When the clock strikes midnight, does the world change? No, not really. Truthfully, it’s like any other night at midnight…..it’s late. But, on New Year’s Eve, we wait all night to shout out “Happy New Year” and then it’s all over. So, why not celebrate it over and over again, hour after hour? After all, over a 24 hour period, there is someone celebrating almost every hour somewhere in the world. This is the way to do it!
For the last four years, Big Bar in Los Feliz has taken us on a journey around the world as we celebrate New Year’s Eve in another city starting at 3pm until midnight. The bar crew at Big Bar become our flight crew as we start in Paris and end in Los Angeles.
The idea was born four years ago. Bartender Eugene Lee had worked as a DJ at the UCSD campus radio station when he was in college. He came up with the idea to start Mixtape Mixology (which is now on week #196). From Mixtape, the idea for the playlist for each timezone was born. “At 4pm it was Great Britain, Ireland, Scotland … 6pm Brazil, 9pm New York, Boston and Jamaica…. I spent like 9 hours making the first playlist to go with the countdown,” Eugene told me. “I remember making them perfectly sync into a pre-recorded countdown that I recorded with a bunch of friends in the language spoken.”
Eugene continued, “The first time we did the countdown at 4pm, I think people were confused until we were shouting ‘5… 4… 3….,’ at which point patrons who were there just to enjoy a snack got into the spirit of it. Music was blasting, we busted out party hats and NYE was born.”
The 2nd year was much like the first except they started at 3pm. The 3rd year they introduced the cocktail passport, complete with passport stamp, drawn by Dave Stolte. Year 4, the one we just had, Dave Stolte drew 10 unique postcards, one for each drink.
Each hour a specialty drink is offered that has been created to represent the country or countries that are celebrating New Years Eve. Each card has a picture of the cocktail that was drawn by Dave Stolte.
On the back of each card is the drink recipe, as well as the hour/city it is representing.
As the countdown begins, the crowd gets quiet and erupts with a “…3,2,1, Happy New year!” cheer and then gets back to drinking and conversation. The same thing happens at 4pm, 5pm and so on until it’s 12am in Los Angeles.
What’s great is that anyone and everyone can get in the spirit of the new year without having to stay out til midnight. And, celebrating it more than one time during an evening makes it actually a bit more fun and less anti-climatic. I started at 3pm and made it until 9pm and then was happily tucked in bed by midnight.
Here’s what we drank:
3pm: Flying Buttress (Paris, Berlin, Rome)
- 1 1/4 oz hamilton pot still rum
- 3 dashes forbidden bitters
- 1/4 oz simple syrup
- 3/4 oz pernod
- old fashioned glass, garish with lemon peel
4pm: Rathmines Shandy (London, Dublin, Edinburgh)
- 2 oz jameson black barrel
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 3/4 oz kolsh syrup
- 1 1/2 oz kosh blong ale
- 4 dashes aromatic bitters
- shake/strain into double old fashioned glass
5pm: Holdufolk-Up (Scoreby Sun, Atlantis)
- 2 oz reyka vodka
- 1/2 oz bianco vermouth
- 1/2 oz yellow chartreuse
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- stir/strain, garnish with orange peel
6pm: El Dude (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Bresillia)
- 1 1/2 oz avua ambruana cachaca
- 1/4 oz simple syrup
- 1 1/2 oz coffee liqueur
- stir/strain into old fashioned glass
- top with hand whipped cream and 5 dashes of aromatic bitters
7pm: I’d Rather Be (Buenos Aires, Santiago, Hamilton)
- 1 1/2 oz mount gay black barrel
- 3/4 oz grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1/2 oz galliano
- shake/strain into old fashioned glass
- garnish with mint and grapefruit zest
8pm: Lifting The Building (Sucre, Port of Spain, St. John)
- 1 1/2 oz singani 63
- 3/4 oz elderberry cordial
- 1/2 oz cherry syrup
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- top with soda and garnish with cherry and lime wheel pick
9pm: Fletch and Terry Forever (New York City, Havana, Panama City)
- 1 oz selvarey cacao rum
- 1 oz bourbon
- 1/2 oz honey
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 3/4 oz orange juice
- 1/4 oz absinthe
- garnish with orange zest
I hope 2015 is off to a great start for everyone…..have a great year!