They say the person you kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve is the person you’ll spend the rest of the year with. Applying that bit of logic to my beverage of choice means that a beer on New Year’s Eve should yield another year filled with great brews. And what we all need after 2016 is more beer, please.
I love a nice glass of prosecco and I never miss a champagne toast, but today I’m sharing a great recipe to incorporate beer into your New Year’s Eve celebration.
Funky sour beer + crisp dry cider + lemon simple syrup = a beer cocktail with a tangy sweetness and plenty of bubbles. What I like most about this recipe from the Kitchn is that it isn’t heavy or too sweet, like a lot of beer cocktails, and you can customize it for your event.
I used a traditional Belgian gueuze, which is a very sour lambic without fruit added. The Brouwerij Lindemans Cuvee Rene was a good fit for this recipe because of its lemony notes. Next time, I want to try it with the Bruery’s Rueuze now that their beer is available in Minnesota. You can also make this recipe with a fruity lambic, like raspberry or strawberry, and cut down on the tartness. With all of the sours coming out of local breweries like Fair State, Wild Mind, Indeed and others, I would also bet that any dry, funky sour available locally would be a good stand-in for the gueuze.
For the cider, I went with Sweetland Orchard’s Northern Spy because of its dry finish, complex fruit flavor, and champagne-like carbonation. I also wanted to avoid too much malt or hop character because the cider needs to act as a sweet, fruity counterpoint to the sour beer. Luckily, there are so many dry ciders produced in Minnesota!
It makes a great cocktail for a large party or intimate celebration, depending on how you prepare it. I made the lemon sugar and simple syrup in advance and assembled the cocktails as guests arrived. It was a huge hit for me last year!
- 2 lemons (the Kitchn recommends meyer lemons)
- 1/4 cup + 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 750 mL bottle lambic beer, like Cuvee Rene
- 1 750 mL dry hard cider
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Finely zest one of the lemons with a microplane grater or zester and mix it with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Give it a quick pulse in a food processor or blender to release more lemony oil from the zest. Pour sugar mixture on a parchment-lined rimmed cookie sheet and place in the oven. Turn off the heat and let the sugar dry out in the oven for 30 minutes.
- While the sugar is drying, juice the lemons until you have 1/4 cup liquid. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Add lemon juice to the syrup and store in an airtight container.
- With the cocktail glass of your choosing, lightly wet the rim with lemon juice or water and dip the glass in the rimming sugar. Pour in equal parts cider and lambic and 1 T of simple syrup, and give it a stir. Make a batch cocktail by combining all of the ingredients and pouring into sugar-rimmed glasses.
- Say goodbye to 2016 by drinking special releases available this year like the latest in Summit’s Unchained Series or Surly Ten.
- Pour a 2015 or 2016 version of your favorite barrel-aged beer and tuck another bottle away for NYE 2017. I’ve got a bottle of 2016 Barrel Aged Double Shot Double Black by Bent Paddle that is sure to keep me up until the ball drops next year.
- Celebrate the new kids on the block by enjoying beers from local breweries that opened in 2016 like Wild Mind Ales, or Modist Brewing, winner of the Growler Magazine’s Best New Brewery Kind-Of-A-Big-Deal award.
Cheers to a Happy New Year and see you all in 2017!