It's Cocktail O'Clock!

Whether you're planning a New Year's Eve bash or just a fun get-together with friends, we've got the guys for you—Patrick Janelle, the Instagram phenom behind A Guy Named Patrick, and his partner in cocktails and revelry, Maxwell Britten. Their winning party recipe: Take traditions of the past, add a splash of fresh style, and mix well.

By Eleni N. Gage
Photos by Meredith Jenks Food recipes by Greg Lofts
Above Image | Daniel Webster's Punch.

What happens when an Instagram star known for his impeccable taste and a master mixologist plan a party together? A swinging soirée where the cocktails are bracing, the appetizers are bountiful, and the crowd shows up ready to party like it's 1959. At least, that was the result of our collaboration with Patrick Janelle—who currently has more than 400,000 followers under his handle, @aguynamedpatrick—and Maxwell Britten, who created the bar program at Maison Premiere, Brooklyn's James Beard Award–winning oyster-and-drinks lounge.

The duo (along with Janelle's two brothers) are also the brains behind the Liquor Cabinet, a new app that provides classic cocktail recipes, as well as a catalog of the best modern-day booze with which to make them. In other words, they're a certified drinks dream team—and the ideal pair to plan a splashy holiday get-together.

Among their key tips: Set the tone from the get-go, starting with your invitation. As Janelle puts it, “give guests just enough information that they know what vibe to expect.” For this soirée, he invited friends via email to “wear something sparkly and come for a cocktail.”

When planning the menu, the pair took cues from personal traditions. Britten, who grew up in Tucson, Arizona, borrowed flavors from his father's yearly seafood-centric Christmas Eve party. And Janelle paid homage to his family's annual New Year's Eve gathering in Fort Collins, Colorado, which was “the one time of year my mom pulled out her fondue set,” he says. His reinterpretation: fondue as finger food, in the form of melted cheese bites served in bread cups.

Letting guests in on the action is another signature strategy. This might mean a “choose your own adventure” martini cart (as Britten describes it), or a crowd-sourced playlist. “As guests walk in, they can put a favorite on Spotify, nouveau-jukebox style,” suggests Janelle.

But the number-one rule? “A party is about having fun,” Janelle says. “Things will go wrong; just roll with the punches.” Or, in this case, the punch bowl.

With a Twist

For some retro-modern flair, our hosts created a Champagne fizz as an update on the classic sparkling cocktail. Instead of a bitters-saturated sugar cube, pour bubbly over a piece of candied ginger soaked in angostura bitters.

Champagne Fizz

Active | 5 min. Total | 4 hr. 5 min. Serves | 12

  • 6 pieces candied ginger (each about 2 inches)
  • 1 bottle (6.7 ounces) angostura bitters
  • 2 bottles (750 milliliters) Champagne brut, such as Perrier-Jouet, chilled

  • Place ginger in a small bowl. Pour bitters over; cover. Let stand at room temperature 4 hours.
  • Strain, reserving liquid for another use. Slice each piece of ginger in half lengthwise. Drop one half into the bottom of each of 12 Champagne coupes or flutes. Top with Champagne; serve immediately.

Play Station

“I love interactive elements at a party,” says Janelle of this mix-your-own martini cart. To get the ball rolling, make the first drink, then let guests show each other the ropes so you're free to play host. This setup works for any cocktail that's stirred (shakers need to be rinsed between uses): Try gimlets in spring and Negronis in summer.

A Knockout Punch

Decorated with wheels of fruit and star anise, this self-serve refreshment, based on a recipe the pair saw in an 1869 steward and barkeeper's manual, is a party in a bowl. To assemble it, they arranged pineapple slices around the bowl; added large, slow-to-melt ice cubes; and then poured in the punch (which contains sherry, Bordeaux, Jamaican rum, and black tea) and Champagne right before guests arrived. They finished with citrus slices and the starburst-shaped spice.

Daniel Webster's Punch

Active | 25 min. Total | 1 hr. 35 min. Serves | 16

This recipe, adapted from The Steward & Barkeeper's Manual (1869), can easily be doubled to serve a larger crowd. Oversize ice cubes are best, because they will melt slowly and won't dilute the punch as much; we like Tovolo King Cube ice trays (from $9 each,

  • 2 black tea bags, preferably PG Tips
  • 12 ounces Oleo Saccharum (recipe follows)
  • 8 ounces fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), plus 2 more lemons, sliced into thin rounds, for serving
  • 1 bottle (750 milliliters) Jamaican black rum, such as Hamilton
  • 1 bottle (750 milliliters) oloroso sherry, such as Lustau
  • 1 bottle (750 milliliters) Bordeaux red wine
  • 1 pineapple, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 bottle (750 milliliters) Champagne brut or prosecco brut, chilled
  • 1 orange, sliced into thin rounds, for serving
  • 12 star-anise pods, for serving
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for serving

  • Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea bags; let steep 10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add oleo saccharum, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture is translucent. Remove lemon peels with a slotted spoon; discard. Stir in lemon juice, rum, sherry, and wine. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  • When ready to serve, line the inside of a large punch bowl with pineapple slices (do not overlap). Fill one-third of the way with large ice cubes. Slowly pour tea mixture into punch bowl, making sure not to disrupt pineapple slices. Top with Champagne; gently stir to incorporate. Float lemon and orange slices on surface; sprinkle with star anise and nutmeg. Serve over ice.

