Champagne is what comes to mind when thinking about New Year’s Eve. Or maybe sparkling beverage is more accurate, because the perfect drink for ringing in the New Year is fruity, festive, and fizzy — but not necessarily concocted with straight-up, classic Champagne. When you’re planning your New Year’s cocktails, it’s good to know that there are other players — Prosecco (a sweet Italian wine), Cava (a Spanish version of bubbly), and even plain old seltzer — that can provide that traditional fizzy kick without requiring an expensive bottle of sparkling wine that just happens to be from a very specific region in France.
Actually, the truth is that a great New Year’s Eve cocktail doesn’t have to require any sparkling booze in order to dazzle your guests. Since when does anyone turn their nose up at, say, a kicked-up version of a watermelon rickey or pineapple smoothie? Since never, that’s when. And that’s where vodka comes in handy. But whatever you’re using as the alcohol component in your cocktails, the point is to make the beverage bright and colorful, with bold flavors and cheery touches (playful garnishes, sprigs of rosemary or mint) that will get the New Year started off with a bang.
Punch always makes for a festive beverage, and this Champagne-infused pomegranate punch from Half Baked Harvest is perfectly suited for the holiday season, with its rich color and sprigs of candied rosemary.
2The Brooklyn Beauty
The Crepes of Wrath adapted this tart, pretty drink (it’s garnished with lemon rind and topped off with Prosecco) in homage to a favorite cocktail at a Williamsburg bar.
3Champagne and Grapefruit Punch
You'll want to invest in a punch bowl to show off A Spicy Perspective's beautiful Champagne punch that requires only five ingredients to whip up, including grapefruit juice and Ruby Red Port.
The Comfort of Cooking's homemade Limoncello calls for very few ingredients (basically vodka and lemons) but it does need a bit of foresight. You need to combine the ingredients and shut it all away in a dark place for a week, then add sugar syrup. But then you've got a great addition to a plain old glass of bubbly, plus bragging rights, 'cause you made it yourself.
5Watermelon Vodka Rickey
Mix up a NYE cocktail that's a little off-the-beaten-path with this sweet watermelon vodka rickey from Big Girls, Small Kitchen. It gets its kick from vodka and lots of sparkle from cold seltzer.
6Peach Prosecco Punch
Damn Delicious combines peach nectar, Prosecco, and fresh fruit with this delicious, party-perfect peach Prosecco punch.
7Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco
Damn Delicious's bubbly cocktail makes for a great warm-weather drink, but will also bring sunshine to your New Year's Eve shindig during winter's darkest days. Plus, you can use the homemade limoncello you learned how to make.
8Pineapple Vodka Cocktail
Another drink that uses vodka instead of a standard NYE bubbly, this pineapple cocktail concoction from Big Girls Small Kitchen is sort of like a smoothie-meets-mint-julep.
9Bubbly Champagne Punch
Could a bubbly Champagne punch (courtesy of Foodie Crush) be any more perfect for ringing in the New Year? This one gets twice the fizz from Champagne and ginger ale. Just plan ahead so you can chill it for four hours or overnight.
Images:The Crepes of Wrath; Half Baked Harvest; The Crepes of Wrath; A Spicy Perspective; The Comfort of Cooking; Big Girls Small Kitchen; Damn Delicious; Damn Delicious; Big Girls Small Kitchen; Foodie Crush