New Years 2009 Edition

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New Year's Issue
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Dear New Year's Party Goer,

Thanks everyone for another great year! We finish off 2008 with a few recipes, some great articles and the hopes of a great 2009.

Happy New Year to all of you!

We also have a page of this year's holiday recipes...

Please be smart, don't drink and drive! Enjoy the following recipes in moderation and take a cab if you need one.

Cheers!

Dan Hutchinson





Herradura Tequila

As we get ready to say 'so long' to 2008, many of us are already thinking of our New Year's Resolutions... and of how long we'll be able to actually keep them. We wouldn't want you to forget your "Get Fit" and "Stop Smoking" promises, but we would like to suggest one that's a lot easier to keep: Educate your palate to enjoy sophisticated and authentic flavors of real tequila, such as Tequila Herradura, and forego harsher, superficial versions of the spirit. But what makes Herradura so special, you ask? Read on to find out:

Herradura New Year Cocktail Image

  • Casa Herradura is considered one of the oldest and most respected producers of tequila and has delivered the world's highest blue agave spirit since 1870. That's more than 135 years of seriously great tequila.
  • Each bottle of Herradura is hand-crafted using traditional production process (including cooking in clay ovens, natural fermentation and post still distillation).
  • Every sip is hand-harvested, hand-crafted and estate-bottled 100 per cent blue agave.

Herradura's consistent, refined and distinctive taste with a smooth finish is best appreciated when sipped neat from a snifter glass, or when combined with fresh ingredients in a tasty cocktail. For your readers who will still attempt the "Get Fit" resolution, here's a quick recipe for a skinny Herradura Promise:

  • 1.5 oz Herradura Silver tequila
  • 3 oz of low-calorie pomegranate juice
Shake with ice for 10 seconds and pour into a chilled martini glass. Add a few pomegranate seeds for garnish and serve.

The Raven's Caw

Raven's Caw Logo Image

Caw! And welcome to the New Years edition of The Raven's Caw. With the hustle and bustle of the season (whatever your particular season is), it's hard to find time to really sit down and think. Or drink, for that matter. Or breathe. Add to all of the parties and shopping and gathering, it's a wonder that we don't all come down with colds, or the flu. Of course, this rousing bout of rhetoric has a purpose, mainly to say that I have been one of those to catch the cold, spend too much money shopping and not enough time enjoying, and almost no time thinking. So, for the inaugural 2009 newsletter, I will shower upon you some quick and shallow musings that come to mind: may they brighten your day.

First, has anyone had the good fortune to happen upon the limited time offering of Pomegranate 7-Up? This has been around for a few years, but they only offer it around this time of year. I don't know if it's only a regional offering, but if you happen across a 2-liter in the store, I'd recommend making the purchase. It is almost like a premixed Shirley Temple, though not as sweet. I guzzle more of it than I like to admit to.

A buddy of mine mixes it with tequila when he comes over. Swears by it...I take him at his word. Y'all know how I feel about tequila.

Second...a couple months back I stumbled upon a wonderful sangria at Romano's Macaroni Grill. Kind of expensive, but worth a try. Of course, it's mixed on the spot, so it's possible I just happened upon a good bartender. Further, it's possible I just like sangria.

Moving along...I'm starting to branch out into craft brewed beer more and more. In the aisles of my local BevMo! I've come across some very good stouts. I'd give you the names, but they're likely local breweries that you'll never have a chance at. My advice: check out the beer collection at your local "We sell beer, wine, and spirits from everywhere" store and grab a few bottles you've never tried. Some of the stuff I've found (Devout Stout, if you're in the L.A. area) makes the mass produced offerings taste like, well...an old joke comes to mind...How is American beer like having sex in a canoe? It's ****ing close to water!

Finally, in my small group of friends, I've had a birth and an engagement lately, and I've noticed, among other things, that we tend to celebrate good things with vices (cigars and champagne, respectively). I don't know what that says about us as a species, if anything at all. Just an interesting musing.

Folks, I wish you a happy new year. I offer you this toast: May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future!


