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Champagne alternatives to spruce up New Year's Eve

Colorful, affordable cocktails your friends will love.
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Posted at 5:00 AM, Dec 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-29 08:53:03-05

For most people, buying champagne is something that happens once a year for New Year's Eve. But, you don't have to have a champagne budget for a champagne taste.

Molly Wellmann is a professional mixologist, who has been featured in Esquire Magazine and other publications for her unique drinks.

For New Year's Eve, she said, "I think people are looking for something a little different. I mean champagne is great, but you can spruce up champagne."

Wellmann suggests you dazzle your guests with something different, that can cost less than fancy bubbly.

We met her at a favorite bar of hers, Uncle Leo's, where she showed us some colorful, inexpensive drinks for the big night.

The Boothby cocktail

One hot cocktail these days, she said, "is called a Boothby, and it dates back to 1900."

The Boothby cocktail mixes bourbon, sweet vermouth, and sparkling white wine.

"We are just going to put a little bubbly on there, and voila," she said. (Full recipe below)

Passion Fruit French 75 cocktail

She also suggests a Passion Fruit French 75 from World War I, made with gin, passion fruit juice, and for a little sweetness, some simple syrup.

And then, add a touch of sparking wine, with no need for expensive champagne. (Full recipe below)

Adam Teeter of VinePair says champagne is pricey because "it is a protected name from a specific region of France."

To get the champagne feel at a lower price, Teeter recommends trying cava, which is made the same way as champagne, or prosecco from Italy, which has a much more affordable price tag.

"You should not spend more than $25 for a prosecco," he said,

Teeter and Wellmann both suggest using it in a cocktail to save on cost.

Meantime, if it all looks great, but it might be too much alcohol for some of your guests, Wellmann says there is no need to worry.

Non-alcoholic holiday mule

She says there are also some great non-alcoholic New Year's drinks.

She recommends a non-alcoholic holiday mule, with cranberry juice, fresh lime juice, and finally, alcohol-free ginger beer.

"This is just a beautiful holiday drink," Wellmann said.

"As more and more people discover the old things," she said, "they are bringing them back!"

So consider some colorful and affordable champagne alternatives this year, so you don't waste your money.

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Molly Wellmann's New Year's cocktails

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Molly Wellmann's New Year's Recipes:

Boothby cocktail

1.5 Oz bourbon, .5 Oz sweet vermouth, dash bitters, 2 Oz Champagne.
Add bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters to a mixing glass, add ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with champagne

Passion 75

1.5oz gin , .5oz fresh lemon juice , .25oz simple syrup, 1 oz passion fruit juice, 2 oz Champagne.
Add gin, lemon, simple syrup and passion juice to a cocktail shaker add ice, shake shake shake. Strain into a champagne flute and carefully top with champagne

Spiced cranberry non-alcoholic mule

1 oz Spiced cranberry juice
.5 fresh lime juice
4 oz non-alcoholic ginger beer
Add all ingredients into a collins glass over ice. Stir and enjoy

Spiced cranberry: In a bottle or jar, add cranberry juice and add cinnamon sticks. Whole clove, allspice, and star anis. Let infuse at least over night.

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