Cheers to the New Year

My family has had many reasons to cheers this New Year: moving, new job opportunities, and celebrating our first wedding anniversary. I hope that many of you have had lots of reasons to cheers this year as well. I am sure some of you sipped some bubbly while announcing your new engagement! So in honor of those special moments I have shared some of my favorite signature cocktails for you to cheers with on your big day!

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French Quarter Cocktail:

Ingredients

1/4 cup spiced light rum
1/4 cup dark rum
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
Splash of grenadine
4 maraschino cherries, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker and four tall glasses with ice. Pour the rums and the orange and pineapple juices into shaker; add the grenadine. Shake well. Pour through a fine sieve into each glass. Garnish each cocktail with a maraschino cherry.

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Punchy Cocktail:

Ingredients

1 cup guava juice
1 cup passion fruit juice
1 cup lychee juice
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed key lime (or regular lime) juice
1/2 cup tangerine juice
Lime slices, for garnish

Mix guava, passion fruit, and lychee juices (we like Ceres brand) in a large pitcher. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of the fruit-juice mixture with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and strain, discarding basil.
Pour infused juice back into pitcher, and stir in lime and tangerine juices. (Optional: Add 1 cup rum.) Ladle over ice and garnish with basil and lime.

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Watermelon Bloody Mary’s (even the kids can enjoy this one!):

Ingredients

12 cups watermelon chunks (from one 4-pound watermelon, rind removed), plus pieces, for serving
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Ice, for serving
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
13 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle, or celery salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 to 1 1/4 cups vodka
Celery stalks, for serving

Working in batches, puree watermelon (with seeds) and sugar in blender. Strain into a bowl through a fine sieve, pressing with a rubber spatula; discard solids. (You will have 5 1/2 cups juice.)
For children’s drinks: Divide 2 1/2 cups juice among 4 ice-filled glasses.

For adults’ drinks: Stir remaining 3 cups watermelon juice with tomato juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and celery seeds in a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice. Season with pepper. Stir in vodka and divide among 4 ice-filled glasses.

Garnish adult drinks with a piece of watermelon and a celery stalk.

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And last but not least a good ole Southern favorite with a twist….Spearmint Juleps:

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark
1 cup packed fresh spearmint, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
2 to 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
Ice cubes, for serving

Combine bourbon and mint in a large pitcher, cover, and refrigerate 12 hours or up to 1 day. Strain, discarding mint. Add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Divide julep mixture among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish each with a mint sprig.

Photos and Recipes: Martha Stewart

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