Life Food

Toasting year's end: Perfect New Year's Eve cocktails

By Rita DeMontis, Toronto Sun

Christmas has come and gone, and now we're gearing up for the party of the year. New Year's Eve can be a big blow out affair, or a handful of close friends or just yourself with a good book and a celebratory drink.

However you choose to celebrate, always remember to be responsible and please don't drink and drive.

And enjoy the following cocktails (that are good all winter long.)

- Many cocktails call for Simple Syrup, which is combining equal parts sugar with water, boiling and cooling.

- Fancy cocktails calls for infusions of flavours (like herbs and spices) into the simple syrup.

- The following cocktail recipes use mostly ounces (oz.) for measurement - 1 oz., equals 2 Tbsp./30mL

HOLIDAY EGGNOG

Recipe courtesy Baileys

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 Tbsp. (60mL) caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150mL) Baileys Original Irish Cream (or similar)
  • 2 1/4 cups (310mL) milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • Cinnamon stick, cocoa powder

Beat eggs together in a bowl with caster sugar, making sure caster sugar is completely dissolved and liquid is smooth or your eggnog will taste grainy. Add Baileys, milk and split vanilla pod to bowl. Whisk vigorously until everything is combined to form a silky liquid.

Strain eggnog and remove vanilla pod.Take four short, glass tumblers and pour a good measure of liquid into each glass. Finish with a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

Serves 4.

PUNCH

Recipe courtesy Captain Morgan

  • 1 -1/2 oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum (or favourite spiced rum)
  • 2 oz. pomegranate juice
  • 1 oz. apple cider
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • orange wheels, applie slices and pomegranate seeds

Combine all ingredients in a punch glass. Add ice and stir well to blend. Garnish with a mixture of orange wheels, apple slices or pomegranate seeds (NOTE: you can freeze pomegranate seeds in ice cubes and use in drink.)

Serves 1.

THE DASHER

Created by Toronto bartenders Zak Doy from Rushlane and Kris Bahamondes from The Drake: together they're known as the Wizards of the West

  • 1 1/2 oz. Woodford Reserve (or favourite bourbon whiskey)
  • 1/2 oz. Pimento Dram (a rum-based liqueur made with an allspice)
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 egg white

Add alcohol, pimento dram, simple syrup, lemon juice and egg white to a mixing tin or shaker. Seal and shake once to begin frothing process. Open and fill with ice before shaking again. Strain out ice and shake for a third and final time. Double strain into chilled coupe glass.

Serves 1.

HOT TODDY

Recipe courtesy Bacardi Rum

  • 1 oz. rum
  • 1 oz. unfiltered apple juice
  • 3/4 oz cinnamon syrup
  • 1 tsp. (5mL) lemon juice
  • thin apple slices
  • cloves

Blend all ingredients together, heat up and serve into a coffee mug. Garnish with 2 thin apple slices and cloves.

Serves 1.

GINGERBERRY PUNCH

Recipe courtesy Bacardi Rum (Bacardirum.com.)

  • 1 oz. rum
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice cocktail
  • 2 oz. ginger ale
  • 1 tsp. (5mL) lime juice
  • 1 tsp. (5mL) lemon juice
  • 10 dashes of Orange Bitters
  • lime (garnish)
  • fresh cranberries (garnish)

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl with a large ice block. Stir gently. Garnish with lime and cranberries.

Serve on the rocks.

Serves 1.

EGGNOG

Recipe courtesy Bacardi Rum

  • 2 oz. rum (Bacardi Maestro de Ron, suggested but also use your favourite)
  • 3 oz. store-bought eggnog
  • 1 oz. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. (5mL) Simple Syrup
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. (5mL) vanilla extract
  • whipped Cream
  • grated cinnamon

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass.

Garnish with whipped cream and grated cinnamon.

Serves 1.

DECADENCE IN ORGANIC CHOCOLATE

The iconic  Green&Black's Organic chocolate recently celebrated 25 years of making this organic and fair trade chocolate, and they marked the occasion by partnering with mixologist Frankie Solarik, co-owner of Toronto's internationally acclaimed BarChef and author of The Bar Chef - A Modern

Approach to Cocktails, who created an array of awesome cocktails perfect for the holiday season. "The holidays are the ideal time for richer, more luxurious cocktails, and chocolate is the perfect ingredient,'' says

Frankie, offering the following:

SPICED CREAM WITH MINT CHOCOLATE

  • 1-1/2 oz. Canadian rye
  • 1/4 oz. Madeira wine or sherry
  • 1/4 oz. Fernet Branca (or other bitter herbal liqueur)
  • 3/4 oz. maple syrup
  • 1 oz. 10% cream
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 100-gram bar mint dark chocolate

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker tin and shake to aerate egg white. Add ice and shake to chill (about five seconds), fine strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with finely grated dark chcolate, star anise and fresh mint.

Serves 1.