About The Raven

J.T. "Raven" Centonze has been a long time student of the art of alcohol. Initially interested in keeping conversation at parties, his love for alcohol grew to an obsession in college. In between his real job of running a college bookstore or two, he is the part owner/operator of his own winery. He bartends at private parties which allows him the innovation of many new, unique drinks.

The Raven now has his own e-mail address at the BarNoneDrinks. Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions related "The Raven's Caw" to raven@barnonedrinks.com. Also accepted at this address are job offers, death threats, marriage proposals, offers to enlarge certain parts of my anatomy, awards nominations, petitions for absolution and anything else The Raven might need to know about.




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Courvoisier Holiday Cocktail Recipes

Courvoisier EXCLUSIF Cognac is the only cognac designed exclusively to be mixed - a must have for the season's holiday cocktail parties.

For hosts planning a more formal holiday party, present your guests with an elegant take on the popular Cosmo and Martini.

Courvoisier Cosmo

  • 1 part Courvoisier EXCLUSIF Cognac
  • 1 part DeKuyper Signature Triple Sec
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • Splash of lime juice

Fill shaker with ice cubes. Shake and strain into martini glass.

Courvoisier Martini

  • 1 part Courvoisier EXCLUSIF Cognac
  • 1 part DeKuyper Signature Triple Sec
  • 1 part sour mix

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.

If you are hosting a more traditional holiday party, offer your guests a Courvoisier twist to traditional holiday cocktail favorites.

Courvoisier Eggnog

  • 4 parts Eggnog
  • 1 part DeKuyper Buttershots Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Courvoisier EXCLUSIF Cognac
  • Nutmeg

Mix eggnog and butterscotch schnapps in a glass or mug. Add Courvoisier Cognac to taste. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Courvoisier and Coffee

  • Coffee
  • Courvoisier EXCLUSIF Cognac
  • Double Cream

Simply mix Courvoisier EXCLUSIF Cognac with your favorite coffee, then add fresh double cream to put the final touches on this warm cocktail. To ensure the cream stays on top, pour it over the back of a spoon.

Absolut - Blissletoe

Blissletoe
Absolut Blissletoe Cocktail Image

  • 1 1/2 parts ABSOLUT 100
  • 1 part Orange Juice
  • Splash Blue Curacao

Combine first two ingredients over ice in a highball glass. Add a splash of Blue Curacao. Garnish with an orange slice and lime peel.

Partida Pumpkin Margarita

Partida Pumpkin Margarita
Developed by Crema Restaurante
Partida Pumpkin Margarita Image

  • 2 oz. Partida Reposado Tequila
  • 1 oz. fresh Lime/Lemon Juice Mix
  • splash of Pumpkin Puree
  • Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Lime Wedge

Rim a cocktail glass with lime juice and sesame seeds. Mix ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Trendspotting!

Judging by how few economists predicted the current recession and the fact that most psychics are not multi-millionaires, I'm going to venture a guess that we humans are not good at predicting things. Heck, if we were, we'd all be driving electric cars and the people who green-lighted poorly flavored beers would have been drawn and quartered before those hideous products ever hit the market. But we live in a world with SUVs and Bud Lite with lime. So it goes.

Our inability to predict the future does allow for one thing, however: trend reporting. Time Magazine has already listed "Recession dining" as the top food trend for 2008, and with the year coming to a close, everybody's rushing to predict what will be hot in 2009. Since it seems like I have as good of a chance as anybody at guessing trends right, I figure it's my duty as a newsletter columnist to throw out some predictions as well. So: here are my top five drink-trend predictions for 2009:

  1. Men - We've started to see this already, but I predict that men will reclaim cocktails for themselves in a big way in 2009. They'll do this both by mixing manly drinks and by renaming existing ones. Martinis will become Mantinis. Cosmopolitans will become Mensopolitans, at least until someone figures out that it sounds more like "Menopause" than "Men." The Manhattan will stay as-is, unless someone wants to go with "Guyhattan" to give it that certain metrosexual growl.

  2. Poorly conceived combinations of alcohol and caffeine - Sure, the government is making Miller-Coors remove the alcohol from Sparks. But from the ashes of Sparks shall rise even stupider alcoholic energy beverages! In the last year we already saw Pink, the caffeinated vodka (which, hey, is TOTALLY not marketed towards women, okay?). Next year, look for NoDos Equis, a combination of No Doz and Dos Equis, and Exedrambuie, which combines the popular, caffeine-filled headache cure with Drambuie.

