Champagne, noise-makers, funny hats and fireworks are all sure signs of New Year’s Eve celebrations, of course. In true Uncommon Caribbean style, though, we’re adding a rather unusual combo to this year’s party mix – grapes and tequila. They’re the two main ingredients in a 12 Grapes Tequila Cocktail, the shimmering drink you see pictured here. I was inspired to create this uncommon libation earlier today by one of the more unique New Year’s traditions observed in our region. One that has roots all the way back to the late-1800’s and all the way over to Spain.
The 12 Grapes Tradition
The tradition, simply called The 12 Grapes, was started by industrious farmers in the famed Alicante wine region of Spain. The whole thing started as an effort to spur incremental grape sales during especially abundant harvest seasons. As the tradition goes, you’re supposed to eat 12 grapes at midnight. You don’t, however, just gobble them up all at once.
Basically, the idea is to eat ’em one at a time, each consumption coinciding with the 12 clock chimes at the stroke of midnight.
- 12 Green Seedless Grapes
- 2oz Patrón Silver
- 1.5oz Tonic Water
- 3/4oz Grenadine
It’s a nice little custom that has made its way over the generations from Spain to Mexico, and other parts of the Spanish-speaking world. If you follow the custom, it’s said you’ll be rewarded with a year of prosperity. Who couldn’t use an annual good dose of that?
So, to help ensure a fruitful New Year, I give you the 12 Grapes Tequila Cocktail! Here’s how you make it…
How To Mix Up Your Very Own 12 Grapes Tequila Cocktail
STEP 1: Take your 12 seedless grapes and mash ’em in a cocktail shaker into a pulpy, juicy mess.
Grape notes: I tried both green and red grapes. The green ones definitely gave a better flavor. If you opt for red, be sure to peel ’em first. This will give you a finer consistency, and less bitterness.
STEP 2: Add your tequila and grenadine to your pulpy, juicy mess and keep mashing. Once it’s all combined, strain loosely into a martini glass allowing some of the pulp to come along for the fun.
Tequila notes: As you can see in the photo, I went with Patrón Silver. This meshed well with the green grapes, effectively limiting the quinine flavor some find so offensive in the tonic water.
STEP 3: Fill your glass with ice-cold tonic water and enjoy!
For those who don’t like pulp, you can always strain your pour 100%. The flavor is light and refreshing with a late tequila kick that sneaks up on you later. Hopefully all that prosperity similarly takes you by pleasant surprise in the New Year…