New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to put your top chef-like talents to work with your signature specialties, from house-made potato and zucchini chips dotted with bacon, Gorgonzola and thyme to crowd-pleasing veggie-stuffed mushrooms or crab dip. You could also impress guests with a catered spread of connoisseur-level hors d’oeuvres from everyone’s favorite specialty store or caterer in your neighborhood.
Here’s how to make New Year’s Eve your own with some fabulous, festive and fun food ideas, champagne cocktails and more. Cue “Auld Lang Syne.”
Don’t forget the grapes
There’s something lucky about gobbling up 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. A tradition in Mexico and Spain, the lore is that each grape represents a month’s worth of luck.
Tempting grape ideas include freezing grapes ahead of the party and adding as a garnish to a cocktail (think rosemary martinis or flavored seltzer for guests who prefer a non-alcoholic quencher). Or, pair balsamic roasted grapes with Manchego cheese and crusty crostini rounds.
Easy to make, you’ll need about three cups of seedless red or green grapes, olive oil, chopped thyme and oregano. After mixing all of the ingredients together, bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Once grapes split and wrinkle, the dish is nearly ready to serve. The finishing touch: a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Crudité platter, anyone?
Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free nibbles are a must for guests on the invite list who might require such options. Be sure to create something wonderful to sip champagne with that will be Instagram-worthy and yummy, too.
Serve a crudité platter with sustainable farm-to-table goodies. Layer with endive leaves, along with colorful heirloom tomatoes, baby carrots, radishes and yellow peppers. Add olive tapenade, spicy warm olives and a hummus duo – one with artichokes and another that’s classic and creamy with tahini.
Bubbles for toasting
There’s nothing quite as ubiquitous as bubbly for New Year’s Eve partygoers. It’s hard to resist a Kir Royale with its gorgeous hue from blackcurrant liqueur. If guests prefer a non-alcoholic spritzer with a festive aesthetic – try a concoction of blackberry puree, white cranberry juice and sparkling water.
If you’re looking for a sophisticated take on jazzing up bubbly for midnight toasting, here’s a swanky idea – splash in a measure of Cointreau or Grand Marnier.
Bellinis are a win-win for both cocktail parties and brunches. For New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, offer guests pink Bellinis composed of Champagne or Prosecco with pear nectar and cranberry juice.
Get lucky on New Year’s Day
Once the clock strikes 12, the party can still continue on New Year’s Day with an easy-going late brunch. Serve a traditional southern comfort food trio that everyone will clamor for. Not just because it’s tasty, but also because it’s said to bring good luck – black-eyed peas, leafy greens/collards and cornbread. As the old adage goes, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars and cornbread for gold.”
Pose all day
Decorate for New Year’s Eve with glitzy disco balls and streamers, or just let the TV be the backdrop as rockin’ New Year’s Eve and fireworks illuminate the HD screen. Between scrumptious bites and sips of bubbly, guests can make memories with a DIY selfie photo booth set against one wall.
Hang glam drapes or photos of fireworks and glittery signs that read, “Ringing in the New Year!” or “Kiss me at Midnight!” for sharable perfect poses. Have party hats, glasses emblazoned with the numerals of the outgoing and incoming years, faux mustaches and inflatable Champagne bottles.
By hosting New Year’s Eve at your apartment, the trappings of the soiree are entirely your call. Enjoy being in the company of good friends and family. Have fun and Happy New Year!