  3. Rare ingredients - Gold leaf, fennel soda, and homemade absinthe bitters are so last year. In 2009, we should see ultra-rare ingredients including uranium, cheetah fur, and homemade cheetah fur bitters.

  4. Hangover cures as cocktails - Look: "multi-tasking" is not going to stop being a buzzword anytime soon, which means that douchey jerks will keep trying to multi-task at any chance they get. And for a douchey-jerk drinker, what better way is there to multitask than to get one's hangover cure and hangover cause in one glass? On the positive side, we should see a rise in great classic cocktails that use egg whites (Clover Club? Yes please!). On the negative side, look for cocktails with sausage-and-cheese garnishes, 64 ounces of water mixed with eight ounces of vodka, and once again, the Exedrambuie.

  5. Stealing booze - Anybody predicting upcoming food and drink trends right now is going to put something to do with the frigid economy on the list. If you haven't already seen them, expect over the next few months to be inundated with articles extolling the values of cheap wines, bargain spirits, and headache-inducing college beers. But let's be honest here: there's also going to be a big upswing in stealing booze. Whether it's pulling a little draft for yourself when the bartender's looking away or getting shots of vodka at an open-bar wedding and pouring them into an empty bottle, thievery should be big in 2009. Oh, and if you get caught stealing and get arrested, here's a trend that remains timeless: when you're in jail, put juice in a bag and let it ferment behind the radiator until you get a putrid booze that can make you go blind. Enjoy 2009, sucker.


    Meg Favreau is a writer and comedian living in Philadelphia, PA. Read her blog at www.ihearyoulikestories.com.

Tim Laird - Holiday Cocktails

Tim Laird Image Tim Laird, known as America's Chief Entertaining Officer teaches us how to "dress up" basic cocktails with seasonal juices to match the theme of your holiday beverages.

The spirit connoisseur showcases how to add a hint of festive color to Tequila Herradura and Finlandia Vodka-based drinks by mixing them up with popular and affordable ingredients such as pomegranate juice, apple cider or blue-raspberry mix. Moreover, Laird's tips will help your visitors optimize their tight budgets and schedules, as they will learn to create an array of concoctions using only two spirits in a fun and easy way.

Perfect Margarita Base

  • 1 1/2 oz. Herradura Silver
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup

Vodka Base

  • 1 1/2 oz. Finlandia Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. orange liqueur

Batch a pitcher for each of the bases and store in a refrigerator until they're chilled. Stir and pour the base in either a martini or rocks glass and add 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite colorful ingredients including pomegranate juice, melon liqueur, blue raspberry mix or blue curacao and apple cider.


About Tim Laird Tim Laird is an authority on wines and spirits with more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry. A connoisseur of fine wines, spirits, and champagnes, Tim is also a gourmet chef and a master at entertaining and execution. Tim is glib, funny, and knowledgeable and is a veteran of television and radio. Over the past year, Tim has appeared on television and/or radio approximately 100 times and entertains about 50 times a year for business and personal guests. You can download his video here: Tim Laird's Video (roughly 8 MB)

Plymouth Gin Punch

Plymouth Gin Punch Plymouth Gin Punch Image

  • 2 parts Plymouth Gin
  • 1 part Champagne
  • 1 part POM Wonderful Blueberry/Pomegranate juice
  • 3/4 part Fresh Lemon juice
  • 1/2 part Cointreau
  • 1/2 part Simple syrup
  • 1/4 part Allspice Liqueur

Despite the state of the economy people are still interested in washing their sorrows away by throwing an amazing party. Start off 2009 right with a cost effective beverage option at your next party with Plymouth Gin Punch. Traditionally a drink of gatherings, punch is known as a party beverage and is thought to have come from the Hindi word for five, suggesting the original number of ingredients.

Plymouth's take on punch incorporates an array of flavors including allspice and pomegranate paired with the taste of Plymouth Gin's botanicals and champagne.

