New Year’s Cocktails

    New Year's cheer courtesy of some of the best bartenders out there...may this coming year be your best ever!


    From the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz, Paris

    Typically, the Sidecar at the Ritz Hotel in Paris – home of the original – costs a pretty penny, as the bartenders there use an 1865 Ritz Reserve cognac which is exclusive to the hotel. However, it’s not everyday that you have 800 Euros at your disposal for a cocktail, so I’ve modified the recipe.

    The Hemingway Bar
    Hôtel Ritz Paris
    15, Place de Vendôme
    Paris, France

    The Everyman’s Sidecar

    For One Cocktail:

    • 2 ounces nice cognac
    • ½ ounce Cointreau
    • juice of half a lemon
    • twist of lime

    Shake the cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice hard in shaker with LOTS of ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with the twist of lime.

    From Jim Meehan of PDT

    PDT (or Please Don’t Tell) is found underground and through a phonebooth at the hot dog joint, Crif Dogs in the East Village in Manhattan. Once in, you're transported into what feels like a prohibition era speakeasy - dark, mysterious and rife with taxidermy. The added plus here is that you can order gourmet hot dogs that have as much of a twist as the drinks. Jim Meehan, the man behind the bar, concocts potions that are “seasonal, classic inspired, balanced, sessionable.”

    113 Saint Marks Place
    New York, NY 10009
    (212) 614-0386

    Cranberry Cobbler

    From the PDT bar menu: Cranberries are the last seasonal berries available before winter settles into the Northeast. Around Thanksgiving, we decided to use ours to make a classic cobbler, fortified with English gin and a historic style of off-dry Sherry.

    For One Cocktail:

    • 1 orange wheel
    • 1 lemon wedge
    • ½ ounce Cranberry Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
    • 2 ounces Beefeater Gin
    • ¾ ounce Lustau East India Sherry
    • 4 macerated cranberries (leftover from Cranberry Simple Syrup)
    • mint sprig

    Muddle the orange, lemon and syrup in the bottom of a shaker. Add the gin, sherry and a handful of ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with the cranberries and mint. (Jim Meehan/Michael Madrusan, 2007)

    Cranberry Simple Syrup

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
    • 3 ounces Beefeater Gin

    Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan set over high heat. Add the cranberries and cook over medium heat until the cranberries start to split. Remove from the heat, stir in the gin and cool. This mixture can stay in the fridge for a couple of weeks. When you’re ready to use it, strain the syrup, reserving the cranberries for garnish.

    Green Deacon

    Jim says this is based on the Rosy Deacon, a classic cocktail from the Stan Jones’ Complete Bar Guide. Upon sampling it, a friend suggested he “round it out” which is when the absinthe came in. As he puts it, “The Green Fairy did the rest.”

    For One Cocktail:

    • 1 ounce grapefruit juice
    • 1½ ounces Plymouth gin
    • ¾ ounce Plymouth sloe gin
    • a splash of St. George Absinthe

    Shake the grapefruit juice and the gins together in a shaker with plenty of ice. Strain into a coupe glass that’s been rinsed with the absinthe.

    From Eric Alperin of The Varnish, Los Angeles

    Eric Alperin built and co-owns this cocktail lounge in downtown LA which just opened on February 24th of this year. Another hidden bar, this one’s located inside of Cole's restaurant through a secret door at the back. The vibe here is intimate and the drinks are crafted by expert bartenders including Eric himself. Order a sandwich to go at the restaurant and then make your way into the bar.

    The Varnish
    118 East 6th Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90014
    (213) 622-9999

    The Irish Meow

    Like a White Russian that is feeling a touch of the Irish and ready for the holiday festivities to begin.

    For One Cocktail:

    • dash Aztec Chocolate Bitters
    • ¼ ounce Licor 43
    • ¼ ounce Zerbenz Pine Liqueur or a high quality coffee liquer
    • ½ ounce Dolan Blanc Vermouth
    • 2 ounces Powers Irish Whiskey
    • a spoonful of whipped cream
    • a few gratings of high quality dark chocolate

    Stir everything but the cream and chocolate together with a few ice cubes and then strain into a chilled coupe glass. Gently spoon on the whipped cream and garnish the chocolate.

    The Late Night Orange Reviver

    Created in a fit of exactly what the title calls for...

    For One Cocktail:

    • 1 ounce fresh espresso
    • 1 ounce Grand Marnier Centennaire
    • a spoonful of freshly whipped cream

    Stir the liqueur into the espresso directly in the cup you’ve pulled the espresso shot in. Dollop with the whipped cream and serve. Perfect after dinner, a liquid cupcake.

    From Shana Street of Church & State, Los Angeles

    I’ve raved about Church & State on goop before for it’s mind-blowing drinks and delectable food. It looks like the drinks here have come to a whole new level of amazingness judging by the recipes bartender Shana Street has shared. Owner Yassmin Sarmadi tells me it was the “Raising the Bar” mixology competition in LA that really got them thinking outside the box (or the glass). Below are two wintry cocktails and a bonus - The Strumble, winner of the competition.

    Church & State
    1850 Industrial St
    Los Angeles, CA 90021
    (213) 405-1434

    Not Your Grandma’s Apple Pie

    An inventive update of a childhood favorite; now it's a grownup cocktail in a glass brimming with nostalgia.

    For One Cocktail:

    • 4 slices of baked apple (cut an apple into eighths; bake with butter, cinnamon and sugar at 320°F for 25 minutes)
    • ¾ ounce apple cider
    • 1 ounce Licor 43
    • 2 ounces Elijah Craig 12-Year Bourbon
    • freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg for serving

    For Glass Rim: Chill in refrigerator before serving.

    Muddle the apple slices with the cider in the bottom of a shaker. Add the Licor 43, bourbon and a handful of ice. Shake long and hard. Strain into prepared cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

    Crémant A La Poire

    This has been a favorite on Church & State's cocktail list and will be great through early winter when pears are in season.

    For One Cocktail:

    • 4 bar spoons of pear puree
    • ½ ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled together until sugar is dissolved)
    • ¾ ounce Lillet Blanc
    • 2 ounces Silver Tequila
    • splash of sparkling white wine
    • 1 thin slice fresh pear

    Shake everything but the wine and pear together in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the sparkling wine and garnish with a slice of pear.

    The Strumble

    The inventive winner of the LA wide “Raising the Bar” competition.

    For One Cocktail:

    • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
    • 3/8 oz simple syrup
    • 3/8 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur crushed ice, as needed
    • a few strawberries, muddled
    • a few dashes peach bitters

    Stir together the lemon juice, syrup and liquer in a rocks glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice and top with the strawberries and bitters.

    From Gwyneth: The Best Dirty Martini

    For Two Cocktails:

    • lots of ice
    • 6 ounces of your favorite vodka
    • 1 cap’s worth of extra dry vermouth (I like Martini & Rossi)
    • 1 tablespoon of cocktail olive brine
    • 6 high quality cocktail olives (preferably stuffed with pimentos)

    Fill your shaker with ice and add the vodka, vermouth and olive brine. Close it tightly and shake it for ages until it’s all snowy on the outside. Place 3 olives into the bottom of a martini glass, strain over half of your icy cold mixture and repeat with the remaining olives and mixture in another glass. Give one to a lucky friend.


    New York’s Astor Wines & Spirits is a great source for some of the more obscure ingredients, and they ship! Check them out: In London, Gerry’s has all the hard-to-find ingredients for when you’re in a squeeze.

    The goop collection