Going out in New York on New Year's Eve is such a drag. You think it's going to be a night of swanky clubs and flowing champagne, but it ends up being a night of expensive cover charges, unbearable crowds, and Uber price surges. Because of this, I like throw an annual New Year's Eve party at my humble apartment. We've gotten pretty good at it over the years- always ending the night with glowing reviews. Here are my favorite tips for making a New Year's party that no one will forget!
1. Create a Signature Cocktail
New Year's Eve is all about celebrating, so bust out the champagne cocktails! Use an affordable Prosecco and spice it up with some fresh berries or a splash of seasonal pomegranate juice. This year, we took it a step further and served up VINIQ (c/o): a shimmering liquor made with a blend of Moscato and fruit flavors. VINIQ gets its shimmer through the same ingredient that gives frosting or rock candy their sparkle and shine. We served two options: Ruby and Glow. The latter- a peachy flavor reminiscent of Bellini's- was my ultimate favorite! VINIQ is so festive for New Year's and was an awesome conversation starter!
2. Prepare Simple, Delicious Snacks
It's hard not to go overboard on the snacks- especially if you're a foodie like me! When you're throwing a cocktail party, however, there's really no need. Most people will have eaten by late evening already, and they're really just here to celebrate. Having said that, you want them snacking so there aren't too many drunks at the party! I served meatballs and sauce in my slow cooker, homemade guacamole and tortilla chips, a cheese and charcuterie board, and an array of dips with two flavors of New York Style Pita Chips- Chia Seeds & Quinoa and Garden Fresh Ranch (c/o). Want some recipe inspiration? Try a Butternut Squash Bruschetta Dip, Strawberry Mascarpone Dip, or Goat Cheese Log.
3. Create a Killer Playlist
Set the mood with the best hits of the year, and don't forget to include your crew's favorite jams. Set up a fully-charged iPad and some quality speakers (I love the Bose SoundLink® Mini Bluetooth® speaker) and let your guests play with the music if they so please. Don't wait until the last minute!
4. Create a Self-Serve Bar
Unless you're Beyonce, you probably don't have the time and money to organize a bartender for your shindig. No worries! Organize a self-serve bar where your guests can help themselves. Arrange an array of liquors (vodka, tequila, gin) with some popular mixers (cranberry juice, orange juice, club soda, ginger ale) and a few garnishes (limes, lemons, cucumbers.) where people can easily see them. Obviously, keep beer and white wine in the fridge or in a bucket of ice. When your guests first arrive, invite them into the kitchen (or wherever you're keeping the booze!) and offer to make their first drink- showing them where everything is. Then tell them to help themselves throughout the party.
5. Organize a Champagne Toast
Keep your eye on the clock and organize a champagne toast for midnight. You can buy disposable champagne flutes or those 1920's style coupes from most dollar stores and Amazon.com for next to nothing. Assemble them before the party, and around 11:30 start pouring for your guests. Grab a few steady-handed guests to help you pass them out and get ready to toast the new year!