New Year’s Eve is about celebrating the new year with friends and family, but more importantly it’s for drinking. Of course bubbles are an essential item (and there’ll be plenty of them in this guide) but also a spirit or two and something to gift the brave person who’s decided to host a party this year. So whether you’re staying home on the sofa or doing shots well into the early hours, here’s a few choices to bring in 2022.
I’ll first suggest nice nice red wine for those who choose to stay in this year and just have a relaxing night by the telly, there’s no shame in having a glass or 2 and then calling it a night at 10.30pm. That’s what I tell myself every year anyway!
Domaine Bousquet Organic Malbec 2020 has such a tantalising flavour because the grapes benefit from major diurnal temperature swings, achieving exuberant ripeness while retaining the juiciness that invites a second glass. Packed with effusive notes of blackberry, damson and cassis overlain with a subtle hint of spice, an aromatic note of floral violet adds to its heady charm. Brilliant with steak but I enjoyed it with a selection of strong cheeses and cured meats.
Pussanga is a flavoursome liqueur from Germany, made with a selection of fruits, herbs and plants including pomegranate, vanilla, cardamom, ginger, chilli and more. It is recommended for mixing with tonic or even a sparkling wine which I would certainly enjoy in the summer months but I loved this with a lemonade and some fresh berries as a simple cocktail. At 38% it’s a strong but surprisingly tasty drink that is very likely to impress your guests and keep you warm inside this cold new year’s eve night.
It wouldn’t be new year’s eve without a glass of gin and tonic so I of course have to include a couple here. The first comes all the way from down under, Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin, distilled with 25 botanicals, 17 of which are native to the local rainforest. Brookie’s Dry Gin is a Australian interpretation of a classic London Dry Gin, made with a hefty recipe of botanicals including Byron sunrise finger lime, cinnamon myrtle, aniseed myrtle, river mint, raspberry, macadamia and more. This works particularly well in a Gin Martini or any gin cocktail of your choice.
The other gin I can recommend comes from a bit closer to home; Highclere Castle Gin is distilled from botanicals hand chosen from the castle’s English gardens. With no less than 32 prestigious international gold awards to date, this gin is one that truly stands out from the rest in terms of prestige and luxury. It’s distinctive purple bottle makes a wonderful gift for your host but the taste alone is enough to make you want to keep this one to yourself. Enjoyed in the “Highclere Style” for over a century, the traditional method of indulgence involves a cocktail made with gin, tonic, a fresh orange squeeze and peel, and finished with a rosemary sprig from the garden. Perfection!
On to the bubbles, the contemporary, forward thinking and fashionable rebel Maison of champagne, Frerejean Frères is leading a quiet revolution in the industry, creating artisanal champagnes focussed on unrivalled craftsmanship. Frerejean Frères Brut Premier Cru NV is a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, aged for a minimum of five years, producing an elegant champagne embodying the richness of the Frerejean Frères terroir. Low Brut dosage and late disgorgement mean that it’s both balanced and generous with notes of dried fruit, honey and almonds on the nose and a taste of apples and pears, candied fruits and brioche.
Drappier Carte d’Or Brut Champagne NV expresses all the aromas of the noble grape variety Pinot Noir, the dominant proportion of the grape variety gives the Carte d’Or similar flavours of a fine Blanc de Noirs. A red grape producing white juice, it is sought after not only for its structure but also for its very characteristic fine notes of red fruits. The taste begins with stone fruits such as white vineyard peaches then a spicy note emerges in a powerful and complex mouthfeel. A vinous Champagne of grand complexity that would certainly impress those who enjoy a much more complex flavour of champagne.
40 years on since Maison Bruno Paillard was founded, its Première Cuvée Extra Brut remains the flagship of the portfolio. A Multi Vintage Champagne the Première Cuvée Extra Brut is a very personal interpretation of the region. On the nose there is first lime and grapefruit then the red fruits of the pinot noir such as the redcurrant, raspberry and morello cherries. On the palette it is lively and vivacious with the primary flavours of citrus and almonds as well as dark fruits like cherry, fig and blackberries. Above all, it is a blend of vineyards, varieties and of vintages with a quite long, very clean finish.
Ca del Bosco, Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige, Edizione RS is an exceptional sparkling wine, method Champagne. It is made from 75% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Bianco and 15% Pinot Nero, all vinified separately which gives it a spectacular finish. On the palate there is a delightful fizz as the wine almost evaporates on the tongue with flavours of peaches and biscuits. Supremely balanced with fantastic length it is available in Selfridges.
Finally we come to something very special which I have not only saved until last but have also saved in my wine cellar. Or at least I would if I had one. Chateau de Pommard- Clos Marey Monge Monopole is a complex, generous and aromatic wine. With notes of dried flowers, roses and red fruit, highlighted by peppery notes this wine is about power and elegance. The palate is fresh, round and generous, while the tannins are silky with a light sweetness. This is clearly a powerful, refined wine but one which must be aged – the château suggests up to 25 years. So for that reason I would suggest this as a gift for someone close to you, as a reminder of the hard times we’ve endured over the past 2 years and a symbol of hope that you will enjoy a glass with them in the future. If you need any other suggestions for drinks to enjoy on the night you can also have a read of my Christmas Drinks Guide.
And with the thought of leaving 2021 behind and looking into the future, here’s wishing all our readers a Happy New Year and all the best for 2022.