What Can I Serve at a New Year’s Party if I’m Too Broke To Buy Nice Champagne?


Chris asks: I’m hosting a New Year’s Eve party, but I’m broke and can’t spend a lot of money on decent champagne. Is there something else I can give my guests all night — so that I only have to serve nice bubbly for the midnight toast — but still feel festive?

Dear Chris: Short answer — yes!

A couple of champagne-based cocktails come to mind, and they seem a little bit more dressed up than a mimosa, which really only feels appropriate for breakfast or brunch, or a champagne cocktail, which actually does require decent-tasting (thus more costly) sparkling wine, as well as sugar cubes, bitters, and brandy.

Joy Richard’s champagne-and-whiskey punch recipe, featured in Imbibe, certainly tops my list.

Blending dry champagne, rye whiskey, lemon, strawberry and simple syrups, Richard’s concoction winds up being a light-tasting, albeit boozy, punch with festive, sweet fruits and nuanced, refreshing citrus. Though the blend of liquor and wine might sound gross, I tested it on some friends at a Thanksgiving potluck several weeks back, and they all enjoyed it thoroughly. Just make sure to use enough simple syrup.

Not only is the drink a crowd-pleaser: You can use relatively inexpensive champy and rye to make a very sizable batch.

Another great thing? Unlike most punches, which require a fair amount of fridge time, you can prep this elixir within minutes.

Another option comes from Jason Corey, owner of the Immigrant. Corey’s Black Velvet recipe calls for equal parts of champagne and Irish stout, poured into flutes. Though “surprisingly good,” the fact that the cocktail contains lots heavy, dark beer means that you don’t have to worry too much about footing the bill for super-chichi bubbly — you probably won’t be able to taste it.