Serious Entertaining: A New Year's Eve Cocktail Party
For those of us hosting a party this New Year's Eve, the pressure is on. After all, you, and you alone, bear the responsibility for each person's final sips and bites of the year, not to mention their very first of 2014. Luckily, we've got you covered, with cocktails, sparkling wines, hors d'oeuvres, and dips, snacks, and sweets galore to keep your guests in quality food and drink on both sides of the midnight hour.
Before you head to the liquor store to pick up a bottle of bubbly, be sure to check out The Serious Eats Guide to Sparkling Wine. Want to mix things up? We've also got 16 Sparkling Cocktails to Dazzle Your Party Guests. Or just pay a visit to our Holiday Drinks page for large-batch punches, eggnog recipes, beer recommendations, and more!
The better to drink with! From classic deviled eggs to gooey cheese sticks to refreshing (and ever-so-classy) raw oysters, these are some of our favorite passed hors d'oeuvres.
- Deviled Eggs
- Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets
- Pecan-Cheddar Cheese Balls
- Venezuelan Cheese Sticks (Tequeños)
- Cilantro Fritters
- Irish Stout Granita with Raw Oysters
- Cheddar and Beer Battered Shrimp
Dips and Spreads
It doesn't get much easier than whipping up a few crowd-pleasing dips. We've got everything from hummus and baba ghanoush to a spicy crab dip and mousse. Serve 'em alongside a basket of breads, crackers, pita, or chips.
- Roasted Zucchini-Chickpea Dip with Za'atar
- Creamy Three-Cheese Artichoke Dip
- Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Dip
- Extra-Smooth Hummus
- Spicy and Chunky Baba Ghanoush
- Rosemary and Lemon White Bean Dip
- Real French Onion Dip
- Spicy Crab Dip
- Chicken or Duck Liver Mousse
Chips 'n' Snacks
Addictive bowlfuls of homemade potato chips (can you say stuffing-flavored?), spiced nuts, and seasoned popcorns to quash those salt cravings and keep your party going strong well into the early hours of 2014.
- Duck Fat Crackers
- Sea Salt and Vinegar Peanuts
- Barbecue Sweet Potato Chips
- Extra-Crunchy Potato Chips
- Stuffing-Flavored Potato Chips
- Sweet and Salty Spiced Nuts
- 9 Ways to Spice Up Pumpkin Seeds
- 10 Fun Toppings for Popcorn
When serving sweets at cocktail parties, there are a few things to remember. First, beware of melting! We're not just talking the obvious, like ice cream—make sure that you put any chocolates or sticky candies at a distance from candles, warming trays, or other sources of heat. Another tip? Save your guests' clothes and steer clear of crumbly desserts. We're also big fans of toothpicks—they make serving and eating a whole lot easier and you'd be surprised at the weight those little guys can hold!
- Grape Galettes
- Chocolate Orangettes
- Salted Caramel Shortbread Cups
- Chocolate and Black Pepper Goat Cheese Truffles
- Chocolate-Covered Bacon Turtles
- Bite-Size Spicy Cinnamon Chile Brownies
- Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes
About the author: Niki Achitoff-Gray is the editor of Slice and a part-time student at the Institute of Culinary Education. She's pretty big into pizza.