It is the last big bash before the winter season becomes just that, winter, without the anticipation of Santa Claus or an excuse to eat as many gingerbread cookies as possible. New Years Eve is one of our most celebrated holidays, and we’d like to spread cheer by giving you a couple of recipes to mix up the traditional champagne toast and welcome in the wonders of the New Year.


Blackberry Thyme Sparkler

1 cup blackberries + 8 more for garnish
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bottle of champagne
4 ounces or ½ cup gin
4 long springs of thyme
1 cup ice
Gold baking sugar for the rim

In a small saucepan, bring blackberries, water, and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the blackberries are soft and the simple syrup has turned to a bright pink/redish color. Remove from heat, drain blackberries, and allow to cool. This step can be done well in advance as the syrup will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator.
Prepare your champagne glasses. Okay, so here is a dirty little secret of getting those beautiful salts and sugars to stay atop the rim: butter. It adheres perfectly and you honestly never taste it. Place the tiniest amount between your fingers and rub just around the rim of the glass before dipping the glass into the gold baking sugar.
Next, begin by adding 1 ounce of gin to each champagne glass. Next drop two blackberries in each glass, followed by 2 ounces of homemade blackberry simple syrup. Fill the rest of the glass with champagne and top with a sprig of thyme in each glass. Voila!

Or for the whiskey drinker…

The Champagne Etoile

1 cup sugar (or ¾ cup agave)
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Bourbon of your liking
Prosecco or sparkling wine, chilled
Lemons, cut into wedges

First, you’ll make the syrup. Combine the sugar, water, bean and seeds in small pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature and discard the bean.
For one cocktail, add a shot of bourbon and two tablespoons vanilla bean syrup to a chilled champagne flute. Fill to the top with prosecco. Squeeze lemon juice into glass and drop rind in. Serve.