Don’t get me wrong…I love Champagne.
I mean, I really, really love Champagne. I think that Champagne is one of those little indulgences that never really needs a reason. That’s why it’s nice to do something even more special than just cracking open a bottle of bubbly for New Year’s Eve. And what could be better than a special cocktail to mark the turning of the New Year?
Making 5 special cocktails to mark the turning of 5 New Years, that’s what. One for each decade!
1. The 60s: Pink Squirrel
The Pink Squirrel is the grasshopper’s big sister, trading in the kiddie appeal of peppermint and chocolate for the more refined pleasure of Creme de Noyeaux (sometimes called Crème de Almond). Blended drinks are making a comeback, yes. But there’s still such retro glamour, such hedonism, in a cocktail that’s nearly indistinguishable from dessert. Ladies, put on your pencil skirts. Men, break out the skinny ties. And let the good times blend!
2. The 70s: Paradise Cocktail
The Paradise Cocktail is exactly that: paradise. It’s a blend of orange juice, gin, and apricot brandy. The resulting cocktail is as luscious as a velour leisure suit. It’s suave, smooth and perfect for long walks on the beach or recharging after a night at the discotheque.
3. The 80s: Blue Kamikaze Shots
Thirsty like the Wolf? A neon blue Kamikaze shot will hit the spot. And, if it’s rimmed with Pop Rocks? Rad, I know.
4. The 90s: Wine Cooler Cocktail
The 90s will always be remembered for many things. To me, they’ll be remembered as the kind of decade that saw nothing wrong with doing something like the Wine Cooler Cocktail to a perfectly innocent glass of wine. I joke, of course…there’s actually nothing better you can do with many glasses of standard white than emphasize their light, bright fruitiness and give them a bit of extra zing.
The 00’s: Millennium Cocktail
After all that cocktail tomfoolery, thank goodness cocktail master Dale Degroff was around to dream up this beautiful libation to ring in the New Millenium. The garnish, a flamed orange zest, adds depth and complexity to the cocktail.
Flaming orange peel? Why, yes. Flaming orange peel is one of those things that look mysterious and impressive, until you do it yourself and realize exactly how easy it is.
First, use a wide vegetable peeler or long paring knife to slice off a good sized chunk of peel (you want just the skin, though, and little of the bitter white pith).
Then, using a long match or a lighter, warm it lightly. This will make the essential oils come to the surface, which is what you’re actually going to be setting on fire.
Then the moment of truth. Working over the cocktail (you want to catch all those delicious bits of aroma!), hold the flame between the drink and the peel, and then squeeze the peel sharply, rolling it between your fingers. You really need to squeeze it hard enough so the oil shoots out in a little mist, which the flame will then ignite in a spectacular display that never ceases to amaze the uninitiated. (Note: practice safety with this. The ER is no fun for anyone on NYE!)
Hope you enjoyed this “Cocktail Walk Down Memory Lane”! Happy New Year!
Michelle Palm created the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen blog after discovering a lack of cocktail-style jelly shot recipes. Look for her posts here, and check her Tablespoon member profile often to see what she’s already gelled up!