Grown-Up Cherry Cola and Planning a Cocktail Menu

GROWN UP CHERRY COLASQRThis year, instead of being sad that we can’t be at Mike and Courtney’s for New Year’s, we’re hosting our first New Year’s Eve party.  It will involve a lot of games, a lot of food, and a lot of drinks.

When it comes to the drinks, I want to be sure that we have a wide variety of beverages for our guests to choose from, but I also don’t want to go overboard and be left with a ton of mostly-full bottles at the end of the night.  I think I’ve finally come up with a  list that fits both of those criteria.  To find it, I started with a long list of cocktails we could serve at the party, then sorted them by the type of alcohol they use:

VODKA: Moscow Mules, Vodka Collinses, Black Russians, White Russians
RUM: Dark and Stormies, Peppermint Paddies, Grown-Up Cherry Colas
BRANDY: Brandy Slush, Brandy Alexanders, Peppermint Paddies
AMARETTO: Amaretto Sours, Grown-Up Cherry Colas
BOURBON: Old Fashioneds, Hot Toddies, Spiked Cocoas, Chais and Coffees
CRÈMES: White Russians, Black Russians, Grasshoppers, Spiked Cocoas, Chais and Coffees
WHISKEY: Manhattans, Spiked Coffees
GIN: Negronis, Tom Collinses

The least represented alcohols on the menu, gin and whiskey, got the boot.  This also means I won’t need to buy sweet vermouth, as I only needed it for the Manhattans and the Negronis.   So when we go to the liquor store this week, we’ll just need to get:

Irish Cream
Creme de Cacao
Orange Bitters
Angostura Bitters
3-4 bottles of champagne
5-6 bottles of Barolo, Nebbiolo, Barbera or other Italian red wines (to go with the food!)
(We already have plenty of crème de menthe, triple sec and amaretto.)

It looks like a lot, but considering this will be a party of approximately 16 people lasting for 6 hours or more, it is not too bad!

Grown-Up Cherry Cola

Prep Time: 3 hours

Yield: 1 drink

Grown-Up Cherry Cola

Inspired by Saveur's La La Lola.


  • Approximately 2 cups cola
  • 1 ounce amaretto
  • 2 ounces plain or spiced rum
  • 1 maraschino cherry


  1. Pour some of the cola into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer until hard.
  2. Place two to three cola ice cubes in the bottom of a tumbler. Add the amaretto and rum, then top off with cola. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Make Ahead and Storage

The cola ice cubes can be made up to 5 days in advance.


The Little Things #62: Anticipation

When it comes to building anticipation for holiday gifts, Dan is a pro.  I do my best to keep up, wrapping his gifts in deceptively-sized boxes and keeping “surprise” presents hidden until opening time. But that is nothing compared to Dan’s tricks. Take this gift, for example:


It looks like a giant peppermint on the outside.  But inside…

Peppermint 2

which finally got me to my new tea timer.

Or this one, which simply looked like a big box.  Little did I know that the gift in the box was actually one for Dan from his mom.  Under the wrapping paper, taped to the box, I found this:


Dan gave me some wonderful gifts.  But they are especially awesome for how much Dan teased me about them for the last few weeks.  In all my wondering about the giant peppermint, I would never have guessed that it was a tea timer.  It is a simple gift, made so much better by the anticipation. And I saw the Signals box arrive, and thought for ages that it was the gift.  Silly me, assuming things would be so straightforward!

So here’s to anticipation for exciting things to come.  

What little things are you appreciating today?  And anybody have any good present trickery I can use on Dan next year?