One of the highlights of the New Year’s Eve is the midnight champagne toast, but the party starts long before— and extends far after—the clock strikes twelve. There’s a full night of entertaining to be enjoyed, hopefully with a drink in hand. “Cocktails on New Year’s Eve are about pacing yourself, and giving yourself a foundation to appreciate the evening,” says Eben Klemm, Beverage Curator at The Knick. Here, Klemm shares his tips for choosing the right champagne and the best cocktails on New Year’s Eve.
The Best Cocktails on New Year’s Eve
Early evening: Boulevardier
“You haven’t joined the madness yet, and there is still time for sophistication with a mature cocktail.” says Klemm. “Now is the moment for something strong and stirred, something that gives you a baseline of alcohol but compels you in its complexity to not rush in like a fool.” He recommends a boulevardier, with bourbon, sweet vermouth and Campari. Another option is a bijou, which swaps gin for bourbon and Chartreuse for Campari.
Mid evening: Sidecar or 20th Century
“Let’s have some citrus,” says Klemm. “We’ll want the Vitamin C in us tomorrow, and having it later in the evening could be disruptive. He goes for the Sidecar—brandy, cointreau and lemon juice—or the 20th Century—gin, Lillet, creme de cacao and lemon.” A gimlet if you trust the lime juice.
“Leave the glorious moment itself to champagne,” instructs Klemm. “I like small houses. Marie Courtin Resonance is excellent for not too much money if you can find it. Billecart Salmon and Guy Larmandier are two other favorites.”
Into the New Year:
“Now is the time for Campari. Its bitterness will stabilize all the bubbles you’ve just enjoyed. I’m making spritzes with Campari whatever bubbles are still around. Or just mix it with club soda. That bagel brunch in 6 hours will seem less ominous after this drink.”