Making a dope bar for a New Year’s Eve party is all about keeping it easy. There are a million cocktail recipes out there that call for all sorts of crazy expensive bottles, time-consuming garnishes, and way, way too much sugar. New Year’s Eve is the party where you need to be focusing on the dance floor, not a f*cking recipe.
Our recommendation: Buy a few classic bottles, some easy garnish, make a menu of ten drinks for your crew, and let the party flow. You can make a very long list of (great) drinks from a mere few bottles of booze. If you’re willing to spend around $150-$200 on your drinks budget for New Year’s Eve (0r if your bar is stocked), you’ll have options that’ll satisfy every type of drinker at your party.
Here’s how it’s done.
- Bottle of Bourbon or Rye
- Bottle of Gin
- Bottle of Vodka
- Bottle of Bubbly
- Bottle of Dry Vermouth
- Bottle of Sweet Vermouth
- Bottle of Campari
- Bottle of Angostura Bitters
- Bottle of Simple Syrup
- Case of Sparkling Water
This gives you a huge selection of drinks that are very easily made. As far as supplies go, get plenty of ice, a mixing jug (an old jar will do), a mixing spoon, and a strainer. That’s all you need. If you want to get very fancy, grab some oranges, lemons, green olives, limes, and Amarena cherries for garnishes. And, you know, if you can’t find a mixing jug and strainer, just build the drinks in the glass. It’ll be fine.
Don’t worry about “the right” glass for each drink. Every drink can be served in a rocks glass if you want. Also, don’t worry about pre-chilling glasses. No one has room in their freezer to chill 20 or 30 glasses and then the time to keep rotating them in. Just chill glasses with ice cubes as you mix. So, here are the ten perfect cocktails you’ll be able to make, easily, all New Year’s Eve long.
This is probably the easiest crowd-pleaser for wintery good times. An old fashioned is also super easy to make.
Grab a rocks glass (or any glass really), add in a spoon of Simple Syrup and six dashes of Bitters. Stir in two-ounces of Whiskey until it’s completely blended. Next, top off with ice and stir until the glass is ice cold to touch. Add an orange peel (spritz the oils if you’re fancy) and drop in a cherry. Done.
A Manhattan screams winter festival drink. The aromatic botanicals and smooth whiskey work wonderfully together. This one is best built in a jug over ice and then strained into a chilled glass.
Fill a glass with some ice and set aside. Fill your jug with two-ounces of Bourbon or Rye, one-ounce of Sweet Vermouth, and two dashes of Bitters. Top the jug with ice and stir until the glass is ice cold to touch. Remove ice from the serving glass and strain the Manhattan in. Top with a cherry. Done.
Alternatively, you can build this one in the glass. Stir the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters with ice until it’s icy cold and serve with a cherry on the rocks. It’s still delicious.
A whiskey soda is the perfect, sugar-free go to. It’s also very easy to build all night. Glass, ice, a three-count of Whiskey, top with Soda Water, lime wedge. Boom! You’re back on the dance the floor.
Dry martinis are subtly sophisticated and devilishly easy to execute. Like a Manhattan, they’re best built in the jug and strained into a chilled glass. It’s easier and faster than it sounds.
Fill a glass with ice and set aside. Pour in three-ounces of Gin, one-ounce of Dry Vermouth, and plenty of ice into a jug. Stir until the jug is ice cold. Strain into your pre-chilled glass (that no longer has ice in it). Throw in a couple olives or a lemon rind. Serve.
Alternatively, you can make martinis on the rocks and build these in the glass too. Simply add your gin, vermouth, and ice to any old glass and stir until it’s ice cold to touch. Add your preferred garnish and take a sip.
A Tom Collins is an old-school cocktail that hits a great balance of sweet, tart, botanical, and refreshing. Generally, this would get a shaker treatment but you can totally get around that with a little elbow grease.
Grab a tall glass and squeeze one Lemon into it along with 0.5-ounces of Simple Syrup and two-ounces of Gin. Stir vigorously with a spoon until it almost starts to froth. Top with ice and stir until the glass is ice cold to touch. Top with Soda Water, give it a quick stir and garnish with a lemon rind and cherry. Knock that sucker back.
Okay, it’s New Year’s Eve. A bubbly-focused cocktail is a must if you want your party to be lit. See that recipe above? Do the same thing here and just switch out the Soda Water for Sparkling Wine. Simple, easy, delicious.
The illustrious vodka martini is a great choice for the people who just don’t love the gin. We know, we know, it’s hard to believe people don’t love delicious gin — we’re looking at you, James Bond. Yet, here we are.
This is easy. Follow the gin martini recipe above and simply swap the gin for Vodka. This is also buildable in a glass on the rocks.
If you’re looking the perfect sugar-free recipe to get you tipsy this New Year’s Eve, look no further. The vodka soda is refreshingly simple, delectable, and will get you nice and drunk with plenty of hydration at the same time.
Build this one in a tall glass: ice, a three-count pour of Vodka, top with Soda Water, lime wedge. Stir and drink.
Winter and Campari just go hand-in-hand. The botanical-forward drink is the perfect bitter base for a wonderfully refreshing spritz.
Build this one in a red wine glass or a tall glass or whatever you have. Fill the glass with ice, pour in a three-count of Soda Water, a four-count of Sparkling Wine, and top with a three-count of Campari. Give is quick stir and garnish with an orange rind. Done and done.
The ultimate build-in-the-glass cocktail is the Negroni. Look, a lot of fancy-schmancy cocktail bars will build this one in a jug and strain it into a glass. Thing is, you rarely ever see that happen in Italy. Over there it’s more of a utility cocktail you can build on the fly and serve fast. It’s also strong AF, so you don’t need a lot to get high.
Grab a rocks glass or any glass really that can hold a little booze. Fill with ice, add a three-count each of Gin, Sweet Vermouth, and Campari in that order. Stir a few times. Top with an orange rind and spritz the oils onto the drink if you’re feeling saucy. That’s it. Just remember to grab a bottle of water in between drinks. This one has a kick.