A Happy 2015 Cocktail

It’s New Year’s Eve. The one night of the year when tradition says that you need to break out the cheap bubbly wine and raise a glass to the fact that you survived yet another turning of the world’s odometer. 

And before you get all: “Wait just a damn minute. I like bourbon. I want bourbon. There is very little I like more in this world than bourbon and dammit I’m going to ring in the New Year with bourbon.” Let me reassure you, I’m with you. But, no one but a killjoy would tell you that on New Year’s Eve, you can’t have both. 

In fact, I took it upon myself to come up with at least one way you might want to try to combine them into one glass. This specific recipe uses the Cranberry Apple Shrub I made from the Shrubs book I reviewed a couple weeks ago. But the idea can be adapted much wider.

A Happy 2015 Cocktail

2 oz Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
1 oz Cranberry Apple Shrub
Aromatic bitters (use your favorite, a few dashes, I used 1821 bitters from Atlanta)

  • stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice 
  • pour into a wine glass or wide mouth cocktail glass and top with 3 oz or so of sparkling white wine.

My basic idea here was to use a classic whiskey cocktail as a base and move forward from there. I love a Manhattan so that’s where I started. But I really liked the way that the shrub and bourbon played together. Topping it off with champagne made it a bit more delicate and a bit more fun. The fruit and vinegar flavors in the shrub were easier to pick out, but at the same time subdued enough that they weren't overpowering. 

Could you use vermouth? Orange bitters? Sure! In fact why stop there? Maybe you’re a rye whiskey fan? Maybe mix up a Sazerac and pour it into a absinthe-rinsed cocktail or wine glass and top with sparkling wine. My wife loved this one. I had a cold so I needed to trust her judgement. 

Maybe you are a Canadian whisky or Irish whiskey fan and like the occasional whisky and ginger-ale highball? Make up some ginger syrup, squeeze some lemon juice in there and mix with the whiskey or whisky of your choice. Top that with the bubbly society wants you to consume and enjoy.

The point is to have fun with it. And if you are into this sort of thing, all of these drinks feel just a little bit more sophisticated than that five dollar four-pack of mini bottles of “champagne” that you bought from the liquor store end cap (even though I bought the same stuff when shopping for these).