Champagne Pomegranate Cocktail

It’s almost here, the day that we celebrate another year gone by. This is not just a celebration with cocktails and food, it’s a day to reminisce about what we’ve accomplished in the past year and what we look forward to in the upcoming year. It’s an evening filled with conversation, good friends, memories of what has passed and all the good things to come.

For many of us, New Year’s Eve is an anticipated evening because it’s also a time to let loose, have fun and fill it with refreshing cocktails to ring in the New Year. But cocktails are always better when you have fantastic, flavorful bites to accompany every sip. A pairing of great drinks and delicious appetizers will surely keep you entertained until the ball drops at midnight.

This year, we’re making pomegranates the star of our cocktail table. We’ll have our stand-by margaritas, sidecars and other classics, but a New Year’s moment isn’t complete without Champagne or Prosecco. We need the bubbly because it’s refreshing and it is the best way to toast when the clock rings in the New Year.

Champagne and Friends

Our pomegranate cocktail is delicate, refreshing and tangy with every sip. But what makes it more unique are the little pops of pomegranate arils that keep the cocktail interesting.

Munching on perfectly crispy, baked coconut shrimp dipped in sweet orange marmalade dip is ideal for the first round of drinks. We can’t stop there because New Year’s celebrations often go well past midnight, so we added another appetizer to the menu.

Baked Coconut Shrimp

Now, round two and three of celebratory cocktails require additional appetizers and bites to keep the evening going through the New Year. Our flavorful crispy crab cakes are juicy and moist on the inside with a flaky crunch of panko flakes on the outside. They’re light enough so they won’t fill you up too much, too fast, but satisfying enough that 2 crab cakes will leave your bellies happy. These refreshing beverages and delicious little bites are the best way to bid farewell to 2015, welcome in 2016 and make your New Year’s moments memorable.

Champagne Toast

Recipe: Champagne Pomegranate Cocktail

Serves 8


1 bottle champagne or prosecco

1 medium pomegranate, shucked

A couple dashes Angostura bitters, per cocktail

Champagne Cocktail

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds into each glass. Add a couple dashes of Angostura bitters to each glass and gently muddle the pomegranate seeds. Slowly top each glass with champagne or prosecco, gently stir, and serve.

New Year's Appetizers

2 Different Appetizer Recipes with dips: Baked Coconut Shrimp with Orange Chili Dipping Sauce and Crab Cakes with Dijon Garlic Aioli

Appetizer 1:  Baked Coconut Shrimp with Orange Chili Dipping Sauce 

Coconut Shrimp Appetizer

Serves 6-8

Coconut Shrimp Ingredients:

2 pounds large tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 large eggs
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup minced flat leaf parsley, for garnish
optional garnish: shredded cabbage
optional garnish: minced parsley or cilantro

Pre-heat your Thermador oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Rinse and pat dry the shrimp then season with salt and pepper. Set aside and in a medium bowl combine the flour, ground cumin and paprika. In another medium bowl, whisk together eggs. In a third medium bowl combine coconut flakes and panko bread crumbs.

Preparing the coconut shrimp

Dip the shrimp in flour mixture, then dip in egg mixture, then coat the shrimp with the coconut/panko mixture. Place shrimp on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the coating process on all shrimp then bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Baked Coconut Shrimp

If needed, turn the shrimp for more even coloring after baking for 10 minutes. Serve on a bed of shredded cabbage or garnished with parsley/cilantro and the orange chili dipping sauce.

Orange Chili Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup orange marmalade
Zest of 1 medium orange
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

Whisk together the all of the ingredients (orange marmalade, orange zest, orange juice, chili garlic sauce, rice vinegar and salt) until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve with the coconut shrimp.

Appetizer 2: Crab Cakes with Dijon Garlic Aioli 

Crab Cakes

Makes about 14 crab cakes

Crab Cake Ingredients:

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
1 large egg
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
⅓ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup minced fresh onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
¼ cup minced flat leaf parsley
¾ cup minced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon fresh minced dill leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon hot sauce
Zest of 1 medium lemon
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt, to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

For Batter and Frying:

2 beaten eggs, for dipping

2 cups panko bread crumbs, for coating crab cakes

Oil for frying

Optional, lettuce leaves or shredded cabbage for garnish base

Crab Cake Directions:

In a large bowl, gently stir together all the crab cake ingredients (except for frying ingredients). In two medium bowls: add beaten eggs in one bowl and the panko bread crumbs in other bowl. Set aside.

Crab Cake Ingredients

Ball together about 2-3 tablespoons of the crab mixture and then flatten the ball into a patty. Gently dip the crab patty in the beaten egg mixture and coat with the panko. Repeat forming and coating crab cake patties with the remaining crab mixture until all of the crab cakes are formed.
In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, heat about 1/2-inch of oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Gently place a single layer of crab cakes in the sauté pan and cook each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining crab cakes.

Frying Crab Cakes

If desired, place the lettuce leave or shredded cabbage on a serving platter. Place the crab cakes on the lettuce/cabbage and serve with the Dijon garlic aioli.

Dijon Garlic Aioli Ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ dried thyme
Salt, to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Dijon Garlic Aioli Directions:
Whisk together the mayonnaise Dijon mustard, garlic, cayenne and thyme until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Crab Cake Appetizer