Well, that’s it, folks; 2019 is almost over and done with, and there’s a brand new year just waiting on the horizon, packed full of promise, hopefulness, and (if we’re lucky) some fantastic and exciting new drinks to savour and explore. Before we do away with all things 2019-based, however, there’s time for one last party to see the year out in style.
New Year’s Eve is, no matter where you are in the world, a unique opportunity to really let your hair down, crank out your best moves, and celebrate with friends, family, and strangers alike. After all, it’s the one time of the year that’s entirely about looking forward to positive changes, and starting as you mean to continue. It’s also the one time of the year when a bit of indulgence is absolute de rigour – Champagne is essential, and toasting new plans, new successes, and new aspirations just wouldn’t be the same without plenty of charged glasses, brimming over with flavour, aroma, and character.
If you’re planning a New Year’s Party for yourself and you’re nearest and dearest, or even if you’re looking to just take your celebrations to a whole new level of deliciousness and excitement, the chances are you’re already on the lookout for some boozy treats to share around. We believe that the best NYE parties involve no fewer than five separate, essential drinks, each as vital and enjoyable as the last. What’s more, if you want your celebration to go off with a real bang, it’s important to ensure these five drinks form the foundation for your revelry and offer something to please every palate. Check out our five essential drinks of NYE below, and start planning an NYE party that won’t be easily forgotten!
A Unique Sparkling Wine
As we mentioned previously, there’s little doubt about the fact that Champagne is a prerequisite drink for NYE party celebrations. It is, after all, the very essence of celebration; those elegant bubbles, that thrilling effervescence, and all that delicious dryness and acidity really do make it the perfect party wine.
However, it’s probably fair to say (or, at least, whisper) that most of us are a little bored of the bog-standard NV Brut blended Champagnes, which, while perfectly serviceable, don’t really inspire the level of excitement we deserve at New Year’s Eve. Thankfully, there are so many variations on the theme of the classic Champagne out there, it’s actually pretty easy to discover a bottle that really achieves that ‘wow factor’ while still retaining an all-important essence of sophistication. Why not go for an unblended Champagne (when made from 100% black grapes, they’re known as Blanc de Noirs, when made from 100% Chardonnay, they’re called Blanc de Blancs), or a high-end Cremant instead to show off your sparkling wine credentials?
A Signature Whisky Cocktail
Everyone loves a cocktail or two at NYE, but if you really want to mark your party out as something special, why not customise a classic whisky cocktail and make it your own, especially for your gathered and esteemed guests? You could provide a new twist on a Sazerac, or breathe new life into an Old Fashioned… or throw a glug of Scotch Whisky into a cocktail more classically prepared with a different spirit, just to demonstrate your commitment to this most delicious and varied of drinks.
Whisky cocktails are especially suited to NYE parties, for a number of different reasons. Firstly, whisky – no matter the type or origin – always offers that unique warmth and spice, which is absolutely welcome on a cold December night. What’s more, whisky brings a sense of refinement and overall finesse to a party; especially those quality bottles you’ve been saving for such a special occasion. What could possibly be better?
Bring on the Gin!
There’s no question that the great gin revival has rolled through 2019 like an ever-growing behemoth in the drins industry, and the broadening popularity of gin shows no sign of slowing, with micro-distilleries popping up in every major town and city, and the big-name brands doing all they can to retain their relevance. No party in 2019 or beyond would be complete without at least one gin on offer, or a gin cocktail made to reflect the spirit of the evening.
Why not heighten the sophistication of your party by seeking out a locally-distilled gin (and trust us, there will be one…), and doing the research into which garnishes best reflect the botanicals present in the spirit? It’s amazing the difference these extra flourishes of fruit, vegetables, spices, and flowers can make to the drinking experience, and given the current popularity of artisanal gin, it’s an easy way to give your NYE party instant credibility and style.
A Food-Friendly White Wine
If you’re hosting your own New Year’s Eve party, then you’ll need to provide your guests with some light snacks and nibbles. This isn’t the time for hearty, heavy dinners; the previous week will have brought plenty of that kind of thing in the form of Christmas, and instead, finger foods, snacks, and bite-size morsels are the order of the day. It goes without saying that wine will be required to pair with your food… and unless you’ve got plenty of bubbles to serve up throughout the evening (and not just at the stroke of midnight), you’ll be needing a truly food-friendly wine that won’t sit too heavily on your guests. After all, you don’t want your friends and family members asleep in an armchair by nine-thirty.
A good, acidic, fresh and zesty white wine is going to be your go-to number in this regard, as these wines have fantastic levels of food-friendliness, and are also perky enough to cleanse the palate and keep drinkers going as the evening progresses. We’d urge party planners to check out a bright and lively Vermentino, or the blast of sea air that comes with a good Albarino. Dry Riesling is always good here, too, as is a Pinot Gris from Alsace, or an Alto Adige Pinot Grigio. New World fans would likely be very happy with a modern-style Aussie Chardonnay, or a similar bottle from Sonoma.
A Morning-After Cocktail
So, the festivities have been enjoyed, the party was poppin’, and you and your guests have woken up to a new day, and a whole new year. Congratulations! Now, depending on just how much you’ve enjoyed yourself the night before, your morning-after drinks are going to head in one of two directions.
Woken up feeling relatively fresh? It’s the perfect opportunity to mix up some mimosas or other fruit-juice and sparkling wine-based drink (a good way to make use of leftover Champagne from the night before, as the juice will disguise any loss of fizz). Freshly squeezed orange juice is the absolute tried-and-tested classic… but fantastic variations can be made with mango juice, passion fruit, and even lychee, which allows you to kick off the new year in real sophisticated style.
If you’ve awoken a little worse for wear (don’t worry – it happens to the best of us), then there’s really only one cocktail that delivers the hair of the dog in truly restorative fashion; the much-loved Bloody Mary. At heart, the Bloody Mary is a simple drink, which requires little more than tomato juice, vodka, and plenty of ice. However, when the morning calls for something with a real kick, you owe it to yourself and your guests to mix up a cocktail that goes the extra mile. Add a dash of Tobasco, Worcestershire Sauce, a spoonful of horseradish, plenty of black pepper, kosher salt, lemon, celery… and you’re onto an absolute winner of a cocktail that’ll get you back on your feet in no time at all.
That’s it – our guide to the five drinks that no NYE party should be without, and which are guaranteed to take your festivities to a whole new level of sophistication and finesse! Happy new year, and all the best for 2020.
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