Entertaining should not be time consuming and stressful. Especially after Christmas, you don’t have to spend all day preparing drinks and snacks for a fun and festive New Year’s celebration. These are some of my favorite go-to tips and treats that are festive, simple to make, and fun to enjoy — perfect for hosting a memorable New Year's gathering with little effort.
Festive Party Punches
On New Year's, create a festive, fruity cocktail or punch that you can serve all night. Think bright colors and seasonal flavors; my new holiday favorite is The Ruby Slipper. As your guests arrive, have a tray of filled glasses already prepared so you can immediately offer them one. As well, a mixed cocktail such as this is easy to mix in pitchers in advance, or serve punchbowl-style, so refilling is a breeze.
Fresh Flavors, Simple Food
In terms of food, keep it simple and light. People will likely have had dinner before a New Year's party, so when it comes to thinking about what to make, think fun, fresh flavors and what looks good. I often turn to two of my family favorites that are so easy; they take no time at all to assemble, and you might already have all of the ingredients in your pantry. My Baguette Slices with Brie and Pear combine basic ingredients into something that always delights my guests, while my Apricots with St. Andre and Mint look beautiful assembled on a tray and are delicious to eat.
I am always looking out for easy ways to dress up plain-jane cocktails for more festive occasions. One of my favorite tricks for a unique garnish is to create my own ice cubes. I use the long ice cube tray from IKEA (but you can also use a standard ice cube tray, just making sure your herbs are cut short enough). I like to fill them with seasonal herbs and fruits, then top with filtered water before freezing. For New Year’s, I might use pomegranate seeds, kumquats, and sprigs of mint. The cubes look so pretty floating in a glass of water or flute of champagne, or any other drink.
An Easy Sweet Ending
Who says dessert has to be baked? For a sweet treat at the end of the night that isn’t too rich, serve scoops of your favorite sorbet, topped with fresh julienned basil leaves. This dessert is simple to put together, and your guests will be delighted by the unique flavor combination.