Oleo Saccharum

Active | 10 min. Total | 4 hr. 10 min Makes | 12 ounces

Oleo saccharum translates to “oil sugar.” It is used in cocktails as a citrusy, flavor-packed alternative to simple syrup. As the mixture sits, the sugar draws the essential oils from the lemon peel and liquefies. Since only lemon peel is used, you can reserve the rest of the lemons for the punch.

  • 6 lemons, peels removed in long, thin strips, fruit reserved for another use
  • 1½ cups sugar

  • Combine lemon peels and sugar in a bowl. Using a muddler or the handle end of a thick wooden spoon, press sugar into peels, tossing occasionally, until sugar begins to clump and appear crystal-like. Transfer mixture to a resealable bag, pressing out any air, then seal and let stand at room temperature until sugar has consistency of very wet sand, at least 4 hours. Oleo saccharum can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Love Bites

“We wanted people to be able to eat on their feet,” says Janelle. The solution: traditional finger foods reimagined for today's taste buds. That meant cream-cheese-stuffed Peppadew peppers wrapped in bacon (instead of blue cheese–filled dates); crostini with mortadella, artichoke hearts, and olives as a tasty take on bruschetta; and a portable form of fondue, with cheese served in bread cups and topped with cornichons.

Bacon-Wrapped Peppadew Poppers

Active | 20 min. Total | 35 min. Makes | 32

  • 8 slices bacon (not thick-cut), halved lengthwise, then crosswise
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 32 Peppadew peppers, drained upside-down on paper towels

  • Soak 32 toothpicks or small wooden skewers in water 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium until some of fat is rendered but bacon is still pliable, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.
  • Place cream cheese in a piping bag or a resealable plastic bag. Snip tip and pipe cheese into peppers to fill. Wrap each pepper with a piece of bacon; insert a toothpick all the way through each pepper, beginning where bacon overlaps.
  • Transfer stuffed peppers to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake until bacon is crisp, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve warm.

Mortadella, Artichoke-Heart, and Olive Crostini

Active/Total | 25 min. Makes | About 24

  • 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 baguette, cut on the bias into ½-inch slices
  • 1 can (13.5 to 15 ounces) artichoke hearts in water, drained, quartered lengthwise if whole, and thoroughly drained on paper towels
  • 14 thin slices mortadella (about ¼ pound), halved
  • Jumbo pitted black olives, drained and sliced, for serving

  • Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches below heating element. Sprinkle anchovies with ½ teaspoon salt; crush into a paste using the side of a knife.
  • Transfer anchovy paste to a small saucepan; add oil and heat over medium, stirring frequently, until paste dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Brush ⅓ cup oil mixture evenly on both sides of bread slices; spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil, flipping once halfway through, until bread is crisp and golden in places, 2 to 3 minutes total.
  • Toss artichokes with remaining oil mixture. Top each toast with a slice of mortadella, an artichoke wedge, and an olive slice. Drizzle with more oil; serve.

Fondue Bites

Active | 30 min. Total | 50 min. Makes | 32

Soft, presliced sandwich bread works best for rolling out flat.

  • 8 slices white or pumpernickel sandwich bread, or a combination
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
  • 3 ounces Emmenthaler, shredded (a scant 1 cup)
  • 3 ounces Gruyère, shredded (1 cup)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Sliced cornichons, for serving

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out bread slices as thinly as possible with a rolling pin. Trim crusts; cut each slice into 4 even squares. Press into bottom and up sides of mini muffin cups. Bake until dry and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes (white bread will take slightly longer than pumpernickel). Let cool completely. Toasted bread cups can be made 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Stir together mayonnaise, Dijon, and brandy. Add cheeses and gently stir to combine. Season with ¼ teaspoon pepper. Transfer bread cups to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Divide cheese mixture evenly among bread cups (about 1 rounded teaspoon each).
  • Bake until cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden in places, 8 to 10 minutes. Top with cornichons; serve immediately.

