New Year’s Eve is only a couple days away, and a lot of cocktail guides are going to give you a list of specific drinks you can prepare for whatever party you’re attending.
This is going to be a little different. Since we’re located in Chicago, the capital of improv, I’m providing you a guide on how to add improvisation to your cocktail-making. No matter what your host has at their bar, you should be able to mix a drink or two for yourself or fellow guests. Here are the assumptions I’m working under:
You are a guest at the party. Maybe you enjoy pre-batching punch, mulled wine, or complex cocktails and bringing them to a party. But even if you do, sometimes circumstances prevent you from bringing more than a few bottles. And if you’re attending more than one party? Yeah, you’ll want this flexibility.
Your host has some basics, like citrus juice, soda, sugar, a few spirits, and maybe even a mixer or two. I’m also assuming that there will be more than enough champagne and sparkling wine to go around.
You only have capacity to bring a few things. I, for one, cannot afford Jim Meehan’s bartender bag, so I’m limited to what I can carry in my trusty backpack. This means a couple bottles of spirits, a couple smaller bottles/jars for mixers, and a few small bottles of bitters.
So many options, so few hours left in the year…
With those in mind, here are some simple cocktails using the limited ingredients you might have in front of you, Iron Chef-style. I’ve also broken out a a recipe in each category, variations on existing cocktails to surprise you and your fellow revelers.