Serious Entertaining: A New Year's Eve Cocktail Party

Serious Entertaining

Seasonal menu planning for the perfect dinner 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!

Finger Foods


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.

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.

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.



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!