It’s been a minute since my last post but I wanted to close out 2017 with a bang. Whether you’re throwing a big blowout, a quiet get together with just a few friends or staying warm and cozy at home watching the Twilight Zone marathon, TheLUSHiouslife has a perfect path for you to follow. Read on if you’re still trying to figure out how to pull off your New Year’s Eve drinks situation with minimum fuss and maximum style.
If 2017 was the year you discovered that you love a good mule
Maybe you went to your fave after work spot or had lunch with your squad and noticed people drinking something that looked delicious out of a fly-looking copper mug. Then you started seeing those mugs Everywhere: Williams-Sonoma, West Elm, Crate & Barrel, your friend’s bridal shower, your local watering hole. I get it. Who doesn’t love a cute glass and a pretty drink?
And here’s the deal about a mule—don’t let anyone tell you that they’re played. As far as I’m concerned, any drink that contains ginger beer is delicious. And few cocktails are as easy and quick to put together than a mule. Two ounces of a spirit, the juice of half a lime, poured into a glass over ice and topped with ginger beer. Done. You can switch up the spirit to keep things interesting. Tequila instead of vodka and it’s a Tijuana Mule; use bourbon and you have a Kentucky Buck; choose gin and a little simple syrup plus some fresh mint and you’ve got a Gin Gin Mule.
Another way to flip the script is by using infused, or flavored, ginger beers. Here’s a tip to make it light on yourself for New Year’s Eve. Head to BJ’s Wholesale Club and pick up some Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer. They’re made with 100% fresh ginger and come in mini 7 oz. bottles, just enough to mix up your favorite mule. And the best part is they come in four flavors: Traditional, Earl Grey, Lemon & Lime and Mango so you can easily play around with different flavor combinations.
Pro Party Tip: Put out a bunch of different bottles, chilled, along with fresh lime juice and ice. Set out your mule mugs and ice and let your guests make their own.
Here’s a take on a classic Moscow mule recipe to get you started…
3 Parts Absolut Elyx
1 Part cranberry cordial
1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
Top ginger beer
Combine all ingredients in a copper mule cup over crushed ice, top with ginger beer and garnish with 3 lime wheels and star anise.
If you’re up for something a bit more fancy, here are a couple of recipes from Brooklyn Crafted…
Lemon/Lime Ginger Beer Champagne
1/3 oz raspberry puree
1.5 oz Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer Mini, Lemon/Lime
Splash of Limoncello
4 oz champagne
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Stir raspberry puree, Brooklyn Crafted Mini Lemon/Lime and Limoncello in a champagne flute. Top with champagne and a squeeze of lime juice. Garnish with raspberries.
Ginger Whiskey Cider
2 oz. Hard Cider
1 oz. Whiskey
Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer Mini in Traditional, to fill
In a 12-16 oz. high ball glass, combine the hard cider and whiskey. Fill the glass with crushed ice and top with ginger beer.
Cranberry Ginger Fizz
¾ C sugar
¾ C water
1 C fresh cranberries
1 lemon, cut into wedges
½ orange, cut into slices
1.5 C dry gin, such as Tanqueray
1 C chilled Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer mini in Lemon/Lime
4 mint sprigs
Bring sugar & water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stir until water is dissolved. Remove from heat; pour off all but one cup of syrup, reserving any extra for another use. Heat the syrup to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Add the cranberries and simmer for 2-3 min until they just begin to burst. Remove from heat and let cool in syrup. Place 2 T drained cranberries and 6 T cranberry syrup in a large pitcher; add the lemon wedges and orange slices. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, vigorously mash the fruit. Stir in gin and let steep for at least 5 minutes. Strain into a medium pitcher. Fill 4 glasses with crushed ice and ¼ cup ginger beer. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour half the cranberry mixture into the shaker. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds; strain liquid into two glasses. Repeat. Mound additional ice on top of each glass and garnish with 3 candied cranberries and a mint sprig.
If you’re planning a low-key NYE
You don’t need any blog to tell you to stock a bottle or two of something bubbly to pop open at midnight, but what about in those hours leading up to the ball drop? If you’re down with the brown (liquor), break one of these bottles of scotch.
Highland Park The Dark
Only 4,560 bottles of this whisky tribute to winter were just made available in the U.S., but it’s well worth seeking out. This seven-year-old single-malt Scotch whisky, which has been matured in first-fill European oak sherry-seasoned casks, boosts flavors of dried fruits, cinnamon, toasted almonds, cedar wood, fruitcake and light peat smoke. It’s available from specialty spirits retailers nationally and via ReserveBar.com and Caskers.com. It’s priced at $300 per 750 ml
Jura makes some of my favorite any-occasion whisky. This year they launched a new core line in the U.S. Subtly smoky with a sweet sherry cask finish, this 10-year-old single malt is well-priced for the whisky newbie at about $55 for a 750ml bottle.
Pro Tip: Try this take on one of my favorite classic cocktails, with this recipe from The Dead Rabbit’s Greg Buda.
An Uncommon Old Fashioned
1.5 oz. Jura 10
.5 oz. Cognac
1 rsp. Overproof rum
.5 tsp. Demerara syrup
3 dashes Jerry Thomas bitters
*Optional* If you’d like to amp up your cocktail, add in 1 tsp. Fig syrup and .5 tsp. Allspice dram. The fruity undertones of the fig syrup work with Jura 10’s sweeter notes to create a uniquely refreshing finish.
Combine the Jura 10, cognac, rum, demerara syrup, bitters, and ice in a mixing glass. Stir the ingredients briefly, strain into an old fashioned glass over ice, and garnish with a twist of lemon.
If you’re looking for something striking to sip on for the ‘Gram…
4 oz. Sparkling Rosé
1 oz. Van Gogh Açai-Blueberry Vodka
Pour chilled vodka into a flute. Top with sparkling rosé wine and garnish with a starfruit.
Ultra Violet Martini
2 parts SVEDKA Citron
½ part Creme Yvette
1 ½ parts club soda
½-part simple syrup
1 part cream
½-part fresh lime juice
½-part fresh lemon juice
1 small egg white
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Combine all ingredients, except Peychaud’s bitters and club soda, in a. cocktail shaker and shake well. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a martini glass. Set aside one half of the cocktail shaker, without ice, to save the film left from the cream and egg. In the shaker, add 2 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters, combining it with the leftover film and add enough soda to create a foam. Top the drink with this foam until a head appears. Garnish with lemon zest.
If you’d prefer a Punch for your party…
Mixing up a punch is a great way to serve a crowd without sweating over making individual cocktails. Here are a couple of easy but tasty ones to try out:
12 Parts Absolut Elyx
6 Parts Lillet Blanc
24 Parts chilled jasmine tea
6 parts orange blossom honey (1:1)
6 Parts freshly squeezed lemon juice
Garnish with citrus and edible flowers
New Year’s Sparkler
3 ½ parts Svedka Strawberry Lemonade
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part orange juice
1 part grapefruit juice
1 1/2 parts simple syrup
1 part seltzer
2 parts Ruffino Prosecco
Pour ingredients into a pitcher, and stir. Garnish with orange and grapefruit slices.
If you’re venturing out, be safe. We’ll keep a light on for you.
Happy New Year to all!