Bourbon might not be the traditional New Year's Eve spirit, but it makes a festive addition to the evening's roster.
In fact, many drinks combine champagne and bourbon, giving both a little extra sparkle. If you're throwing the party, punch is a good option instead of mixing individual drinks.
Tracy Frederick of Brown-Forman, the Louisville distilling giant that makes Woodford Reserve and Old Forester bourbons among many others, suggested an old-fashioned, the classic cocktail made of bourbon and bitters, is the perfect transition from old year to new year. Woodford Reserve gives the traditional recipe a twist by adding sparkling wine.
Although sweet drinks are big, the trend now is toward bitter, said Amy Preske of Buffalo Trace in Frankfort.
Here are some recipes for a little of both, and one that might be appropriate of New Year's Day.
Bourbon champagne cocktail
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 shot Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled
Combine the sugar, water, bean and seeds in small pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook until the sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup. Let cool to room temperature, then discard the vanilla bean. Add 1 shot of bourbon and 2 tablespoons vanilla bean syrup to a chilled champagne flute. Fill to the top with sparkling wine and serve.
FROM BUFFALO TRACEBourbon and bubbles
1 ounce Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon
1 ounce Monett prosecco sparkling wine
1/2 ounce Villa Massa limoncello
Combine bourbon and limoncello with ice. Stir and strain into champagne flute. Top with prosecco. Garnish with lemon twist.
FROM GARY GRUVER OF SOUTHERN WINE & SPIRITSSparkling old-fashioned
2 dashes of bitters,
1/2 ounce of simple syrup
1 ounce of Woodford Reserve,
4 ounces of Korbel Brut sparkling wine
Twist of lemon peel
Combine bourbon, ice cubes and sparking wine in old-fashioned glass and stir gently. Garnish with lemon twist.
FROM WOODFORD RESERVEWinter ghost
1 part Jacob's Ghost White Whiskey
3 parts ginger ale
Lemon or lime wedge (optional)
Combine ingredients over ice in a chilled glass. Garnish with lemon or lime wedge.
FROM BEAM MASTER MIXOLOGIST BOBBY "G" GLEASONMaple smash
2 ounces Four Roses Small Batch bourbon
1 slice orange
1 slice lemon
1/2 ounce maple syrup, preferably Grade A
2 dashes Angostura bitters
In rocks glass, add fruit with maple syrup and lightly muddle. Add bourbon, bitters and ice. Stir and serve.
FROM GARY GRUVER OF SOUTHERN WINE & SPIRITSBourbon bubbly
1 ounce Wild Turkey Spiced bourbon
1/2 ounce peach liqueur
3 dashes bitters
Mix bourbon, peach liqueur and bitters in champagne goblet and top off with champagne.
FROM WILD TURKEYThe paper plane
3/4 ounces bourbon, such as Weller 7-year or Eagle Rare
3/4 ounce Aperol, an Italian aperitif
3/4 ounces Amaro Nonino herbal liqueur
3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass. Serve.
FROM LITTLE BRANCH, NEW YORKHoliday spiced old-fashioned
2 ounces Four Roses single barrel bourbon
3/4 ounce holiday spiced simple syrup (recipe follows)
2 dashes bitters
Orange peel (as little pith as possible)
Maraschino cherry, preferably Luxardo, for garnish
Combine liquids in cocktail glass. Express orange oil into glass by folding peel over glass and pinching or squeezing it; oil should spray into glass. Stir. Garnish with cherry.
To make simple syrup: Bring 1 cup of water to just shy of boil. Add some cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean and cloves. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of sugar. Let cool and strain into bottle.
FROM GARY GRUVER OF SOUTHERN WINE & SPIRITSHot cider squared
1 part Jim Beam Red Stag Hardcore Cider
Combine first three ingredients in a heatproof mug. Garnish with whipped cream.
FROM BEAM MASTER MIXOLOGIST BOBBY "G" GLEASONPUNCHES
If you're making drinks for a crowd, try these punches:
Bourbon and champagne punch
3 cups Jim Beam Black Bourbon
3 cups cranberry juice
1 quart lemon-lime soda
1 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
6 cups champagne
Pre-chill liquid ingredients. Pour into a punch bowl over the ice block, adding champagne last. Decorate with slices of lemon and orange.
FROM BEAM MASTER MIXOLOGIST BOBBY "G" GLEASONHoliday pie punch
2 parts Jim Beam Red Stag Hardcore Cider
1 part Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie vodka
3 parts apple cider
1 part fresh lemon sour mix
2 or 3 cinnamon sticks
Cold method: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain over fresh ice in a tall glass garnished with lemon.
Hot method: Combine all ingredients plus a half part of water in a slow cooker or non-reactive pan. Bring to a simmer, keeping heat just high enough to keep warm. To serve ladle into heat proof mugs and float a thin wheel of lemon. Serve in a mug.
FROM BEAM MASTER MIXOLOGIST BOBBY "G" GLEASONAND FOR THE NEXT DAY ...
1 ounce Buffalo Trace
1 ounce gin
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 dash Peychaud's bitters
4 ounces chilled ginger ale
Orange slice or mint, for garnish
Pour first four ingredients into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass and top with ginger ale, adding more ice if needed. Garnish with the mint sprig or orange slice.
FROM BUFFALO TRACE