Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year’s Eve - Champagne Cocktails

New Year’s Eve celebrations are only a few hours away, and if you’re scrambling for last minute cocktail ideas, let Little Scarlet help you out!

Champagne is the go-to beverage for toasting the New Year, although Italy’s Prosecco and Spain’s Cava are suitable (and less expensive) alternatives. If a plain glass of Champagne doesn’t sound quite exciting enough for you, here are Little Scarlet’s five favorite ways to spice up your New Year’s toast.

  1. Sugar-Cube Champagne
    Adding sugar cubes to Champagne is a classic addition, but Martha Stewart’s fruit-infused sugar cubes complement Champagne’s sweet tanginess and add a jewel-like splash of color.

    To make these, soak the sugar cubes in a bowl of fruit concentrate or puree until completely saturated (cranberry, pomegranate, and apricot are good fruits to begin with, although you can experiment with anything). Remove these cubes with a fork, and place on a wire rack to dry overnight – make sure they don’t touch each other! Add to the champagne right before serving and enjoy.

  2. Ginger Champagne Cocktail
    Antioxidants have become incredibly popular over the last year, and foods rich in these molecules are popping up in foods and drinks everywhere. Ginger is one of my favorite of these foods, and this refreshing cocktail includes both fresh and crystallized ginger.

    Make a simple syrup by boiling ½ cup chopped fresh ginger, 2/3 cup sugar, and ½ cup water until sugar is dissolved. Once the liquid cools, strain the syrup and discard the ginger. Garnish the rims of 8 Champagne flutes with a mixture of ¼ tsp Chinese five-spice powder and 2 tbsp sugar. Add about 1 tbsp syrup and fill with Champagne. For extra elegance, add 1 tsp crystallized ginger and 1 whole star anise to each glass before adding syrup and Champagne.
  3. “Get Loose” Juice
    The juniper berries in gin are reminiscent of evergreens, giving this Champagne punch a distinctive wintry flavor - perfect for New Year’s Eve. In a large bowl, mix together 1 750-ml bottle chilled gin, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, and juice from 12 lemons. Add large hunks of ice and 4 bottles Champagne just before serving.
  4. Cinnamon Cocktail
    This Champagne cocktail is incredibly simple and the cinnamon gives it a subtle warmth that’s perfect for a chilly December evening. Bring 2 cups water to boil with 4 cinnamon sticks; after 10 minutes, remove cinnamon sticks and add 1 ½ cups sugar, boiling until sugar is dissolved. Depending on personal taste, add ½ - 1 tbsp syrup and top with Champagne.
  5. Alternative garnishes
    Strawberries may pair well with Champagne, but Little Scarlet has some more exciting ideas! For a French elegance straight from Provence, add a sprig of lavender to Champagne enhanced with lavender simple syrup (½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, 1 tbsp dried lavender; strain lavender and cool; add about 1 tsp syrup to Champagne). Or to stand out from other cocktails’ lemons and limes, try adding 1 tbsp mandarin liqueur to Champagne and garnish with a twist of Clementine peel.

Of course, Champagne is a lovely indulgence all by itself and needs no further embellishment than good company. Happy New Year, and see you all in 2010!


  1. what great suggestions! i'll be making "get loose" juice tonight :)
    happy new year, little scarlet!

  2. Thanks for the great ideas to jazz up champagne. Sometimes I will add a dash of Chambord to a glass of bubbly. Happy New Year!

  3. We tried out a cocktail that was in a Times article last night, The Benediction. It's Benedictine, Orange Bitters, and Champagne. And this morning it translated to a tiny bit of a hangover...

  4. New year is over but I guess I can have champagne anytime. :)

  5. Wonderful ideas! I can use them year 'round.

  6. Great ideas! I tried also pomegranate juice and bubbles and it worked very well.
    For some suggestions about bubbles, have a look at: