Equal parts cocktails: American Royal Zephyr

This cocktail hails from one of my favorite Brooklyn bars, and appropriately enough appears in a new cocktail collection called Brooklyn Bartender. I love that this drink not only contains equal parts whiskey & Lillet, but also equal parts of 3 types of bitters. Score!

American Royal Zephyr

Damon Boelte, Grand Army; as printed in Brooklyn Bartender, by Carey Jones

1 oz bonded bourbon

1 oz Lillet rosé

2 dashes Angostura bitters

2 dashes orange bitters

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Champagne

Combine all ingredients except Champagne in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until well chilled and strain into a coupe. Top with Champagne and garnish with a cherry.

Your ultimate New Year’s Eve cocktail: French 75 Punch

photo credit: Teri Lyn Fisher, for Cocktails for a Crowd

I know, it’s not even Christmas yet. But New Year’s Eve will be here soon enough, so I’m (re-)publishing one of my favorite celebratory punches. (PS, nothing wrong with serving this for Christmas eve either, if you choose.)  Here’s why this is the drink for your New Year’s Eve bash:

1. It’s sparkling, and you know you need something bubbly for toasting at midnight.

2. Between the fancy block of ice and simple orange-wheel slices, It looks great in a punch bowl. But it’s easy to put together and difficult to screw up. If all else fails, just pour in more bubbly.

3. As the ice melts over the course of the evening, the punch mellows a bit, but never waters down (thank you, gin), so the party keeps going until Auld Lang Syne.

French 75 Punch

From Cocktails for a Crowd

Serves 8

Total Volume: 7 3/4 cups (without ice)

The French 75 is a classic cocktail usually made with cognac, though gin is sometimes substituted, and that’s the spirit I call for in this recipe. It typically isn’t served as a punch but works quite well in this format. Serve this fresh, fragrant variation at any occasion that calls for toasting.

A simple chunk of ice, such as one frozen in a loaf pan or bowl will suffice, but for a special, decorative touch, consider freezing orange wheels inside the ice.

16 ounces (2 cups)  London dry gin
8 ounces (1 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces (3/4 cup) simple syrup
1/2 teaspoon orange bitters
32 ounces (4 cups) dry champagne or other sparkling dry white wine, chilled
1 large ice block
8 orange wheels, for garnish

In a punch bowl, combine the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters and stir well.

Just before serving, pour in the champagne and stir gently. Add the ice and garnish with the orange wheels.

To serve, ladle into punch glasses.

Like this recipe? Sign up at The Dizzy Fizz now through Jan 16 for a chance to win a copy of Cocktails for a Crowd.

Drink Recipe: Electric Champagne

If you have champers left over from New Year’s Eve, here is a fun way to torment your friends  enjoy it.

You remember Sechuan Buttons, don’t you? They had a bit of buzz (pun intended!) going a couple of years back.  Esquire Magazine dubbed them the “2007 Cooking Ingredient of the Year.” StarChefs awarded Koppert Cress, who grows and sells  the little yellow buds, a 2008 “Techology and Innovation Award.”  Ferran Adria was an early adopter, using the buttons in a palate-cleansing “electric milk.” 

And in the mixology world, there was that darn Electriquila drink, a margarita-like drink rimmed with a mix of salt & Sechuan buttons, often mistakenly called the Electric Eel. (It’s still on Haru’s “Shocktail” menu.)

In the spirit of the Oscars, the award for Best Description of  the Sechuan Button Experience goes to…NY Barfly:  “like biting down on a jalapeno while brushing your teeth with the vibrating toothbrush on high.”

Just when we’d nearly forgotten those little electric buttons, and even Adria is taking a hiatus, the Electric Champagne recipe below crossed my radar screen.  Though the recipe needed to be rewritten because it omitted, oh, actual instructions, this is surely an innovative use of  any bubbly left from holiday celebrations. 

Electric Champagne 
Courtesy of Koppert Cress
 
4 Koppert Cress Sechuan Buttons
Champagne or other sparkling wine
1 Ripe strawberry, sliced
 
Cut a small slit in each strawberry slice. Crumble the Sechuan Button’s yellow petals and dredge a  strawberry slice to coat. Perch the slice on the edge of a Champagne flute. Fill glass with sparkling wine.  Ask your guests to nibble their “electric strawberries,” feel the tingle, and enjoy.

Drink recipe: Sparkling Ginger Daisy Punch

photo courtesy Marleigh Riggins

So far, the Sparkling Ginger Daisy has proven to be one of the most popular drinks from the Spice & Ice book. I made it at the book launch party; I made a non-alcoholic version of it on TV; and it’s even going to be appearing in a major women’s magazine very shortly (shhh….more on that soon).

And now, it’s also avaiable writ large, in punch format, at the request of clever spirits rep MIchelle Ponto, for a holiday party.  And why not? Punches are everywhere this season (thanks, Dave Wondrich!)

Hmmm. I can’t resist a challenge. It took just a couple of minutes with a measurement converter tool, and a tweak here and there. Voila!

Sparkling Ginger Daisy PUNCH!

 Yield:  enough for 8 guests. Double this recipe for 16 guests (or 8 hard-drinkin’ types)

1 cup Plymouth gin

1 cup Domaine de Canton

1 cup lemon juice

½ cup grenadine (or a little less – some people find the recipe as is a little too pink)

Approx. 2 cups Brut Champagne, Prosecco, or other sparkling wine.

In a large punchbowl, stir together gin, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and grenadine. Add large chunks of ice to keep everything chilled (such as frozen in a round Bundt pan). Add the sparkling wine, and stir again.

Serve with a ladle, and consider keeping a bowl of maraschino cherries next to the punchbowl for guests to garnish their own drinks.