Home for the Holiday

Home for the Holiday

This New Year’s Eve, many of us will be drinking at home—especially after 10 p.m., when COVID restrictions will close local restaurants.

To lift our spirits and get us to midnight, five of those restaurants have shared elevated cocktail recipes we can make at home—because, while good cocktails can’t wish us a happy new year, they can definitely give us a happy New Year’s.

Mother Wolf G&T
This twist on a gin and tonic at modern Indian spot Sherkaan stars a flavor that’s overlooked for New Year’s even though it peaks this time of year: tart, sweet, juicy, heavenly grapefruit. Incorporating grapefruit liqueur, grapefruit bitters and a slice or two of the fruit itself means the G in this G&T needs to have “presence,” bar curator Roger Gross says. Enter Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, which offers an “incredible value” and a “nice, pungent” flavor that can fit into this crowd without getting lost in it. Prioritizing balance over intensity, the Mother Wolf, which is available in the form of a one-stop takeout kit, is “super refreshing” and super drinkable.

1.5 oz Uncle Val’s Botanical
0.5 oz Giffard Pamplemousse
2-3 dashes Bitter Truth grapefruit bitters
Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic

Fill glass about halfway with ice. Add gin, liqueur and bitters. Swirl with bar spoon for 5-10 seconds. Add tonic to your desired proportion or wash line. Garnish with fresh grapefruit.

The Smoke Show
“Here at Owl Shop,” Kyle Zimmerman says, “we like to make sure you have plenty of booze in front of you.” Featuring 3.5 ounces of three kinds of booze—four if you count the absinthe-soaked lemon peel garnish, which, during a don’t-try-this-at-home moment, Zimmerman lit on fire and plunged into the freshly filled flute glass below—The Smoke Show is no exception. Tobacco notes in its base of single-malt scotch honor The Owl Shop’s unique status as a bar-slash-cigar lounge. Lemon juice and a bitter amaro with “lots of citrus notes” fill the upper register, while a healthy dose of Prosecco supplies a sense of celebration.

1.5 oz Laphroaig Select
1.5 oz prosecco
0.5 oz Gran Classico
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
1 pull Butterfly Pea Flower Extract
1 pull Liberation Redeye Bitters

Combine scotch, amaro, lemon juice, extract and bitters. Vigorously shake (or, if necessary, stir) with ice. Add prosecco. Strain over flute glass. Garnish with absinthe-soaked lemon peel.

Soul Mojito
Michael Iamele, general manager of Soul de Cuba, says that in Cuba itself, rum and Coke is the drink of choice on New Year’s Eve. But while we in the States see rum and Coke as an anyday drink, a mojito—especially the restaurant’s Soul Mojito—is a “special treat, something that people don’t make every day of the year, and a good way to kick off 2021.” To make it even more special for New Year’s, Iamele suggests a fruitier, boozier variant he calls a Mojito 21, which adds an ounce of guava juice early in the process and replaces the club soda with champagne. And if you’re short on time, you can cut down on prep with bottles of Soul de Cuba’s new, all-natural Soul Mojito Mix.

2 oz white rum
4 oz club soda
1/2 lime, quartered
1 tbsp sugar
5-7 mint leaves

Vigorously muddle sugar, lime and mint in a 14-16oz glass. (Or use 1.5 oz Soul Mojito Mix.) Fill same glass to the top with ice. Add rum, then soda. Pass 2-3 times between two glasses, or stir. Do not shake. Garnish with mint sprig and lime wheel.

For the Mojito 21: Add 1 oz of guava juice prior to the ice, and substitute champagne for soda.

Dusk Till Dawn
Christine Puglisi, assistant manager of Westville’s stylish Mexican street food spot Camacho Garage, describes the on-menu Dusk Till Dawn as a party drink you can sip until the ball drops—or beyond. A cinnamon-infused simple syrup “softens” a backbone of bourbon, she says, without silencing its vanilla and caramel tones. Meanwhile, a lingering dark chocolate finish demands the sweet resolution that can only come with another swig.

2 oz Basil Hayden’s
0.75 oz homemade cinnamon simple syrup
3-4 dashes chocolate bitters

Combine ingredients in mixing glass. Stir well with ice. Strain into fresh glass over fresh ice, preferably one large cube. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

To make your own cinnamon simple syrup: Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and add equal part sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Add cinnamon sticks. Remove from heat and cover. Let cool up to six hours. Remove cinnamon sticks.

The Last Word
The Last Word is getting the last word in our list and, quite possibly, our 2020. Much like this past year can be viewed as a series of psych tests and pulse checks, 116 Crown owner John Ginnetti sees The Last Word as a “barometer drink.” If a bar offers it on the menu or a bartender knows how to make it, then, Ginnetti says, “that checks a box for me.” But it’s also an “ancient drink,” whose brand of gin and, to a lesser extent, proportions are open to interpretation. So The Last Word’s maker has to first make some choices, which then tell an expert drinker and mixologist like Ginnetti something about them. No matter the choices, this is a drink you’re going to feel, as three of the four ingredients, led by 110-proof Chartreuse, contain considerable amounts of alcohol. Ginnetti touts the balance and aromatic quality of 116 Crown’s version as well as the inherent booziness of this sturdy yellow-green concoction. “If you’re going to drink a drink,” he thinks, “you should know you’re drinking a drink.”

1.5 oz Hendrick’s (or your preferred) gin
1.5 oz Chartreuse
1 oz Luxardo Maraschino
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

Combine and vigorously shake (or, in a pinch, whisk) all ingredients with ice. Double strain into pre-chilled glass. Serve straight up and consume “achingly” cold.

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Written by Dan Mims. Image 1 photographed by Winter Caplanson and provided courtesy of Sherkaan. Image 2 provided courtesy of Soul de Cuba. Image 3 photographed by Jimi Patterson and provided courtesy of 116 Crown.

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