What to Make for New Year’s Eve? Easy Recipes Roundup.
From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.
New Year’s Eve. Synonymous with champagne, kisses and that scene from When Harry Met Sally.
For the cynics among us, New Year’s Eve is just another night — a night with unreasonably high expectations for merriment and finding someone at the bar to smooch with. Yet, for the hopeful, it’s about new beginnings, good times with friends and making memories. No matter which side of the coin you fall on, we can all agree on one thing: New Year’s Eve is all about the booze.
I mean, really people, those memories aren’t just going to make themselves, now are they!?
For starters, make sure you’re all set up and ready. The Bon Appetit Cocktail Party Manual has all the golden rules for throwing a boozey party — and more. Don’t forget food, Stephanie has you covered with tons of easy recipes to make, and, in some cases, make-ahead treats that you can serve. But now, on to the reason we’re all here.
Be Safe: If you are out and about for the evening, please drink responsibly and remember, you can get free taxi rides (details here) or sign up for Uber, a car service that will basically make you look like a baller to all your friends and get you home safely. Whatever you do, please don’t drink and drive Borderstanis!
Punch cocktails are the original big batch party drinks. You may poo-poo these at first glance, but don’t let rings of lemon slices frozen in water fool you.
These drinks pack a… no, I won’t say it. It’s just too cheesy. I like the idea of these drinks because (1) you don’t have to fiddle with recipes to make them for a crowd, and (2) they’re a nice way to ease everyone into a festive spirit.
Boozey, but not too much, so it’s not going to get anyone hammered in the first hour. This is a marathon, not a sprint, after all.
- Peppery Punch anyone? The Bitten Word has a spicy punch for you.
- White Whiskey Punch is a fun twist on a traditional whiskey drink.
- Church Lady Punch by Hanks Oyster Bar, anyone? Oh, yes.
- Want to set your punch bowl on fire? Flaming Brandy Punch might hit the spot for you then!
- For your friend who loves white russians, mix it up a bit with this Hot Coconut Milk Punch
- Passion Fruits’ Mulled Cider
For the oenophiles among us, having a well-stocked wine counter, one featuring sangrias or mulled options even, is good for friends and family who don’t do hard liquor. Not everyone can love bourbon as much as I do, and I can respect that.
- Simply Recipe’s has a Honey Mulled Wine for a sweeter option.
- Urban Bohemian has the Best Sangria and the Better Than The Best Sangria.
- Metrocurean talked to five Sommeliers for their favorite supermarket selections.
- We’ve got two great wine rec posts if you want to support retailers in the neighborhood.
There’s no reason you can’t turn your favorite cocktail for one into a pitcher for 10. Just carefully convert the recipe to suit a larger crowd and provide the appropriate cooling option — ice cubes and a shaker for a shaken/stirred cocktail — at the table.
Also, if you like, you can always print out simpler cocktail recipes and leave them on a table with all the appropriate measures, liquors, mixers, bitters and garnishes. That way everyone can make the drink to their liking and get in on the mixologist fun. (Cause don’t we all have that one friend who used to bartend in college…)
- There’s Todd Thrasher’s Cider Car.
- Get spicy with Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Jalapeno Margarita.
- The Bitten Word boys have Momofuku Ko’s Gingersnap Cocktail for something festive.
- Urban Bohemian also has a simple recipe for the Sweet Clementini that is easy to make for a crowd.
- David of David’s Table gets us in the holiday spirit with two cranberry cocktails.
- If you love bourbon, try The Passion Fruts’ Brown Derby or a Classic Manhattan courtesy of the Washington Post.
- How about a Tamarind Ginger Fizz from Not Derby Pie.
- The Moscow Mule is a classic and a crowd pleaser… also from The Bitten Word.
Last but not least, some resources in case you need help or more ideas:
- The boys over at Scofflaw’s Den are local and feature awesome cocktail recipes.
- Speakeasy Cocktails App on iTunes is pretty nifty.
- City Eats DC runs a weekly column called Bottom’s Up featuring the city’s best cocktails.
Oh! And how could I forget? Don’t forget the champagne! Bubbly and kisses. That’s what New Year’s Eve does! Julian Mayor, the sommelier at Bourbon Steak DC in the Four Seasons, contributed to this really lovely list of boutique champagnes. I have Julian to thank for a serious love for Pierre Peters — a champagne you should still be able to get at Cork & Fork on 14th Street. Many others on this list are easy to find as well — just give your liquor/wine store a ring and undoubtedly they’ll have an option for you.