Happiest Hour 

New Year's Eve cocktails

New Year's resolution: Sure, you can pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly and call it a year, but where's the adventure in that? Perhaps 2012 should include some new customs and a little change. Here are a few tweaks to the traditional champagne.

Champagne Punch: Tragically undervalued. Anything that calls for the use of a punch bowl and allows for fruit and additional liquors should be embraced. This punch practices moderation and tastes delicious: mix 1 1/3 cups fresh lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup Grand Marnier, 1/2 cup triple sec, 1/2 cup cognac and 1/2 cup orange juice. Add two bottles of cold champagne and stir. Add a ton of ice or refrigerate. Garnish with fresh lemon slices or strawberries.

Chorus Girl's Milk: A classic, otherwise known as the original Champagne Cocktail. Combine champagne, a sugar cube, a dash of bitters and a lemon twist. Serve in a champagne flute.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY SKYLAR BROWNING

Black Velvet: Unexpectedly delicious twist on the usual champagne mixer. Take a standard pour of brut and add a touch of black Irish stout.

Mimosa: Champagne with a dash of orange juice. Even better the next morning.

Hobo Mimosa: For those who don't care for champagne wishes and caviar dreams but want to say they're drinking a mimosa. This lowbagger delight is a Pabst Blue Ribbon with a little OJ.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail editor@missoulanews.com.

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