It's traditional to ring in the New Year with a glass of bubbly, and if you're celebrating with just a handful of people then it might be worth busting out a fancy bottle of Champagne (or the best Cava or Prosecco). But sparkling wine can get expensive quickly, so if you're hosting a party you'll probably want to go for something a little cheaper. That's where cocktails come in—once you cut the wine with booze and mixers, you can't taste the different between an expensive bottle and a cheap one. If you want to toast the New Year with delicious drinks that won't break the bank, check out our 19 favorite sparkling cocktail recipes.
This classic drink is, without a doubt, the most elegant cocktail to ever be named after a piece of heavy artillery. It's made by spiking sparkling wine with herbal gin, tart lemon juice, and a little sugar. The drink is perfectly balanced, with the liquor and sugar making it just strong and sweet enough.
Silver Daisy (Sparkling Rum Cocktail)
The French 75 is ripe for variation. This slightly tiki-inspired version will take you out of the cold grip of winter and momentarily transport you to a tropical island with its lightly aged rum, freshly squeezed lime juice, and orange curaçao. A couple of drops of Angostura bitters give the drink just a touch of spice.
A Minnesota Good-Bye (Cranberry French 75)
This recipe takes a little more effort than a typical French 75, but the results are worth it. We start with sparkling wine, gin, and grapefruit juice, then add a homemade spiced cherry cordial flavored with cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, and cloves. The cordial can be made several weeks in advance and can also be served with club soda and a squeeze of citrus juice.
Bellissimo Aceto (Lambrusco-Amaro Cocktail)
There's more to sparkling wine than white varieties like Champagne and Prosecco—this twist on the French 75 is made with a dry red Lambrusco. To complement the wine's bold, fruity flavor we turn to caramelly, bittersweet Amaro Lucano, fresh mint, and just a dash of white balsamic vinegar.
Salzburg 75 (Grapefruit Radler French 75 Variation)
This drink strays further away from a traditional French 75, as it isn't made with wine at all. Instead we use Stiegl-Radler Grapefruit, a canned beer-and-grapefruit-soda combination. The light radler is kicked up with gin and lemon juice to make an extremely refreshing cocktail as tasty at brunch as it is on New Year's Eve.
Tangy Cranberry-Black Pepper Shrub Cocktail
If you're committed to drinking until (at least) midnight, then you really should try to pace yourself. This cocktail doesn't have any hard liquor—we mix the sparkling wine with a sweet-tart cranberry-black pepper shrub instead. The drink is well-suited to entertaining because the shrub can be made in advance.
Sparkling Lemon-Suze Pitcher Cocktail
Suze is a floral, citrusy, bittersweet French aperitif perfect for fans of Lillet. Mixed with wine and a lemon-sage syrup, it makes for another light cocktail that won't knock you out before the New Year arrives. The syrup can be made a week in advance and can be mixed with the Suze on the 30th, minimizing the work you have to do on New Year's Eve.
Sparkling Apple Sherry Cocktail
This one's for apple lovers—it combines apple brandy and muddled fresh apples with nutty oloroso sherry and citrusy Mandarine Napoléon liqueur. Mandarine Napoléon probably isn't a standard part of your home bar—feel free to substitute it with Grand Marnier. The drink gets topped with a few ounces of Prosecco.
Legend has it that the Negroni Sbagliato was invented when a bartender was making a Negroni and absent-mindedly reached for a bottle of sparkling wine instead of gin—sbagliato is the Italian word for "bungled" or "mistaken." The story sounds apocryphal to me, but that doesn't change the fact that sparkling wine is a lovely partner for Campari and vermouth.
Spiced Cranberry Rum Fizz
There's more to cranberry cocktails than overly sweet Cosmos and vodka cranberries. This drink treats the fruit right, mixing tangy, unsweetened 100% cranberry juice with white rum. Orange zest and fresh ginger make the cocktail taste a little like cranberry sauce—I mean that in a good way.
Sparkling Pomegranate Caipirinha
Brazil's answer to the daiquiri, the caipirinha swaps out rum in favor of sugarcane-based cachaça and uses whole lime pieces instead of just lime juice. It's an intense cocktail, one that we tame slightly with pomegranate juice and fizzy sparkling wine.
Chamomile and Tangerine Sparkling Cocktail for Two
I'm usually skeptical of floral cocktails—bad ones make me feel like I'm drinking perfume. This one, though, works wonderfully well. The herbal gin and floral chamomile are offset nicely by tangerine juice and tart white balsamic vinegar.
Charred Lemon Gin Sparkler
Lemon juice is one of the most common cocktail ingredients around, but I bet you haven't had it like this. Searing lemons in a skillet gives them a much deeper flavor and tames their harsh bite. We like to use the complex charred-lemon juice with woodsy rosemary and gin—go with something botanical-rich like Botanivore from St. George Spirits.
Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria With Lillet Rosé
Sangria probably isn't the first drink you associate with winter, and for good reason—most of the fruits you'd make it with are out of season this time of year. But grapefruits are at their prime right now, so try making this citrusy sangria with grapefruit juice, mint, and bittersweet Lillet Rosé.
This drink looks a lot like the Negroni Sbagliato, with Prosecco, Campari, and sweet vermouth (or quinine-flavored Cocchi Rosa). It comes into its own with a dash of absinthe, which gives it a subtle anise aroma. In addition to the Prosecco, we add club soda for some extra effervescence.
This simple drink combines fresh apple cider, crisp Prosecco, and herbal, honeyed Bénédictine. The result is fruity without being too sweet and is super refreshing. Be sure to use a good cider here—fresh and local is best.
Named after an amusing piece of old American slang, this cocktail spikes sparkling wine with floral St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, tart lemon juice, and gin. We sweeten the drink with thyme syrup—you can make it with any fresh thyme, but use lemon thyme if you can get your hands on it.
The Devereaux from Freemans
The Devereaux keeps the sparkling wine and elderflower liqueur combination going, but replaces the gin with Bulleit bourbon. We also throw in a lemon's worth of juice to brighten it up and a standard simple syrup for sweetness.
Sparkling Jungle Bird
Made with Campari, rum, lime, and fresh pineapple, the Jungle Bird is a tiki classic. We give this variation a complex richness by roasting the pineapple, which we then infuse into aged rum (along with lime zest and juice). We mix the infused rum with dark rum and Campari, then finish with a splash of sparkling wine.