Bring out the bubbly for New Year's Eve

Hinsdale mixologists share their favorite recipes for making holiday cocktails at home

When choosing a libation, Allen Rodriguez of Fuller House in Hinsdale prefers bourbon. But on New Year's Eve, he likes to bring out the bubbles.

Rodriguez said cocktails with a lower alcohol content are a good choice for ringing in the new year because they allow folks to sip throughout the hours leading up to the big event. And of course, nothing says Happy New Year like a sparkling glass of champagne or its Italian sister, prosecco.

Influenced by Rodriguez's recent trip to Columbia, Fuller House's New Year's Eve menu will feature a champagne concoction that includes South American influences. Cachaca, Brazil's national spirit, offers a unique twist to the cocktail that Rodriguez has dubbed "A Burning Passion" for its use of passion fruit in place of orange juice.

A Burning Passion

2 ounces prosecco

1 1/2 ounces cachaca

1/2 ounces Yellow Chartreuse

1/2 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce Tippleman's Double Spiced Falernum cocktail syrup

Pulp of one passion fruit

2 dashes persimmon bitters

Add all ingredients except for prosecco into a shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Top with prosecco and garnish with fresh mint.

Fuller House will be open New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. New Year's Eve guests will be treated to a Champagne toast at midnight, something that's become a tradition at the downtown Hinsdale restaurant.

A French twist

The creative minds at Vistro have put their own twist on the French 75 this New Year's Eve with a pair of variations to the classic Champagne cocktail.

The classic French 75 is typically concocted of gin, Champagne, lemon juice and sugar. By substituting chamomile syrup for regular simple syrup, the cocktail takes on a brighter flavor, said bar manager Patrick Hipes. Another version uses armagnac in place of gin to offer a warmer, richer take on the classic drink.

"I'm a big fan of classic cocktails," he said, but with a twist to make it unique. The French 75 has it all, Hipes said - brightness, bubbles and a bit of booze.

"That hits on all levels for me," he said. "It's always sort of been a favorite of Paul's (Virant and Vistro owner and chef) and of guests at the restaurant."

Those who visit Vistro on New Year's Eve can try either version, or whichever cocktail they prefer, along with a full menu of culinary choices. Beer, wine and champagne are available for carryout, along with Vistro's full kitchen menu.

Hipes said there is much to celebrate, even if more people choose to do so at home this year.

"It doesn't mean we can't raise a glass and share our excitement of going into a new year," he said.

Vistro French 75

1 ounce North Shore Distillery Modern Gin No. 6

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce chamomile syrup*


Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker except Champagne, add ice to top and shake for 8-10 seconds. Strain into champagne flute or coupe and top with champagne. Add a twist of orange peel.

* To make chamomile syrup brew chamomile tea about twice as strong as you would normally. Add sugar in a 1:1 ratio (e.g. 1 cup tea and 1 cup sugar) and mix until incorporated.

Top shelf is the best shelf

The difference between a good cocktail and a great cocktail is in the quality of the ingredients, said Scott Jordan, general manager at Il Poggiolo in Hinsdale.

That means squeezing fresh juices and using top-shelf spirits, just like they do at Il Poggiolo.

"It definitely makes a difference in the quality of the product," Jordan said.

Drawing from the Italian influences that shape the entire Il Poggiolo menu, the staff has created a decidedly Italian take on a bubbly cocktail for this New Year's. The Prosecco Flute combines sparkling white wine with the bright flavors of pomegranate and cranberry for a libation that could double as a brunch beverage on New Year's Day.

Il Poggiolo's heated tent will be open to diners this New Year's Eve, and each will be offered the chance to order one of the special holiday cocktails created by Il Poggiolo's creative culinary minds, assistant manager Angel Rangel and bartender Cleo Hernandez.

Jordan said the speciality cocktails created for the holidays will remain available for as long as people enjoy drinking them.

Meanwhile, do-it-yourself mixologists are encouraged to try them at home.

Prosecco Flute

1 ounce pomegranate liqueur

1 ounce cranberry juice


Fresh pomegranate seeds

Combine the liqueur and cranberry juice in a flute. Top with prosecco and garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds.

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean