While champagne is the classic choice for your New Year's Eve toast, fill the hours leading up to midnight with seasonal and celebratory cocktails. Local bars and restaurants are getting in on the action with sipping specials and a few you can make at home before popping the bubbly.
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The Dutch (943 E. University Blvd.)The Dutch is getting in the holiday spirit all season long. Stop by for a Chef Marcus van Winden special, traditional Dutch Bisschopswijn. Perfect for warming up on a chilly day, this mulled wine will be available through Nieuwjaarsreceptie, the New Year's reception at the Dutch celebrated on Jan. 5.
Named after Saint Nicholas, this recipe is the perfect winter drink for the entire holiday season.
Make it at Home:
If you want to cozy up by the fireside this holiday season instead of battling the crowds of crazed party-goers this New Year's, you can make your very own Bisschopswijn at home:
First pick your favorite bottle of sweet red wine and simmer—don't let it boil or the alcohol will evaporate—with an orange sliced in half, cinnamon, star anise and cloves. For a bit of extra sweetness, add in a bit of sugar or honey.
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Reforma Modern Mexican (4340 N. Campbell Ave.)
Mezcal + Tequila: Add a little Southwest flair to your New Year's festivities at Reforma Modern Mexican.
Before the time rolls around to pop the Bubbly, try a Barrel Aged Margarita. This classy creation includes Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila, Cointreau, Agave Nectar, lime and citrus.
The magic comes when the mixture is aged in-house in oak barrels for a minimum of two months to allow the flavors to meld.
Described as a crisp, smooth-drinking margarita, this dreamy drink is served chilled and up with a half-salted rim. It's sure to keep you bailando all night long!
One to Make at Home:
Specially for New Year's Eve, the mixologists and mezcal masters at Reforma have shared the secrets to making their cocktail El Chingon at home.
With a name that means "badass," this cocktail is sure to get the fiesta started this New Year. Similar to a classic old fashioned with a twist, this is a perfect party drink for bourbon lovers. Smoky mezcal mixes with sweet agave and herbal bitters for a winning combination that lives up to its name.
1 oz Herradura Ultra Anejo tequila
.5 oz Sombra mezcal
.5 oz squeeze of agave nectar
2 dashes of angostura bitters
Add ingredients into cocktail shaker, add ice, stir, strain over ice into a rocks glass, garnish with the orange peel.
Sky Bar (536 N. Fourth Ave.)
As fireworks light up the night sky around the world to ring in the New Year, head over to Sky Bar for their NYE special. Called Mia Bella, the cocktail works to embody the local desert and according to the experts behind the bar, it's strong, sweet, a little complex and full of life. Mia Bella takes on the taste of Tucson with Jack Daniels Honey with fresh lemon juice, a rosemary-thyme simple syrup and a splash of champagne, garnished with fresh lemon and a slice of jalapeno for good measure.
Good Oak Bar (316 E. Congress St.)
The Good Oak Bar, located right next to the Rialto, is the perfect spot to stop in for a cocktail on your way to midnight festivities on New Year's Eve. On this special night they are mixing up two cocktails for your celebratory delight.
The French 75
After eating a grapefruit, most people throw away the peels, but not Good Oak Bar. This New Year's Eve they are mixing the peels with raw sugar to create a grapefruit shrub that will add an aromatic, but not sweet, touch to this classic bubbly cocktail. With dry sparkling wine from Gruet in New Mexico, you can keep in time with the Southwest celebrations ringing in the new year.
The Old Fashioned
As the years continue to roll by there is something so good about a timeless classic. Sip on an Old Fashioned this New Year's Eve as you wait for 2019 to come and 2018 to go. Classic bourbon mixed with bitters, overproof rye and burnt sugar syrup, the secret is in the proportions. Let the cocktail connoisseurs at Good Oak transport you to a different time this New Year's Eve with such luxuries as a well-made drink poured over a hand-carved ice cube.
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Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink/Beer Garden/Tough Luck Club (101 E. Pennington St.)
How many establishments are located at 101 E Pennington St.? Maybe one, maybe three, we are not really sure. But somewhere you can get dinner, then hang in the beer garden for a while before finally descending the stairs to the speakeasy below? We're in. And this New Year's Eve, triple the establishments means triple the drink specials.
In the Reilly's dining room indulge in a glass of Segura Viudas for $6, a glass of cava/ varichon & Clerc for $7 or celebrate with discounted full bottles.
If it's not too chilly this Tucson January, or once you've warmed up with a few drinks inside, head out to the beer garden for a complimentary beer toast at midnight.
Keep the fun going all night at the Tough Luck Club downstairs, where specials include Segura Viudas by the glass for $6 and complimentary toast at midnight. Cocktail specials include the Junglebird, Red Light Negroni, Air Mail and Kir Royale.
El Corral (2201 E. River Road)
Travel back in time and ring in the new year with a taste of the old West at El Corral. The historic ranch-style restaurant located on River Road is serving up a medley of two classics in their New Year's Eve cocktail special this year. Aptly named the Y'all Lang Syne, this cocktail includes Gentleman Jack, Gran Marnier, angostura bitters, orange bitters and sparkling wine. A perfect blend between an Old Fashioned and a classic NYE Champagne toast, this drink will help you count down the hours until the old becomes the new. Garnished with a maraschino cherry and an orange twist, Y'all Lang Syne will add some Wild West flair to your festivities this New Year's Eve.