A Bold Party Cocktail (Plus Crowd-Pleasing Snacks To Balance The Booze)

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While punches and bottles of bubbly are great go-tos for New Year’s Eve gatherings, we don’t mind shaking things up with a thoughtful cocktail every once and a while. For a bold start to the new year, consider the Tom Cat, an updated version of the classic Tom Collins from Gunnar Karl Gíslason and Jody Eddy’s new book The Hygge Life, which celebrates the trendy Scandinavian term for finding happiness in the little things in life.

Photo by Rocky Luten

“One endearing quality of hygge is its embrace of nostalgia and tradition,” Eddy writes. “Vintage decor, clothing styles, and recipes are celebrated facets of a hygge lifestyle.”

Slightly sweeter than London Dry, but drier than Dutch, Old Tom gin was a popular spirit in the 18th century and forms a rich base for the cocktail. The addition of Mexican mezcal for smokiness, vermouth for sweetness, and bitters for complexity combine to make a powerful drink.

The Tom Cat is sure to liven up your parties. To balance the booze, we’ve thought of a variety of crowd-pleasing hors d'oeuvre to snack on while you sip:

The Perfect Cheese Ball
The Perfect Cheese Ball
Italian Snacking Bread
Italian Snacking Bread
Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs
Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs
Crostini with Roasted Grapes, Vanilla Yogurt, and Fresh Basil

Crostini with Roasted Grapes, Vanilla Yogurt, and Fresh B... by Josh Cohen

Duck Meatballs à L’Orange

Duck Meatballs à L’Orange by QueenSashy

Cheese Sables with Rosemary Salt
Cheese Sables with Rosemary Salt
Chicken Liver Spread (née Pâté)

Chicken Liver Spread (née Pâté) by Nicholas Day

Renee Erickson's Sautéed Dates

Renee Erickson's Sautéed Dates by Genius Recipes

Silky Sweet & Sour Eggplant Caponata
Silky Sweet & Sour Eggplant Caponata

Now, Start Mixing

The Tom Cat

The Tom Cat

Jody Eddy Jody Eddy
Makes 2 cocktails

The Tom Cat

  • 2 ounces Hayman’s Old Tom gin
  • 2 ounces mezcal
  • 1 1/2 ounces dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth (Antica is a good choice)
  • 8 drops House Bitters (recipe below)
  • Ice cubes
  • Dehydrated grapefruit slices for garnish

House Bitters

  • Peels from 3 oranges and 2 grapefruits, pith scraped away with a paring knife, thinly sliced
  • Peel from 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups overproof rum (rum with an alcohol content greater than 57.5%)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Go to Recipe

Are you making cocktails for New Year's Eve? Share your menu ideas (including snacks!) below.

Tags: Cocktail, Gin, Mezcal, Vermouth, Snack, Entertaining, New Year's Eve, Books, Holiday Entertaining