It’s a known fact: You just can’t toast the new year without Champagne. It’s a tradition that spans countries and centuries. To not toast would mean you’d have bad luck for the rest of the new year or something, right? Even people who don’t really drink find themselves hoisting a flute at the stroke of midnight to ensure future fortune. But if you want to save the bubbly for the last toast of 2012, what do you serve your party guests leading up to the big moment or even after? How about a Champagne punch, inspired by L.A.’s top punch makers, who were kind enough to share their recipes for your New Year’s Eve shindig? These recipes range from quick and simple to downright gourmet.
Piazza Maggiore’s Punch
by Vincenzo Marianella, Copa d’Oro
For New Year’s Eve at Copa d’Oro in Santa Monica, L.A. cocktail godfather Vincenzo Marianella will not only be serving his classic Jalisco Flower punch but this new Italian aperitivo-style punch inspired by his favorite city in Italy—Bologna—where the Amaro Montenegro liqueur comes from.
16 oz. Ford Gin
4 1/2 oz. of Aperol
4 1/2 oz. Amaro Montenegro
10 oz. fresh organic orange juice
1 oz. homemade simple syrup
4-5 dashes Angostura Bitter
4-5 dashes Jerry Thomas bitter
Combine all ingredients in punch bowl with block of ice and stir.
by Allan Katz, Caña Rum Bar
Caña Rum Bar’s Allan Katz said of this Crimean Punch, it “always sees action on our menu in the winter because its flavors just complement the season so damn well.” The original Jerry Thomas recipe’s measurements were written in bottles but here Katz thankfully decreased the amounts to more manageable ounces.
4 oz. aged Jamaican rum (Caña uses 2 oz. Smith & Cross and 2 oz. Appleton Reserve)
4 oz. Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
½ oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
3 oz. fresh lemon juice
3 oz. BG Reynolds orgeat (available at Barkeeper)
375 mL Champagne or sparkling wine
Blend all ingredients, except Champagne, with 7 oz. crushed ice (about 2 cups) until the ice is completely dissolved. Pour in a punch bowl with block ice. Top with a half-bottle of champagne and give it a few very gentle stirs. Garnish isn't quite important, but a mint sprig poked through a lemon wheel is pretty festive.
There and Back Again
by Naomi Schimek, The Spare Room
The Spare Room’s beverage director Naomi Schimek drew inspiration for her champs punch from her globetrotting adventures this past year. The “ingredients are all from far reaches of the globe yet harmonious, at a time when I'm reflecting on travels of the past year and looking forward to adventures to come in 2013, hence the name,” said Schimek.
16 oz. Edinburgh Gin, infused with dried Moroccan mint and chamomile
16 oz. fresh brewed and chilled white China tea (preferably Pai Mu Tan)
750ml dry, chilled champagne
Make an Oleo Saccharum out of 1.5 cups of sugar and the rinds of two lemons and two pink grapefruits. Let it rest to extract the oils and after one hour add 6 oz. lemon juice and 4 oz. grapefruit juice. Stir to dissolve. Pour over ice into large punch bowl and stir for a few minutes to chill and dilute. Add one 750ml bottle of a dry, chilled Champagne. Add a few dashes of Peychaud's Bitters, to taste. Serve in individual glasses garnished with mint, if desired.