Tower of Power

With their handy built-in serving vessels, shellfish are nature's party food. These clams and oysters casino, made with crispy pancetta and set on pink Himalayan sea salt, honor Britten's dad's Christmas Eve shindig, for which a bounty of seafood was shipped to landlocked Arizona. “At 12 years old, I'd be out in the backyard shucking,” Britten recalls. Bonus idea: If your holiday includes an Italian “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” this recipe crosses two off the list.

Clams & Oysters Casino

Active | 45 min. Total | 1 hr. Makes | 24

Serving the oysters and clams atop the salt ensures that they stay upright—and also makes for a striking presentation.

  • 6 slices ciabatta (½ inch each)
  • 12 medium oysters, such as Malpeque, scrubbed
  • 12 medium clams, such as top neck, scrubbed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (from 2 to 3 cloves)
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped red bell pepper (from ½ pepper)
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth, such as Dolin
  • 2 teaspoons packed finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • ¼ cup packed chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1½ ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (⅓ cup)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1¾ ounces pancetta, finely diced (⅓ cup)
  • Rock salt or other coarse salt, for serving (optional)

  • Tear bread slices into pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs form (you should have about 2 cups).
  • Preheat broiler with rack 6 to 7 inches below heating element. Arrange shellfish in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil just until shells begin to open, 4 to 6 minutes.
  • When cool enough to handle, remove top shells, taking care not to get any shell in meat, and discard. Tip out any oyster and clam liquor still in shells onto baking sheet. Loosen meat from shells with an oyster knife; transfer (still in shells) to another parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Strain shellfish liquor from first sheet through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup. Fill shells with liquor (you may not need it all).
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium. Add garlic and bell pepper; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vermouth; boil until mostly evaporated. Add breadcrumbs and oregano; cook, stirring occasionally, until breadcrumbs turn golden and crisp in places, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley and cheese; season with pepper. Divide breadcrumb mixture evenly among shellfish, then top evenly with pancetta.
  • Broil just until crisp and golden brown on top, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve warm on a platter lined with rock salt.

Sparkle, Spice, and Everything Nice

Eva Goicochea, cofounder of Tinker Watches, met her new friend: a Champagne fizz. A table was laid with unexpected bar snacks, like off-the-shelf corn nuts, along with easy-to-make prawn crackers, saffron almonds, and toasted coconut flakes. At the martini bar, garnish options included green olives and pickled cocktail onions. Old-school Swedish meatballs got a Korean twist, courtesy of gochujang, a sweet-and-sour chili paste.

Fried Prawn Crackers

Active/Total | 30 min. Serves | 12 to 16

  • Safflower oil, for frying
  • 1 package uncooked prawn crackers (available at

  • Heat ½ inch oil in a small skillet over medium. When oil shimmers, add a few prawn crackers and cook just until puffed, about 15 seconds. Transfer to paper towels; let drain and cool. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Toasted Coconut Flakes

Active | 5 min. Total | 30 min. Serves | 12 to 16

  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¾ teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment; brush parchment with oil. Stir together honey, five-spice powder, and 2 teaspoons water. Add coconut; gently toss to evenly coat. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring halfway through, until golden and dry, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Saffron Almonds

Active | 10 min Total | 20 min. Serves | 12 to 16

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1½ cups blanched almonds
  • Kosher salt

  • Heat oil and saffron in a small skillet over medium. When oil shimmers, add almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; season with salt. Let cool completely. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Sweet-and-Sour Korean Cocktail Meatballs

Active/Total | 1 hr. 15 min. Makes | 50

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (from about 6 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
  • 5 tablespoons gochujang paste (available at Asian markets and
  • 1 pound ground chuck (80 percent lean)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup safflower oil
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon packed light-brown sugar
  • Thinly sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds, for serving

  • In a large bowl, use your hands to gently combine garlic, ginger, 3 tablespoons gochujang, beef, pork, egg, and 1 tablespoon salt just until evenly combined (do not overwork, or meatballs will be dense and tough). Scoop 1 tablespoon of mixture into your palm; gently roll into a ball and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Meatballs can be formed, loosely covered, and refrigerated on sheet up to 1 day.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Swirl in 2 tablespoons safflower oil. Add half of meatballs in a single layer and cook, turning a few times, until browned in places and a crust forms, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel and brown remaining meatballs in remaining safflower oil.
  • Wipe skillet clean. Combine ketchup, remaining 2 tablespoons gochujang, vinegar, sesame oil, ½ cup water, and brown sugar in skillet; bring to a simmer over medium. Carefully add meatballs. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and meatballs are just cooked through and evenly coated, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl, sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds, and serve warm, with toothpicks.

Art Direction by Jaspal Riyait; Prop Styling by Tanya Graff; Food Styling by Greg Lofts; Hair and Makeup by Richard Cooley Using Alterna at Utopia Nyc; Manicures by Sofia Shusterov Using Dior Vernis for Judy Casey.