New Year’s Eve. Is there a holiday that more loudly calls out for a cocktail party? (Hint: no.) Ring in the new year in style, impress your friends with interesting and well-crafted drinks, and celebrate without trudging outside in the cold. So here are some St-Germain cocktail recipes to try – or to spark your creativity. You still have a couple weeks left. Send out some invitations and start stocking up your home bar!
Alliance Club Punch
1 Bottle (750 ml) Genever
1/3 Bottle (250 ml) Cognac or Brandy
8 oz St-Germain
1 Cup Sugar
First, thinly peel the lemons and muddle the peels in the sugar to extract the lemon oils. Let this sit for an hour, then remove the peels, squeezing out as much sugar as possible. Juice the lemons, combining about 8 oz of fresh juice with the sugar, then muddle again to combine. Pour the sweetened lemon juice along with the Genever, Brandy, and St-Germain into a punch bowl. Add two quarts of cold water and top the bowl off with ice. Invite your guests to serve themselves from the communal bowl.
Punch is pretty much the most perfect party drink you could wish for. It’s not particularly laborious to make a tasty, solid punch; a single punch can be enough to serve an entire party; and it brings your guests together to mingle as they refill their glasses. (This is why punch glasses should be tiny and demand frequent trips back to the punch bowl.) Punch has a terrible reputation thanks to years of abuse, so your guests might take some convincing. But a punch like this – boozy and sweet but not obnoxiously so, malty and complex from the Genever and St-Germain standing in for the punch’s traditional spice – should convince them. And feel free to play around with the recipe – just make sure to use full-bodied, pot distilled spirits. (You could replace the Genever with whiskey or maybe even rum, for example, but please don’t use English gin in its place.)
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The Entente Cordiale
2 oz Cognac or Brandy
1/2 oz St-Germain
Lemon Juice and Sugar to Garnish
Add a splash of lemon juice to a chilled cocktail glass and swirl to coat the interior. Discard the lemon juice, then fill the glass with finely powdered sugar. Discard this too, leaving the interior frosted with sugar. Combine the Brandy and St-Germain in a mixing glass filled with ice, stir until chilled, and then strain into the sugared glass. Top with champagne and serve.
The Entente Cordiale is a play on a classic drink, the Buck and Breck, named somewhat improbably for the winning presidential ticket in 1856, James Buchanan and John Beckenridge. Despite all that fancy brandy and champagne, it’s actually a pretty fun and bubbly drink – smooth from the brandy, crisp and fizzy from the champagne, with the champagne’s dryness balanced out by the floral sweetness of the St-Germain and the sugar garnish. It’s also a lot easier to make for a party than it sounds. Just measure out your ingredients into a large mixing glass and sugar your glasses before the party begins. Then, once it’s time to serve, add the ice, stir and strain into the prepared glasses, and top with champagne in front of your impressed guests.
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1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz St-Germain
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Combine the Gin, St-Germain, and lemon juice. Shake with lots of ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or champagne flute, top with champagne, and serve.
The French 105 is our take on a classic drink, the French 75, invented in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris. Like the French 75, the French 105 is named after an artillery piece – because this drink can pack a kick. It’s crisp and light and effervescent, and the gin and St-Germain lend a bit of floral flourish, but still boozy. This is another drink that’s pretty easy to prepare ahead in a big batch. Measure everything out ahead of time in a large shaker. Then, just before serving, add your ice, shake well, strain into chilled cocktail glasses, and top with champagne in front of your very impressed guests.
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Sparkle + Shine Mocktail
1/2 Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Grenadine
To make your own Grenadine, combine two cups of pomegranate juice and two cups of sugar, heating gently and stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Then add two ounces of pomegranate molasses and a teaspoon of orange blossom water, again stirring until fully dissolved. Let the Grenadine syrup cool, then combine all the ingredients in a highball glass filled with lots of ice and serve.
Ok, so not everyone drinks, but everyone can still enjoy the party. Sweetly-tart Grenadine syrup is a great way to whip up a fun mocktail – Shirley Temple, anyone? – but making your own Grenadine is a quick and easy way to elevate what could be a a phoned-in drink into a mocktail worth serving your guests. I like this one with tonic water, adding a bit of bitterness and depth. If you do this, I recommend adding a dash more Grenadine for balance.
All illustrations by Dinara Mirtalipova for Oh So Beautiful Paper
Calligraphy Cocktail Menu Cards: Meant to Be Calligraphy
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper
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p.s. In case you missed them, you can see our first three cocktail party posts right here: a housewarming cocktail party + recipes, a backyard summer cocktail party + recipes, and a bon voyage cocktail party + recipes.