No matter where in the world you are come midnight on December 31st, plenty among us will be raising a glass of something delicious and toasting to the year ahead. And while Champagne might be the traditional celebratory drink for many—and certainly will feature prominently in plenty festivities—it’s not the only drink worthy of the holiday.
No one knows this better than the folks at Wine Enthusiast, who, it turns out, are enthusiastic about more than just wine. From olive brine-splashed dirty gin martinis to the herbaceous digestif Fernet-Branca, it’s looking like Wine Enthusiast staffers plan to clean out their liquor cabinets this New Year’s. Don’t worry, bubbly lovers—there will still be plenty of notable sparklers in the mix, too.
Still figuring out what you’ll be drinking? Find inspiration below as the Wine Enthusiast team shares what they’ll be cheers-ing with at twelve o’clock.
“I’m going to find a bottle of my favorite Champagne: KRUG! It’s rich, generous and takes your palate on a beautiful journey—just like how I want my 2023 to be.” —Anna-Christina Cabrales, Tasting Director
“I want 2023 to be all about balance and exploration. So, I plan on bringing in the New Year with Curious Elixirs, which are booze free, and this unfiltered cider option from Angry Orchard. There are several Curious Elixirs options. Each one is infused with various herbs, botanicals and fruits like pomegranate and rhodiola, for instance. And while they are excellent on their own, they mix well into nonalcoholic (NA) cocktails as well. I try to keep them on hand all year. I also plan on making 2023 a year I explore as many ciders as I can. This bottling is a nod to traditional American cider. And its crisp profile means it will lend itself well to the wide array of food that will be around.” —Kristen Richard, Digital Editor
“I’m wrapping up a long year with a long New Year’s Eve meal. I love seeing chefs shine with their holiday dishes—whether that is in a local restaurant or at home with my partner, who is an amazing chef. At the end of dinner, there will be a generous pour of Fernet-Branca to celebrate good food and toast the new year.” —Bonnary Lek, Director of Public Relations
“When we want to add in a bit of foamy fizzy fun to the festivities this year, we’ll pop a Los Chuchaquis Albariño “Champelli.” This ancestral method sparkler [made with] organically farmed grapes from Santa Ynez Valley and the Sierra Foothills (but a recent find at Folkways in Croton Falls, New York) is pure enjoyment you don’t have to think too hard about to love.” —John Capone, Managing Editor, Print
“My wife and I will be celebrating at home this year. We like to enjoy a cocktail before dinner. So, I’m making us Manhattans with Redemption whiskey. At midnight we are popping open the bottle of Billecart-Salmon NV Brut Rosé we bought in France during our visit to the Champagne house.” —Jacy Topps, Assistant Editor
“New Year’s Eve has become a true family style celebration amongst great friends and neighbors. I am a traditionalist, and love to ring in the New Year with a bottle of great Champagne. This year I am planning on enjoying the Le Mesnil Blanc De Blancs NV Grand Cru Champagne and am super excited to share this with some of my wine peeps that haven’t had the pleasure of trying it just yet. This 100% Grand Cru, 100% Chardonnay sparkling stunner is loaded with juicy green apple, pear and citrus fruit with just the right amount of yeasty and toasty notes, framed by a crisp and clean structure and intensified by its chalky minerality on the palate. And considering the price point is under $50, whereas other Mesnil Champagnes can run two to three times that amount, this is one of the best values out there in the Champagne world.” —Marshall Tilden III, Chief Revenue and Education Officer
“Honestly? I’m usually in bed before the clock strikes twelve—but that doesn’t mean I miss out on a little celebratory booze. Champagne is the most obvious choice, but absolutely nothing about 2022 was predictable. For that reason, I’d go for a French 75 with blood orange instead of lemon juice. It still gives bubbly, but with a light seasonal twist and (hopefully) no hangover to start the new year refreshed.” —Samantha Sette, Digital Web Producer
“True story, if given the chance, I’ll celebrate every major life event or festivity with a dirty gin martini. Birth of my first child? Dirty gin martini. First day on a new job? Dirty gin martini? New Year’s Eve? I’ll march right past the bubbles and mix myself an absolutely filthy dirty gin martini. There’s just something about an ice-cold, super-savory martini that feels celebratory, like it’s meant to be raised high in the air and toasted.” —Rachel Tepper Paley, Digital Managing Editor
“I’ll be visiting my parents this year, and since they usually have Champagne on hand, I have to get creative. Therefore, I’ll be bringing a pét-nat because they’re funky and casual, and they give me an opportunity to geek out and talk about the different ways sparkling wine is made. I haven’t picked a bottle out yet, but I’m planning on finding something fun from the Finger Lakes.” —Marco Bruno, Social Media Strategist