by Matthew Towe

Drinks menu must-haves for New Year's Eve

Drinks menu must-haves for New Year's Eve
Well folks, it’s nearly time to wave a (perhaps not so) fond goodbye to 2022 and sail bravely into the undiscovered country that is 2023. Before we do so however, we have the linked arms of revellers struggling to remember all but the chorus to ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and Big Ben’s ‘bongs’ to look forward to. But the perennial question arises, what drinks to offer up to celebrate the transition of one day into another?



New Year’s Eve isn’t necessarily obvious (Yes it is, Champagne) because in theory we’ve all lived it up the week before with goose and Riesling, or perhaps smoked salmon and Grand Cru Chablis. Or, if you’re like me, a half decent Chilean Chardonnay and a 1970s style prawn cocktail. It’s entirely possible we’re suffering from Sensory Specific Satiety and palate fatigue. But how to cure this oh-so-first world problem?

Let’s start the New Year’s Eve drinks with an enlivener. Something to whet the whistle and rejuvenate the tastebuds. It has to be a cocktail. No cocktail stirs the soul, or wakes one up, in quite the same way as a Bloody Mary. To this day it’s the best use discovered for both vodka and tomato juice. Admittedly, a Bloody Mary is best consumed at 35,000 feet above an ocean as you travel somewhere exotic, but as an entrée to the New Year’s festivities, it works wonders.



For the tomato-reticent amongst us, you could achieve similar results with a vodka Martini (with olive obviously, none of the lemon nonsense) Or you could go more traditional and reach towards the cream liqueurs – Baileys is always a festive favourite, however you have some new contenders to the market like the Strawberry Tequila Rose or the very rich and indulgent Disaronno Velvet.

With the palate and mind reawakened by spice and celery, where to turn next? With the influx of customers on New Year’s Eve, it’s best to offer a variety of drinks. Strange that a drinks trade professional would offer such advice I know, but old habits die hard. Get some beers chilled and ready to go. Something rich and malty will work nicely, perhaps a London Pride, Tim Taylor Landlord or a good old pint of Guinness.

When it comes to wine, don’t play it safe with Sauvignon Blanc or Malbec. Follow the course set by out introductory cocktail and be bold; start with the McPherson’s Sunburnt Chardonnay. This redefines Aussie Chardonnay and appeals to the old ABC drinkers due to its modern, less oaked style. It also fits the retro/nostalgic vibe the New Year inevitably brings.



For a red, throw in the Estacion 1883 Cabernet Franc. It’s got the power of a Cabernet Sauvignon, the svelte coolness of Malbec, and the depth of decent Rioja. Your customers will think you’re super cool and not only on trend, but actually setting new trends of your own. The perfect warming, rich, hug-in-a-Riedel we all need at this time of year.

Now, onto the big one. What’s it going to be? As the march of time progresses towards the deep booming chimes of midnight, our revels are far from ended. It’s time for the bubbles to take centre stage. Whatever you serve on this night of nights, fizz has to be included. You’ve got options here. Play it cool with a peachy Prosecco, or be a maverick with some English Sparkling Wine (stop sniggering and actually try some, you’ll be enlightened). Or, of course, you can go classic with Champagne and there’s so many to choose from here; keep it classy with a Bollinger or really finish the year with a bang and splash out on a Dom Perignon.

That’s it; we’ve heard the sounds of the New Year ushered in. We’ve polished off the bubbles, but we’re not ready to call it a night (or early morning as it actually is). It’s time for a night cap; Do you go whisky? If so, as we are talking indulgence why not a decent single malt – a nice peaty Laphroaig or perhaps a slightly sweeter Dalmore? Perhaps a decent Rum – try a Diplomatico or the amazing Rumbullion from Ableforths distillery…


So there we have it; the perfect drinks menu for New Year’s Eve: cocktails, beers, wines, fizz, spirits


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