The end of 2010 is almost upon us (THANK GOD) and Friday night will be a time for popping bottles and sipping on some bubbly. But plain champagne is SO 2010, so we enlisted the help of two of our favorite bartenders to spice up our party drink menus. Courtesy of Julie Hillebrand of J&G Steakhouse and Steve Douds of Renegade Canteen, here are three champagne-based drinks to take you through New Year's Eve and into the dawn of 2011.
For early evening drinking: New Year's Eve Punch
"I love champagne all the time, and it's a classic for this holiday," Hillebrand says. "Lately I've been reading the Dave Wondrich book 'Punch,' which is packed with old-school recipes that call for champagne. They're great and very easy to make. Plus, it has a lower alcohol content than cocktails or wine, so you can drink it over several hours with friends and not get drunk too quickly."
It's a good idea to have all your ingredients either cool or refrigerated so it doesn't melt the ice too quickly and become watered-down.
1 large punch bowl
3 lemons, peeled
2 oz. sugar
5 oz. St. Germain Liqueur
1 bottle champagne
1 quart white tea (this can be bought from most grocery stores, or you can make your own by steeping three tea bags in a quart of water for about 3-5 minutes)
1 liter gin
1 liter soda water
1 pint kumquats, halved
How to make it:
Mix the juice of your lemons, the sugar and the St. Germain in the bottom of the punch bowl, throwing the lemons in after they're squeezed. Throw in the fridge to chill, then make the white tea, if you chose not to buy it. Once the tea is done and has reached room temperature, mix it with the base in the bowl. Add ice and pour in champagne, gin and soda water. Stir well, then add kumquats to garnish.