December has firmly clamped its angry fingers around us all: cold temps, an overload of family time and the annual morass of credit-card debt that results from buying useless crap that, let’s face it, the recipients of your gifts probably don’t even need. It’s time, then, to lessen the blow and salve our collective wounds by beginning to plan for one of the precious few nights of the year when excess and debauchery are not so much encouraged as expected. This year as every other, there’s no shortage of destinations for top-notch tippling as 2013 rolls on into 2014 and Seacrest spends his umpteenth year fake-smiling his way through yet another ball-dropping extravaganza while Jenny McCarthy interviews Times Square drunkards. So if good cocktails are your destination on the 31st, here’s a primer to start your planning now.
For sophisticated, delicious sioree-ing, head on over to either Talula’s Garden or Talula’s Daily for the decadent-sounding “boozy farm fresh spiced egg nog.” You can also go for a Meyer lemon martini, and order three or four of them because fruit is good for you, and you’ll absolutely want that many.
Ela is offering, among other pairings, the “brandy fix,” in which its namesake ingredient is kissed with Green Chartreuse, lime, and pineapple syrup. Sounds phenomenal. Bar Ferdinand is rolling out the “aguardiente,” made with PX brandy, pimento bitters, house-made grenadine, and a flamed citrus peel garnish.
If you’re ringing in the new year at altitude at R2L, treat yourself to the aptly named “baby new year,” a gin-based beauty with maraschino, St.-Germain, Champagne and lemon. The Four Seasons is rolling out their epic Port cart for the occasion, and, in addition, offering guests in the Swann Lounge the opportunity to craft their own “spicy haute chocolate,” with three spirited additions to their lovely homemade hot chocolate. Also on the dessert-ier end of things is Isabella in Conshohocken, which, among other cocktails, is whipping up a drink called the “chocolate covered candy cane”—nice to ring in a sweet new year.
And then there are bars and other restaurants around the region pouring everything from special bottlings to rare spirits to just copious amounts of fermented goodness. Keep your eyes open, your liver primed, and plan to spend January 1 in bed, celebrating the new year, as I tend to do, with Gatorade, Chinese-food delivery and plenty of Advil. Here’s to 2014!
New Italian wines: Yes, please