Everyone knows the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne.” At least, everyone knows the last three words to “Auld Lang Syne,” or at least the general sound they should make coming out of your mouth.
If you’re like some of us, you may be a little fuzzy on the exact sentiment of this iconic New Year’s anthem. And while humming along has gotten you this far, this year it might be worth giving those lyrics a quick Google.
“Auld Lang Syne,” which roughly translates to “times long past” or “days gone by,” is a poem by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Set to that familiar folk song melody, the version we know (sort of) has been translated to modern English, and encourages us to think about the people with whom we’ve shared our lives. After all, what better moment for solemn reflection than while wearing a paper tiara and swinging a champagne flute?
So now that you know a little bit about what you’ve been hearing all these years, we’re going to give you a cheat sheet for the most important part of the song. During the chorus, revelers in-the-know sing, “.and we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.” A cup of kindness is a special sentiment, and here at The Culinary Institute of America, we love kindness. But we also feel like raising a cup of kindness is sort of a missed opportunity.
Lucky for us, Culinary Institute of America instructor Rory Brown has created a special cocktail that we can use to fill our cups and raise to the New Year. This recipe for the Kindness sparkling wine cocktail mixes botanical gin, lightly spiced Drambuie (in honour of the Scotsman himself, Mr. Burns), and the complex sweetness of honey, all topped off with the requisite New Year’s Eve bubbles.
If you’re hosting a party, you can make the cocktail in a pitcher ahead of time—just leave out the sparkling wine. Guests can add that to their glass at 11:55. We like this cocktail served in a wine glass instead of the traditional champagne flute. Not only does it limit the opportunity for spills for an enthusiastic partygoer, but it also helps to distribute the aromatics of the cocktail.
Honey Simple Syrup is an easy make-ahead recipe that you’ll enjoy for more than this cocktail. Use it to lightly sweeten lemonade for young guests (add a splash of sparkling water for bubbles) or as a sweetener for mulled apple cider. Choose your favourite honey, but keep in mind that some varieties, like orange blossom, are more flavourful than others.
When he created this cocktail, Brown said, “In an ode to the New Year, we have combined the sparkling wine you expect with the history you might have forgotten. Burns reminds us to take a minute to recognize the moments of the past year, for there is but one until we must begin again.” We’ll raise a cup of Kindness to that.
Start to finish: 5 minutes
3/4 ounce (1 1/2 tablespoon) Drambuie
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) gin
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
1/4 ounce (1 1/2 teaspoon) Honey Simple Syrup (recipe below)
4 ounce (1/2 cup) sparkling wine
In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine the Drambuie, gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup, and stir to combine. Strain into a wine glass and top with sparkling wine just before serving.
Honey Simple Syrup
Makes about 3/4 cups (enough for 24 cocktails)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
Combine the honey and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the honey dissolves. Cool completely before use.