New Year’s Eve is the one holiday when we mix equal parts sophisticated luxury with chandelier-swinging abandon. Champagne and caviar, black tie and silver sparkles, partying hard and staying up late, but doing it in style.
This year, however, even the producers of CNN’s famously boozy New Year’s Eve coverage are reconsidering hitting the bottle(s) while watching the ball drop.
Whether you want to alternate your drinks with non-alc to avoid spending the first day of the year hungover, are the designated driver, or just don't want to drink, here are our sophisticated, zero-proof recommendations for raising a toast to 2023.
Non-alcoholic sparkling wines
Bubbly is the classic for New Year’s Eve (and any evening, as far as we’re concerned). For pairing non-alcoholic champagne and caviar, we love Château del ISH Sparkling White Wine. The crisp, green-apple and crisp lemon provide a balancing sharpness to fatty, salty caviar, and the richness of accompaniments like créme fraiche, blinis, and kettle cooked potato chips.
For a less traditional but more interesting companion for caviar, the bright cherry and raspberry opening and palate clearing tannins of Oddbird Sparkling Rosé are a dazzling offset to the oil rich fish eggs.
Another favorite that works just as well on its own as with food, the soft minerality and round marzipan notes of Oddbird Blanc de Blancs temper the apple and lemon zest for a very easy drinking alternative to champagne you can drink all night.
To really treat yourself or party guests, make zero-proof French 75s that taste just like the real thing. We like the evergreen notes of the botanicals in GinISH to add a herbal and green complexity to the drink, and a robust simple syrup with acacia gum like Liber & Co. Classic Gum Syrup for a full mouthfeel. We’ve even put together a French 75 Kit with everything you need to mix up the cocktail, so you don’t spend half the night juicing lemons in the lead up to midnight.
Vodka is the usual spirit accompaniment to caviar, but we love a hangover free gin martini (or 3) with Monday Zero Alcohol Gin and Roots Divino Bianco de-alcoholized vermouth. If you like your martinis extra dirty, the aforementioned GinISH works just fine with lots of brine!
Of course, “martini” doesn’t have to mean the original, and an espresso martini will help you make it to that midnight toast. We love the deep, dark coffee flavor of our Perfect Espresso Martini recipe made with RumISH and The Pathfinder. For a sweet and nutty twist, our New Orleans inspired Café du Monde Martini recipe with Gnista Barreled Oak and Ritual Zero Proof Rum is rich and dreamy but not too sweet. Big Easy flavors from El Guapo’s Creole Orgeat and Coffee Chicory Pecan Bitters are as scrumptious as freshly fried beignets dipped in bitter chicory coffee.
The Morning After
After you’ve slept in (or woken up early to go for that resolution run), scramble some eggs with any leftover creme fraiche, snip some chives over them, and smear the remaining caviar onto your toast. If you’ve got any non-alcoholic sparkling wine left, pop a new bottle and make mimosas. For a dose of sunshine on a cold first day of the year, pour some Liber & Co. Tropical Passionfruit Syrup into a glass and top with whatever bubbly you have left. The tart and floral fruity syrup pairs equally well with whites and rosés.
Personally, I prefer a big cup of lava hot, strong, black coffee and a savory drink with my New Year's brunch. I love a Virgin Snapper, a booze-free Bloody Mary riff with non-alc gin lending that wintery, evergreen note from juniper, made with El Guapo’s incredible Bloody Mary Mixer. El Guapo won the New Orleans Bloody Mary Festival with this recipe, and the hard-partying city knows from morning-after drinks! The secret in the sauce? A blend of spices used for Cajun seafood boils– a great excuse to garnish yours with any shrimp cocktail from the night before.
However you choose to toast 2023, we at The Zero Proof wish you a happy (and delicious) New Year! Cheers!