If your New Year's Eve plans involve a special someone or a small dinner party, a fancy bottle of Champagne (or the very best Cava or Prosecco) is in order. But if you're hosting a huge party, you probably don't want to spring for high-end bubbles for everyone. And one of the best ways to make use of cheaper fizz is to incorporate it as an ingredient in a flavorful cocktail.
Ingredients like cranberry juice, absinthe, rum, and even vinegar can punch up your so-so sparkling wine in a concoction that'll have everyone feeling festive. Here are 16 of our favorite recipes to help you ring in the New Year in style.
Tangy Cranberry-Black Pepper Shrub Cocktail
New Year's Eve can be a long night of drinking, so it's good to pace yourself. This festive cocktail has no alcohol besides the sparkling wine—instead of booze, it's spiked with a sweet-tart shrub made with tangy cranberries, apple cider vinegar, and black pepper. The shrub can be made well in advance, relieving a little party-hosting stress.
If you've never had this classic drink, you've just discovered your New Year's resolution. It's a lively mix of sparkling wine, herbal gin, tart lemon juice, and a little sugar, and it just might become your new house cocktail.
Sparkling Lemon-Suze Pitcher Cocktail
If you like Lillet, you'll love floral, citrusy, bittersweet Suze. It's the key ingredient in this refreshing, lemony cocktail that pairs it with woodsy sage. All together, this make-ahead drink emphasizes the best qualities of your sparkling wine—even if you didn't buy something fancy.
Sparkling Apple Sherry Cocktail
You can't drink a caramel apple dipped in nuts, but this cocktail will get you close to it, thanks to toasty oloroso sherry, potent apple brandy, fruity Prosecco, and muddled fresh apples, all sweetened with juicy Mandarine Napoléon liqueur. If you can't find Mandarine Napoléon, you can substitute Grand Marnier or a good dry orange curaçao, such as Pierre Ferrand.
A classic Negroni is made with bitter Campari, rich sweet vermouth, and juniper-laced gin. It's a forceful drink that demands your full attention. A Negroni Sbagliato takes that formula and breaks it a little—sbagliato is the Italian word for "bungled" or "mistaken." But make no mistake: The Campari and vermouth are wonderful together when mixed with sparkling wine instead of gin.
Fizzy Ginger Cocktail With Pickled Watermelon Rind
This drink comes with its own snack: watermelon rind that's been pickled in apple cider vinegar with spices. The tangy pickle sets off the heat from a fresh ginger infusion (it's easy to make, we promise). A dollop of dry vermouth rounds out the flavor, adding a delicate floral and herbal note that's carried through with a pour of bubbly Prosecco.
Spiced Cranberry Rum Fizz
Cranberry drinks are often sweet and weakly flavored, but this one starts with tangy, unsweetened 100% cranberry juice. It brings in orange zest and fresh ginger for a combo that's reminiscent of the best possible Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, spiked with white rum. You'll prep a big pitcher of the drink mix in advance, then just add sparkling wine to each serving at your New Year's Eve bash.
Sparkling Pomegranate Caipirinha
The Caipirinha is a bit like a Daiquiri, except that it uses sugarcane-based cachaça instead of rum, and whole lime pieces instead of just the juice. It's a bold, tangy, and husky drink, even more so when gussied up with ruby-red pomegranate and festive sparkling wine.
Chamomile and Tangerine Sparkling Cocktail for Two
Floral cocktails can often be unpleasantly perfume-y, but this one is perfectly balanced. The chamomile pairs up nicely with herbal gin, offset by tangy tangerine juice and a hit of bright, tart white balsamic vinegar.
Charred Lemon Gin Sparkler
You've almost certainly used raw lemon in cocktails before, but how about charred lemon? Searing lemon halves in a skillet mellows their bite and deepens their flavor. For this cocktail, we pair the charred-lemon juice with piney rosemary and a botanical-rich gin, like St. George Botanivore.
Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria With Lillet Rosé
Many of the fruits you'd usually put in sangria aren't great come winter, but don't despair. This citrusy version is wonderfully flavorful thanks to fresh grapefruit juice, bright mint, and bittersweet Lillet Rosé.
A little absinthe adds a haunting, herbal, anise-tinged flavor to this fizzy drink, inspired by the Negroni Sbagliato.
The herbal, honeyed flavors of Bénédictine make fresh apple cider and crisp, fruity Prosecco taste like they were made for each other.
You can use any fresh thyme in this cocktail, but lemon thyme is especially nice when paired with sparkling wine, tart lemon juice, gin, and elderflower liqueur.
The Devereaux from Freemans
Many sparkling wine cocktails call for gin, but if you're not into juniper, you have other options. This winner is made with Bulleit bourbon—plus elderflower liqueur and lemon—lending the drink a rich sweetness.
Sparkling Jungle Bird
The Jungle Bird is a classic tiki drink made with Campari, rum, lime, and fresh pineapple. This version mixes things up a little by adding sparkling wine and infusing the rum with the pineapple and lime. Roasting the pineapple before infusing it gives the drink a complex richness.