More Partida, Fantinel and G'Vine

Cranberry Spice Margarita
Courtesy of Trudy Thomas, JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
Cranberry Spice Margarita Image

  • 1 1/2 oz. Partida Reposado Tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz. house made lime sour
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz. Velvet Falernum
  • 11 cranberries (8 muddled, 3 for garnish)
  • 1 tsp. superfine sugar

In a mixing glass, muddle fresh cranberries with lime sour and add remaining ingredients then shake with ice. Strain over ice into a Margarita glass rimmed in sugar. Garnish with a pick of cranberries.



The Suprema Sour
Courtesy of Gianfranco Verga (Louis 649)
The Suprema Sour Image

  • 1 1/2 oz. Fantinel Suprema Grappa Tocai
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 small egg white
  • Angostura Bitters

Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake without ice vigorously. Add ice, shake again and strain into a coup glass. Garnish with 3 drops of Angostura bitters.





Winter G'ubilee
Courtesy of Junior Merino of the Liquid Chef

  • 1 1/2 oz. G'vine Nouaison
  • 1/4 oz. Aperol or Campari
  • 3/4 oz. fresh pineapple juice
  • 3/4 oz. Pom Wonderful
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice

Pour all the ingredients in a shaker, add ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Dr. Bamboo - Amateur Night

New Year's Champagne Image

I have a friend who refers to New Year's Eve as "amateur night." He makes a strict policy of not going anywhere outside his house on the evening of December 31st. It doesn't matter whether the festivities take place at a dive bar, posh ballroom, or a friend's living room- he doesn't go out. Period.

My friend's reluctance to publicly expose himself to the hazards of the last day of the year are based primarily on his unwillingness to be killed by a drunk driver. Fair enough...I think we all can see the logic behind that rationale. But he also cites another reason- a far more insidious and harder-to-predict phenomenon. We're talking about people for whom the latter half of day 365 is a free-fire zone of alcohol abuse.

Now before anyone thinks I'm going to wag my finger and scold anyone pre-emptively about proper behavior while imbibing, let me put your fears to rest. That is not my intent. Rather, what I'd like to do is simply offer a brief guide to some of the people you may find yourself drinking with if you leave your house on New Year's Eve. If you spot them early enough, you can hopefully take appropriate action and not be caught unaware.

  • Girl Who Claims She Really Doesn't Drink - Almost always female, this person constantly mentions how infrequently she drinks...while enthusiastically throwing back shots of straight liquor. She will pass off this indulgence on it being a holiday. Rarely makes it to midnight. May suddenly vomit on you.

  • Guy Who Drinks Nothing But Cheap Beer - This guy is never, ever seen drinking anything other than domestic macrobrewed beer straight from the can or bottle, even when there is a wide assortment of appealing beverages available. Will often seem suspicious or outright hostile toward other forms of alcohol. May suddenly become sullen and attempt to fight you.

  • Person With Their Libido On Their Sleeve - Regardless of gender, this person clearly uses alcohol as a way to make their wildly inappropriate romantic overtures seem acceptable. Tact and subtlety are not this person's forte, so those seeking witty dialogue are advised to look elsewhere. Often seen wearing "Sexy Mrs. Claus" outfit (female) or mistletoe belt-buckle (male).

  • "Mr. Mystery" - Almost always male and sketchy-looking, this person arrives virtually unnoticed, and then everyone spends the rest of the night trying to figure out who he came with. This person will take his anonymity as license to rapidly consume as much high-quality liquor as possible before embarrassing himself in some spectacular way. He is guaranteed to be completely unconscious toward the end of the night, at which point someone will sheepishly claim him. The conversation for the remainder of the evening will be peppered with the questions, "Did you see that guy?" and "Who WAS that??"

  • WHOOOO!!! Girl/Guy - Self-explanatory. Avoid at all costs.

  • Party Hat Guy - This person (often male) will be seen wearing a Santa hat, sombrero or "Cat-in-the Hat" hat. This person views their chosen headgear as an important symbol of their good-natured yet intense party ethic. They will be a source of entertaining conversation early on, but as the evening progresses will become utterly incoherent. May suddenly vomit on you.

