When the Ball Drops - December 31, 2014

It's New Years Eve and I'm not working. That never happens. Well, I'm not working behind a bar at least. Unless you would consider the counter around my kitchen a bar. So I guess I lied. I am working, on cocktails, but from the comfort of my home and for friends and family that won't complain (much) and aren't a factor in whether or not I pay rent next month.

I have always been the hostess. While other little girls were having tea parties, I was making mud pies and martinis in my backyard for all my imaginary friends. They were fantastic events.

Now I plan holidays, birthday parties, Mother's Day; I'm even hoping to host Christmas next year. Every event requires a new cocktail. Sangria in the summer, and my famous whiskey cider in the winter. And bubbles, there can always be bubbles. Most of my cocktails have bitters in them. Okay, all of them. I've converted many friends. They are now too 'spoiled' to get cocktails anywhere other then my bar at home.

I expect tonight to be another night of great friends and family, and great cocktails with great bitters.

ERIN'S FAMOUS WHISKEY CIDER

1 1/2 gallon apple juice

2 tbsp. Apple Cider Spice from Whole Spice, Napa Valley, CA

1 tangerine peel

6 whole cinnamon sticks

6 start anise

couple dashes of nutmeg

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Let simmer on very low as long as you need. It will make the house smell warm and festive. I usually put it on the stove in the afternoon and turn it up when people arrive. I keep the whiskey separate and add to the glass as I serve. This way the cider stays fresh and can also be a non-alcoholic option.

Any whiskey or rye will work great. I would imagine rum and scotch would also be options. I add about 1 1/2 oz. to 2 oz. per mug full of cider.

Now for the Bitters:

I make fresh homemade whip cream with bitters in it.

1 cup heavy whip cream

1-2 tbsp. powdered sugar to taste (depends on how sweet you want it.)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 drops Urban Moonshine Maple Bitters

10 drops Bitter Bastards Lavender Bitters

5 drops Bittercube Orange Bitters

(no Bitter Girl Bitters yet, I know)

Whip with mixer or by hand until creamy.

Pour this over the top of your Whiskey Cider and then add 5 drops of Batch One, Batch One Imposter, or Pear Jordan.