New Year’s Eve Cocktail Party Checklist

Are you planning a New Year’s Eve party in your home? Perhaps you’re having a small cocktail party or a casual event for a few friends.  No need to stress out, even when the party is only a few days away. The staff at My Personal Valet has years of party planning experience.  Use this quick party planning checklist to help with your New Year’s Eve event.

The Guest List

The size of your guest list should depend on the space in your home.  Ideally, everyone should have a place to sit.  A small and intimate list will keep the stress of planning your party to a minimum. Using an online invitation service like Evite to invite your guests is a great time saver. With a few clicks you can send a customized New Year’s Eve party invitation which will provide you with RSVPs and your guests with all the information they need to come to your party.

The Menu

What to serve? Start with a lovely platter of crudite (fresh vegetables) and dips. Pair that with a tray of assorted cheeses, crackers, fresh fruit and savory spreads and you have a nice start to any party. Add color and flair to the menu with Tea Smoked Chicken appetizers, simple Wrap-Party Apps and  Rachel Ray’s Lucky 7 Layer Dip.

When time is a factor, consider using prepared appetizers, pizzas and party platters from specialty stores like Central Market, Eatzi’s and Whole Foods Market.  Don’t forget to include plenty of crunchy snacks, like tortilla chips and salsa, nuts, and olives.

How much food should you prepare for your New Year’s Eve party? If your party takes place late in the day or during dinner hours, there should be enough food to satisfy your guests’ hunger. Prepare six to eight types of appetizers (both hot and cold) and plan on each guest eating at least three of each.

Recipes from The Food Network

Tea Smoked Chicken appetizers

Cornmeal Blini Bites

Wrap-Party Apps

The Drinks

A full bar can be complicated and expensive, so why not  create a Bar Menu. Take a look in Mr. Boston: Official Bartender’s Guide to find 3 or 4 fun and tasty cocktails.  Make sure you have enough of the appropriate ingredients; add a few varieties of beer, a nice red wine and a refreshing white wine and your Bar Menu is complete.

Print out your menu on colorful holiday themed paper and post it in a frame in the bar area. Giving your guest a few choices of mixed drinks, beers and wines will save you time and money; as well as control the amount your guest drink.

The Champagne

You can’t have a New Year’s Eve toast without champagne. With so many choices, it is difficult to decide.

I asked Scott Smitherman, at Whole Foods Market, for his advice on choosing a champagne.  Scott recommends these champagne choices:

Andre Clouet: This is his personal favorite!  It is called a “Grower’s Champagne” which basically means the farmers who grew grapes to supply to larger champagne houses decided to start making their own wine. Vineyard to glass, it is a labor of love. Toasty and nutty on the nose with luxurious little bubbles, it is balanced by a caramelized pear and green apple pop on the finish. The bottle and the juice inside are pretty. All in all this wine makes Scott smile a warm fuzzy smile.

Gosset: This wine is on sale for $29.99. This is a full-bodied champagne with a richness that can stand up to the denser holiday foods. Deep straw in color and still crisp on the finish, pair this with caviar and crème fresh for a night of indulgence!

For value, Scott suggests De Chanceny Brut. It is currently being featured in Whole Foods Market Top 10 program. This wine differs a bit from the other sparkling wines on the list. It is made in the Loire Valley with Chenin Blanc, Chard and Cab Franc. It has a hint of stone fruit with lots and lots of bubbles, and a touch of honey on the nose, this is a wine that is easy on the palate as well as the pocket-book.

Many of the champagnes are on sale at the Whole Foods Market 3 Day Bubbly Marathon, from Wednesday, December 29 to Friday, December 31st.

Andre Clouet Grand Reserve: Reg: $59.99   Sale: $39.99

Gosset Brut: Reg: $49.99   Sale: $29.99

Jordan Brut: Reg: $29.99   Sale: $19.99

De Chanceny Brut: eg: $15.99   Sale: $13.99

De Chanceny Rose Brut: Reg: $15.99   Sale: $13.99

Rising Star (locally produced in Texas)-$15.99

Miscellaneous Supplies

Pick up beverage napkins, limes, lemons, soft drinks or water (for non-alcoholic drinkers) and candles.  All these items can be bought at Whole Foods, Market Street or Central Market.  To make your party really festive, don’t forget the noise makers, party hats and streamers.

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