  • Person Who Pushes Shots On People Way Too Often - Male or female, this person is easy to spot at any gathering. Usually found carrying a tray of Tequila shots (although whiskey and vodka are also often seen), this person is not happy unless as many fellow revelers as possible are consuming shots at a life-threatening pace all night long. Will loudly mock you if you refuse. Usually has enough tolerance not to vomit on you. Usually.

  • Passionate Debater - Whether it's sports, politics, religion or simply the last movie you saw, this person will have very strong opinions on everything, and feel compelled to forcefully make you aware of them. Alcohol doesn't help. This person will almost always tell you to visit little-known websites that reinforce his/her arguments.

  • Undergrad Out On The Town - Usually encountered in local bars, this young person will often be wearing a piece of clothing emblazoned with the name or initials of the school he/she attends. Will always be drinking whatever is on special. Particular caution must be exercised because this person can quickly morph into almost any of the above types of people, depending on circumstances.

  • Person Painfully Unaware She's Way Ahead Of The Age Curve - Most often a female in her late forties of fifties, divorced, and working in real estate, this person can be spotted drinking copious amounts of white wine, Seven & Sevens or vodka Martinis. Will often drunkenly tell stories about bar-hopping with her college-aged children. Is probably the only person smoking. May hit on you.

My advice is to do what they do in Spain in Portugal on New Year's Eve: Stay home and eat 12 grapes (it's true...look it up). THEN you can decide if you want to go out to celebrate the new year. Speaking of grapes and the new year, here's a recipe inspired by those exact things...

Iberian Dawn

  • 1/2 oz. Sandeman Tawny 10 yr. Old Port
  • 1/4 oz. Cointreau
  • 2 dashes Fee's peach bitters
  • Sparkling wine (I recommend a brut Cava )

Put first 3 ingredients in Champagne flute. Fill with Cava and enjoy!

~ A Dr. Bamboo original creation


Who is Dr. Bamboo? Some say he is a renegade scientist who renounced his original field of study to dedicate himself to the advancement of cocktail culture. Others claim he is a powerful shaman who practices the forbidden arts of a long-forgotten civilization. Still others maintain he is actually a traveler from a faraway world, sent to our planet as an ambassador of intergalactic fine living. Whatever the truth may be, one thing is certain: He makes a mean Martini. When he's not foraging for obscure drink ingredients and vintage barware, Dr. Bamboo works as a freelance illustrator and is the drinks columnist for Bachelor Pad Magazine.

Basil Hayden's Bubbly

Basil Hayden's Bubbly Basil Hayden's Bubbly Cocktail Image

  • 1 part Basil Hayden's Bourbon
  • Champagne

Pour Basil Hayden into a champagne glass and fill the rest with champagne. Garnish with an Orange Twist or a Cherry.






Hennessy Holiday Drinks

Hennessy POM Sidecar
Hennessy POM Sidecar Cocktail Image

  • 1 oz Hennessy VS
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup

Pour all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass.

Pama Recipes

PAMA Pine PAMA Pine Cocktail Image

  • 4 oz Van Gogh Pineapple Vodka
  • 4 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Splash of Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a sugar rimmed martini glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint.














PAMA Pomegranate Poinsettia PAMA Pomegranate Poinsettia Cocktail Image

  • 1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 3 oz champagne or sparkling wine
  • Orange zest

Mix first three liquids in a tumbler with ice. Slowly add champagne stirring gently. Rim a flute glass with orange zest. Strain into glass.









Pama Kiss Pama Kiss Image

  • 1 1/2 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. Sour Apple Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Cranberry Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass over ice. Garnish with 3 raspberries.













PAMA and Champagne PAMA and Champagne Image

  • 2 oz. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • 2 oz. Champagne

Pour PAMA into a champagne flute and top with Champagne. Garnish with berries.

Happy Hour Studios

Happy Hour Image Happy Hour Studio was founded upon the notion of finding creative ways to portray the personality of a drink. Initially Watson started with about five common beverages, including the Cosmopolitan and Manhattan. "Honestly, when I started this concept I only knew about a handful of drinks," Watson admits. Now her studio has gained quite a collection of cocktail recipe books and bartender guides that she references for her next masterpiece. Over time her paintings became so popular that patrons started commissioning their favorite drinks to decorate their home offices and kitchens. And thus, a new way to show off your beverage of choice was born.

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