Justin Chapple, the test kitchen pro behind Food & Wine's Mad Genius Tips, shares four New Year's Eve cocktail hacks.
1. Cotton Candy Prosecco
Sparkling wine is a must on New Year's Eve. By adding a little store-bought cotton candy, you can transform it into something new and fun.
What You Need:
• Cotton candy
• Flute glass
• Champagne or prosecco
Here's how you do it: Tear a small amount of pink cotton candy and place it in the bottom of a flute. Pour Champagne or prosecco on top and watch as the candy dissolves. Garnish the glass with a little cotton candy and serve.
2. Use a Travel Mug to Shake and Strain a Cocktail
We've all been there: You're mixing cocktails only to realize that you don't have a cocktail shaker. Don't fret, you can shake and strain in a travel mug!
What you need:
• Travel mug
• Chilled glass
• Cocktail ingredients
Here's how you do it: In a travel mug with a tight seal, add ice until full. Add your cocktail ingredients, close the lid tightly and shake to mix. To strain, lift the sipping plug and pour into a chilled glass.
Recipe to try: 3-Ingredient Sidecar Cocktail (1½ ounces chilled Cognac, 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier, 1/3 ounce fresh lemon juice)
3. Serve a Winter Citrus Sangria
Sangria, although it's traditional for summer, is a perfect winter drink. It's incredibly versatile, so you can make it with almost any winter fruit—including cold weather citrus like grapefruits, blood oranges and clementine. The best part: you can keep it cool with pieces of fruit instead of ice, that way it doesn't water down throughout the evening.
What you need:
• Sliced grapefruit, clementines, blood oranges
• Parchment paper
• Baking sheet
• Sangria ingredients
Here's how you do it: Cut grapefruits, blood oranges and clementines into wedges or slices and spread them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm. Use in your favorite sangria recipe, or try this one:
Winter Citrus Sangria
• Frozen grapefruit, blood orange and clementine wedges or slices
• One 750-milliliter bottle rose or Sauvignon Blanc
• 4 ounces citrus juice (combination of grapefruit, clementine and blood orange juices)
• 4 ounces brandy
• 3 ounces Simple Syrup
Directions: Cut grapefruits, blood oranges and clementines into wedges or slices and spread them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm.In a pitcher, combine the wine, juice, brandy, simple syrup and stir well. Refrigerate until the drink is chilled. Add the frozen citrus and serve.
4. Martinis Garnishes Can be Very Useful
Martinis are meant to be sipped, so they often become warm by the time you reach the bottom of the glass. But traditional martini garnishes like olives and cocktail onions can help!
What you need:
• Cocktail onions
• Baking sheet or plate
• Martini ingredients (1 ounce dry vermouth, 4 ounce gin, Ice, Martini glass)
Here's how you do it: Skewer martini olives and cocktail onions on wood or metal toothpicks, place them on a plate or small baking sheet, then freeze them until firm. Drop into martinis before serving.
For more must-try cocktails, check out our Pinterest board!