A smooch at midnight, fireworks, colorful underwear, a rousing rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” and a plateful of Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day. The traditions of New Year’s Eve are many and varied, but among the best known is a champagne toast as the clock strikes twelve.
Tipping a glass of bubbly to ring the new year is rumored to have began in the 17th century, thanks to an innovative monk named Dom Perignon (whose very name tells the tale). Perignon developed a method for bottling sparking wine without the pressure that would normally cause it to shatter. Thicker glass and a wire cage around the cork solved the problem, but wasn’t cheap. Sparkling wine became associated with prosperity and was reserved for special events, most notable New Year’s Eve. A tradition was born.
Not every New Year’s toast uses champagne (a sparkling wine must be bottled in Champagne, France to bear that name). Some even forego wine for family-friendly sparkling cider or grape juice. If it sparkles, bubbles and the glasses are raised high, the tradition remains intact.
This year we will toast the new year with a colorful twist on a champagne cocktail. Similar to the Kir Royale, the Pimm’s Royale is a simple cocktail of champagne and Pimm’s No. 1, a gin-based liqueur with quinine, spices, and citrus with warm reddish-brown color and a recipe that remains a well-kept secret to this day. A splash of Pimm’s and a burst of color, thanks to select fresh berries bobbing in the glass, add great flavor and festive flair to a New Year’s classic. Although the Pimm’s Royale is usually garnished with strawberries, a variety raspberries, blackberries or blueberries in the glasses are a pretty and colorful way to toast good times, great friends and a happy and healthy year to come.
- 1 ounce Pimm’s No. 1
- Champagne or other sparkling wine.
- Approximately 2 tablespoons fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or strawberries)
Pour Pimm’s No. 1 into champagne flute.
Add selected berries to the glass.
Top off glass with champagne and serve.
Originally: A New Year’s Eve Cocktail