Note from Alisa: the following post was written by Nathaniel Stiers, co-producer of a killer NYE party happening at Fulton 55 (with an awesome cocktail bar upstairs) and co-founder of Good Fortune, a social collective specializing in pop-up events that cater to the urban explorer. However, if you’re planning to host your own party, this is the post for you!
Stock your New Year’s bar off right!
Stocking a home bar doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. With a few simple tools and the right choice of spirits, you can concoct many classic cocktails that will elevate your guests’ experience and alleviate the bore of offering them soda and water.
The holidays always bring their own stress, and entertaining guests for New Year’s Eve may very well top the list. You only get one chance to make New Year’s memorable and I was asked to help simplify things by preparing a stress free drink menu that will send you and yours into the new year with a bang!
• Boston Shaker
• Hawthorne Strainer
• Silicone Ice Trays
• Bar Spoon
The right tools always make a job easier, and crafting an exceptional drink is no different. Now, you may be tempted to run out to the store and buy some holiday bar set in a box but let me stop you right there. While a lot of those gift sets may seem like they have everything you need, they are often impractical and ﬁlled with poor quality tools, many of which you may never use.
Most drinks are shaken or stirred, some are built in the glass. Obviously we’ll need something to shake in and something to stir in. Normally I would suggest getting a two tin setup (28oz weighted shaker and an 18oz weighted shaker which you can purchase here. But to keep things simple and multifunctional I’ll recommend a standard Boston Shaker (a weighted tin and mixing glass combo). With the Boston shaker you can make shaken drinks and use the clear pint glass for stirring manhattans and martinis.
Get your weighted tin here and use any standard pint glass. I get mine at Cost Plus for two bucks. You’ll also want to pick up a hawthorne strainer and a jigger. I’m quite fond of the items made by OXO, the strainer is handleless making it easier to use and the jigger has incremental measurements making it the only tool you need to measure perfect drinks! You’ll want to pick up a bar spoon and a muddler. If you can ﬁnd it, get a muddler without teeth.
When making cocktails, one of the most overlooked ingredients is the ice. The ice you choose can really make or break a drink. While bagged party ice will do for most soft drink we really want to avoid this type of ice for cocktails, it’s a softer ice thats surface area allows it to melt too quickly and over-dilute your drinks. I recommended purchasing silicone ice molds. The ones made by Tovolo are great and you can usually ﬁnd them at Target, a Home Goods store or a kitchenware store like Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table. You’ll want at least 2-2.5” cubes. I do like the Tovolo’s perfect cubes for shaking drinks and drinks served over several ice cubes. You can use your freezer’s standard cubes for shaking, just be sure to shake for a shorter amount of time.
• Beefeater London Dry Gin
• Rittenhouse Rye
• Dry Champagne
• Goslings Ginger Beer
• Angostura Bitters
• Simple Syrup
I was tempted to create a menu that featured spices and apples and other seasonal themes but keeping in mind the holidays are stressful enough as it is, I opted for a more classic list of cocktails that are easy enough for the novice to execute perfectly each time.
2oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 Sugar Cube
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
In an Old Fashioned glass, place the sugar cube and soak it with two dashes of angostura bitters. Muddle the sugar cube until it is dissolved (this may take some time due to the high alcohol content in the bitters – feel free to add about a tsp of water to help). Add 2oz Rittenhouse Rye, continue to stir or muddle until there is a very little sugar visible in the glass. Add one large 2-2.5” Ice cube. Express the lemon twist over the drink and lightly wipe the oils around the rim. Stand the twist up along the side of the drink for easy removal.
2oz Beefeater London Dry Gin
1oz Fresh Lime Juice
5 Mint Leaves
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
In a cocktail shaker, gently muddle the mint. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime.
1 1/2oz Beefeater Gin
3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
Shake all ingredients, except the champagne, in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a ﬂute and top with champagne, garnish with a lemon twist.
This next one isn’t a classic but it’s my own spec that was inspired by a play on the Dark and Stormy and America’s favorite hunk. Ryan Gosling’s going to look dapper this New Year’s and you can too by mixing up this drink for your guests.
Rye n’ Goslings
1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
6 oz Goslings Ginger Beer
In a ﬁzz or collins glass add Rittenhouse Rye and simple. Add three to four 1” ice cubes and stir. Top with 6oz Goslings Ginger Beer and garnish with a lime wedge and a mint bouquet.
I kept it simple, but you should now have all the tools you need to start building out your bar. With the ingredients I’ve listed, you can also make: a Gimlet, a French 95, a Kentucky Mule, or grab an egg and make some whiskey sours. If you add rum and sweet vermouth to your collection, you can make some killer Daiquiris (JFK’s favorite) and Manhattans. Grab some dry vermouth and you’ve got yourself a classic Gin martini.
I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.
Here’s to good feelings and a Happy New Year!!!
If you feel like going out for NYE, you’re invited to Catacomb Party Presents NYE ’69 at Fulton 55. I’ll make you one of my signature drinks! Visit catacombparty.com for more details.