By BRENNA GRITEMAN
We’ve all been there.
On New Year’s Eve, amid the clinking of glasses and the general merriment, we boldly proclaim “Midnight Rejoice!”
Mere hours later, as the sunlight pours through the blinds and the alarm clock blares, we move on to “Resolutions:” “I’m never drinking again.”
As 2019 nears, prospective revelers are no doubt making plans for how, where and with whom they will ring in the new year. For many, whether they’re planning a night on the town or a more civilized celebration at home, adult beverages will be a part of the festivities.
The Gathering’s Jeffery Foor, bar manager, offers two drinks — one alcoholic and one nonalcoholic — to help you ring in the new year and/or recover the next morning. Whip up “Midnight Rejoice” and “Resolutions” in your own kitchen, or let the downtown hotspot do the heavy lifting, as Foor says both beverages will be featured on the New Year’s Eve drink menu.
Both beverages were created specially for The Courier’s House Specialties column, Foor says, and each was dreamed up specifically with New Year’s Eve in mind.
Midnight Rejoice, for instance, combines a trio of liqueurs, including creme de violette, creme de cassis (made from black currants) and Luxardo maraschino (made from the skins of maraschino cherries), with the black currant offering a seasonally appropriate flavor profile. The main ingredient in the cocktail is vermouth and, this being New Year’s, it’s all topped with a sparkling Prosecco.
“You have to have Champagne on New Year’s. Or, you know, some kind of sparkling wine,” Foor says, explaining that Champagne, specifically, should be enjoyed on its own rather than mixed into a cocktail.
A bit of homemade sage simple syrup is incorporated into the beverage, with a sprig of thyme — “time” being another nod to the countdown to a new year — garnishing the glass.
“Of course, because I named it Midnight Rejoice, you have to have thyme in there,” Foor says, adding the herb also plays on the florals of the violette liqueur.
While many of these ingredients may be foreign to the at-home bartender, Foor notes they were all purchased at Findlay’s Beverage Barn. Some subbing can be done for individual preferences, but he suggests not compromising on the Dolin vermouth.
And, don’t be at all intimidated at the task of making sage simple syrup. It’s created by simply simmering equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat, then adding a few sage leaves and simmering for 1 minute more. Foor recommends using the simple syrup sparingly: “It gives it (the cocktail) depth and complexity, but you don’t want to make it too sweet.”
Resolutions, too, utilizes the sage simple syrup, this time combined with fresh blueberries and ginger. Shaken with a squeeze of lemon and topped with Angostura Lemon Lime and Bitters (or the flavored, sparkling water of your choosing), the mocktail is a cleansing, rejuvenating choice for nondrinkers — or for those requiring a boost of antioxidants following a long night of rejoicing.
And, it’s every bit as aesthetically pleasing as its alcoholic counterpart.
“It’s all about the aesthetics,” Foor says. “The simplest cocktail can wow somebody, just by presentation alone.”
“I think you have to accommodate everyone,” Foor adds of those revelers who for any number of reasons choose not to partake. “They still want to feel inclusive to their surroundings and the social scene.”
As a bartender, Foor has been fueling this social scene for the past 10 years. He developed an interest in the hospitality industry at age 10, hanging around the Paris Night Club in Toledo which was owned by his grandparents.
Foor has been the Gathering’s bar manager for about a year and a half, during which time he has used his creativity and expertise to develop a New Orleans styled, Prohibition era-inspired drink menu that complements the restaurant’s brand nicely. His use of house-made ingredients and infusions has cultivated a “scratch bar” menu that is drawing a following locally.
“Every cocktail has a personality,” he says. “It’s a form of expression, too. I express myself through my cocktails.”
Juice of ½ lime
¼ ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
¼ ounce Creme de Violette
¼ ounce Creme de Cassis
¾ ounce Dolin vermouth
Sage simple syrup
Lime peel, to garnish
Sprig of thyme, to garnish
Mix lime juice, maraschino liqueur, creme de violette liqueur, creme de cassis liqueur and vermouth in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
Add a few drops of sage simple syrup, made from simmering equal parts sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add sage leaves and simmer for 1 minute.
Top with Prosecco and a twisted lime peel as garnish. Add a sprig of thyme as an extra, fragrant garnish.
7-8 fresh blueberries
1 piece fresh ginger
Sage simple syrup
Angostura Lemon Lime and Bitters
(or any flavored, sparkling water)
Muddle blueberries, ginger, a squeeze of lemon and a few drops sage simple syrup.
Pour into cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
Pour into tumbler and top with Angostura Lemon Lime and Bitters.
Garnish with twisted lemon peel.