It's always fun to ring in the New Year with a glass of bubbly. If you're celebrating with just a few other people, it might be worth busting out a fancy bottle of Champagne—or the best Cava, or Prosecco. But good sparkling wine in large quantities can get expensive quickly, so if you're hosting a party, you might want a way to stretch your supply.
That's where sparkling cocktails come in. Once you cut the wine with booze and mixers, there's little detectable difference between an expensive bottle and a cheap one, and the pop and fizz are just as festive. To toast the New Year with delicious drinks that won't break the bank, check out 21 of our favorite sparkling-cocktail recipes below, including a classic French 75 (and several variations), a bittersweet Negroni Sbagliato, and unusual bubbly takes on traditional drinks like the Jungle Bird and caipirinha.
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 combining sparkling wine with herbal gin, tart lemon juice, and a little sugar, for a drink that's perfectly balanced—the proportions of liquor and sugar make it just strong and sweet enough.
If you're in the mood to change things up this New Year's, the French 75 is ripe for variation, as this recipe (and a number of the ones that follow) proves. With its blend of lightly aged rum, freshly squeezed lime juice, and orange curaçao, this slightly tiki-inspired version will take you out of the cold grip of winter and momentarily transport you to a tropical island. A couple of drops of Angostura bitters gives the drink just a touch of spice.
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 you'll likely have some left over; it's great served with club soda and a squeeze of citrus juice for a nonalcoholic refresher.
There's more to sparkling wine than the most common white varieties, like Champagne and Prosecco. This French 75 twist makes use of a well-known red variant, 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 for tartness.
This drink is more of a departure from a traditional French 75 than its cousins above, as it isn't made with wine at all. Instead, we use Austrian Stiegl-Radler Grapefruit, a canned beer-and-grapefruit-soda combination. The light radler is kicked up with gin and lemon juice to make an incredibly refreshing cocktail, one that's as tasty at brunch any time of year as it is on New Year's Eve.
If you're committed to drinking until (at least) midnight on New Year's, then it's a good idea to pace yourself with lighter concoctions. This cocktail, for instance, doesn't contain any hard liquor—we mix the sparkling wine with a sweet-tart cranberry–black pepper shrub instead. The drink is well suited to entertaining, since the shrub can be made far in advance.
Suze is a floral, citrusy, bittersweet French aperitif that's perfect for fans of Lillet. Mixed with sparkling wine and a lemon-sage syrup, it's another light cocktail that won't knock you out before midnight arrives. The syrup can be made up to a week in advance and can be mixed with the Suze on the 30th, minimizing the work you'll have to do on New Year's Eve.
This one's for the true 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, so feel free to substitute it with Grand Marnier. The drink gets topped off 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.
There's more to cranberry cocktails than overly sweet Cosmos and vodka-cranberries. This (partly) make-ahead pitcher 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, in a good way, and the whole thing gets topped off with sparkling wine right before serving.
Brazil's answer to the daiquiri, the caipirinha swaps out rum in favor of cachaça and uses whole lime pieces instead of just lime juice. It's an intense cocktail, one that we tame here slightly with pomegranate juice and fizzy sparkling wine, resulting in a pretty and festive drink for New Year's.
I'm usually skeptical of floral cocktails, since badly made 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, and the addition of sparkling wine makes it just right for a party.
Lemon juice is one of the most common cocktail ingredients around, but I'm willing to 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 combine this complex charred-lemon juice with woodsy rosemary and gin—go with something botanical-rich, like Botanivore from St. George Spirits.
Sangria probably isn't the first drink you associate with winter, since most of the fruits you'd make it with are out of season this time of year. But grapefruit is at its prime right now, and who doesn't love sangria at a party? That's reason enough to try making this citrusy sangria with grapefruit juice, mint, and bittersweet Lillet Rosé topped off with Cava.
This drink looks a lot like a Negroni Sbagliato, with its combination of Prosecco, Campari, and sweet vermouth (or quinine-flavored Cocchi Rosa). But it comes into its own when you add a dash of absinthe, which gives it a subtle anise aroma. Besides 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 but not too sweet, and it's super refreshing. Be sure to use a good-quality cider here—fresh and local is best.
Named after an amusing piece of old American slang, this cocktail spikes sparkling wine with floral St-Germain elderflower liqueur, tart lemon juice, and gin. We sweeten the drink with a thyme-infused syrup—you can make it with any variety of fresh thyme, but use lemon thyme if you can get your hands on it.
The Devereaux also relies on the time-honored combination of sparkling wine and elderflower liqueur, but replaces the gin in the 23 Skiddoo with Bulleit bourbon. We also throw in a lemon's worth of juice to brighten it up, plus a standard simple syrup for sweetness.
Made with Campari, rum, lime, and fresh pineapple, the Jungle Bird is a tiki classic. We give this bubbly variation a complex richness by roasting the pineapple, which we then infuse into aged rum, along with lime zest and juice. The infused rum is mixed with dark rum (yes, double the rum!) and Campari, then finished with a splash of sparkling wine.
This sweet, spiced cocktail doesn't get its bubbles from any sort of wine or Champagne. Instead, aged rum is combined with apple cider (whether it's from the orchard, farmers market, or refrigerator aisle) and chilled sparkling apple cider. Garnishing the cocktail with a star anise pod and an apple chip gives this simple yet delicious drink the flourish it needs to impress.
It may sound really out there to use sesame oil in a cocktail, but this fantastic drink, created by Ran Duan of the Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden in Woburn, Massachusetts, turns out delicately spicy, tart, and just subtly savory. Fresh ginger juice and plain club soda keep the rich and smoky mezcal in check for a drink that's complex and refreshing.
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