© Alex Negranza.
Sparkling wine is de rigueur on New Year's Eve when party goers salute the year gone by and eagerly toast to doing it all better in the months to come. To make the bubbles go further, hosts can take a lesson from mixologists around the country who are creating delicious and festive effervescent cocktails this season. One of the most delicate examples comes from Seattle's Liberty Bar. Though the crowd there generally skews towards off-duty bartenders who drink brown and boozy drinks, owner Keith Waldbauer created the light and floral Rainy Day Women as an ode to "all pretty things." He starts with house-infused chamomile vodka, adds St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur and orange marmalade and then cuts the sweetness with fresh lemon juice for acidity. "It has to be high quality marmalade. I use Bonne Maman from France," he notes. He then shakes the cocktail and serves it in a lovely coupe glass topped with J. Roget sparkling wine. Here's more inspiration for party-ready sparkling cocktails.
wd~50, New York
At molecular gastronomist Wylie Dufresne’s iconic Lower East Side restaurant, bar manager Kevin Denton honors the restaurant’s whimsical style. For the Pink Panther, he uses a Cryovac machine to infuse vodka with mint then mixes it with guava nectar, lemon juice, simple syrup and vibrant Peychaud’s bitters. Served in a flute and topped with bone-dry cava, the brightly colored cocktail is intended for celebration. wd-50.com
Bar Congress, Austin
Here, the complex, floral Royal Roulette combines Campari, Crème de Violette, hibiscus-infused honey, lemon juice and gingery Creole bitters. It's shaken, strained and topped with cava. congressaustin.com
Twenty Five Lusk, San Francisco
Located in a massive, sleekly redesigned smokehouse, the SOMA restaurant features seasonal cocktails like The Vanilla Charentais. Served in a flute, the drink features rosemary honey, sweet and caramelly vanilla-infused brandy, pear purée, tart verjus (unripened grape juice) and brut Champagne for a beautiful aperitif. 25lusk.com
Longman & Eagle, Chicago
The gastropub serves an herbal Insider cocktail made with grapefruity Aperol, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and Malort, a wormwood-flavored Swedish liqueur. Bartenders shake the bitter base, then strain it into a goblet filled with large ice cubes and tops the refresher with Prosecco. longmanandeagle.com