Well kids, we made it!
Judging from all the puffy eyes, shambling and moans I assume everyone had a great time on New Years and probably toasted the end of 2016 with a variety of libations that they’re now regretting. That’s great! We needed a party to forget last year’s unrelenting weirdness and tragedy.
We lost a lot of great people who filled our lives with music and fantasy and all the things that keep us young. I lost my grandfather, my dog, my house was ravaged twice by floods and my shed collapsed with both bikes inside. It was a hellish year!
But enough doom! Like many others, we mixed up a couple of custom cocktails on New Year’s Eve and celebrated with a loud sigh of relief. Now that we’ve survived I’ve been tinkering with the recipe and figure I’d share it, even though most of us are still nursing a week-long hangover. *laughs*
The base isn’t hard alcohol like so many of my favourite cocktails, but elderflower liqueur and sparkling wine tarted up with homemade cranberry syrup. The elderflower’s vanilla-like softness balances the cranberry bite and lends a really nice flavour and colour to the ubiquitous New Year’s bubbly. We went with both a dry sparkler and a bottle of Prosecco, the later paired much better.
The drink’s beautiful red-to-gold layered effect reminded me of the cover of my favourite album of 2016: Tycho’s Epoch. I therefore named the drink The New Horizon after the best track on said album and ‘cause that’s where we’re all looking now…To the horizon.
Cranberry Syrup (Makes 1 Small Mason Jar Full – Enough for 10 to 15 Cocktails)
- 2 Cups (160g) Fresh Cranberries
- 1 Cup (160g) White Sugar
- 1 Cup (235ml) Water
- 4 Star Anise pods (13g)
- ½ Cinnamon Stick (3g)
- Juice and Zest of ½ an Orange (30ml)
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and fire it up over high heat until it comes to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 12 minutes or until all the cranberries start to break down. Strain the liquid in the pan through a fine mesh to get a nice smooth syrup and discard any solids. Pop a top on it when it cools down and refrigerate for up to three weeks.
The New Horizon Cocktail (Makes 2 cocktails at a time)
- 1 oz. (30ml) Cranberry Syrup (recipe above)
- 1 oz. (30ml) St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
- Juice of ½ an Orange (30ml)
- Sparkling Wine
- Mix the cranberry syrup, elderflower liqueur and orange juice in a cocktail shaker with a scoop of ice cubes. Lock it and shake the bejessus out of it for half a minute or until frost forms on the outside of the shaker.
- Fine strain into two chilled champagne flutes (or any tall, sexy glassware that will show off the cocktail’s colours) and top each glass with sparkling wine. Garnish with a couple cranberries, a long, thin orange peel or just let that beautiful layered look speak for itself… just make sure to give it a stir before sipping!
“It Wasn’t All Bad!” – Five Albums From 2016 That We Loved
Com Truse – Sillicon Tare
Imagine crafting an entire album of nu-disco bangers but all you had to sample was bits and pieces of the Stranger Things soundtrack. Yes! Distorted synths wash back and forth across a whole spectrum of emotion from giddiness to detached cool to straight-up paranoia. It perfectly reflects the mood of 2016. (Pick it up Here @ Amazon)
DJ Shadow – The Mountain Will Fall
The man who got us all into cut-ups and basically kickstarted trip-hop back in the 90s has returned with a glitch-filled record that is equal parts atmosphere and party. (Pick it up Here @ Amazon)
Edamame – Ochre
I feel old when people use words like “glo-fi” and “chillwave” to describe all the stuff I still refer to as “downtempo” music, but it’s all just the same ‘ol lazy, soothing stuff I remember eating up in the mid-aughts. Edamame’s delicious new LP is a perfect example of all this: light beats and breezy melodies that soothe the soul without commanding your attention; Perfect for writing. (Pick it up Here @ Amazon)
Mammal Hands – Floa
Mammal Hands is three young uber-musicians from the UK who look like early Weezer and sound like nothing else I’ve ever heard. Floa is their most cinematic and hypnotic jazz experiment yet, embracing electronic-style influences while building upon their first album’s whole shamanistic trance thing that makes them so unique and fascinating. (Pick it up Here @ Amazon)
Tycho – Epoch
My favourite album of the year and some of the finest music I’ve ever heard, electronic or otherwise. Tycho’s masterpiece kept my spirits high during the hard times this year and never failed to give me a boost while peddling to work. Beautiful, lyrical melodies compiled from the same pastel sounds Tycho has always used, but built with a foundation of driving beats and simple, profound hooks that you’ll hum for days! Even Crystal had to admit, “The boop beep boys have grown up!” (Pick it up Here @ Amazon)