With 2011 just around the corner, have you put any thought into what you'll be serving – or just drinking -- at your New Year's Eve bash?
If you're in search of unique drinks, you've come to the right place. In anticipation of 2011's birthday, we found local experts willing to share their recipes for a few drinks worth sampling on Friday night or in the future.
At the Sewickley Hotel on Beaver Street, front-of-the-house manager Melissa St. Clair, who also acts as bartender, recommends a white chocolate martini. It makes a pleasing presentation, St. Clair said, and ladies love these sweet drinks.
"We've been selling a ton of them for the holidays," she said.
Served in a chocolate-swirled glass, the martini combines Godiva White Chocolate liqueur with vodka. But if dessert drinks aren't your thing, St. Clair also is a fan of the bar's homemade sangria.
"We make it by the vat," she said.
The Sewickley Hotel uses a recipe stolen from St. Clair's neighbor that calls for a simple combination of different wines, sugar and fresh-squeezed fruits. The blend has been a hit with patrons ever since the bar began serving it last year, according to St. Clair.
"My neighbor had the best sangria I'd ever tasted," she said. "I told them, they had to get it here."
Down the road at Pizza Roma, bartender Amanda Glasser said the restaurant had been switching up holiday-related martinis and drink specials every Friday since the month began. Among the options at the bar are the poinsettia martini and the spiked eggnog, which combines Southern Comfort with basic eggnog mix served over ice. Sprinkled on top is a dusting of cinnamon.
While Glasser was unsure what cocktail would make the cut for the bar's New Year celebration, she did know one item that would be featured prominently – beer.
On Friday, she said, Pizza Roma will feature $1 domestic bottles from 10 p.m. to midnight. Back at the Sewickley Hotel, St. Clair said the hotel also would welcome in the New Year with drink and dinner special. The venue also will provide music by Chuck Moses, who specializes in classic rock.
St. Clair said the historic hotel, which was constructed in the early 1890s as a rest stop for weary travelers, attracted a large crowd last New Year's Eve. She's expecting more of the same for 2011.
"I think we're going to be really, really busy," she said.
White Chocolate Martini:
- Two ounces of Godiva Dark Chocolate liqueur
- Two ounces of Crème de Cacao
- One ounce of half-and-half
- Two ounces of vodka
- Combine the Godiva Chocolate liqueur, Crème de Cacao, and vodka into a cocktail shaker half-full of ice.
- Add the half-and-half to the shaker and gently swirl.
- Strain the mixture into a martini glass swirled with chocolate sauce.
Sewickley Hotel's Sangria
- One bottle of Shiraz
- One bottle of chardonnay
- One cup of sugar
- Oranges and cherries
- Combine the wines with the sugar.
- Squeeze in the fruits.
- Chill, place in punch bowl and serve.
Eggnog by Pizza Roma
- Southern Comfort rum liqueur
- Eggnog mix
- In a cocktail shaker, combine one part SoCo with two parts eggnog mix.
- Strain mixture over ice and serve.