Tips for Hosting the Ultimate New Year's Eve Bash (Plus a Perfect Punch Recipe!)

punch
Photo: Anjoleena Griffen
Start 2017 off right with these hosting tips and ideas.

2017's almost here! We all know 2016 has been quite the year, so this New Year's celebration really calls for a fresh start. If you're planning on hosting this year, fear not. Level three sommelier Anjoleena Griffin-Holst makes NYE entertaining easy with her tips for hosting a festive, stress-free party to start the year off right AND an exclusive punch recipe your guests will love.

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1. Send actual invitations – RSVP's encourage invitees to respond, giving you a better indication how many to expect and how much to prepare. The Evite app is a great way to ensure your attendees have it along with your address on their calendar. Also they'll know if the attire is relaxed or cocktail chic.

2. Keep it simple, yet elegant – Set up two bar areas where your guests can serve themselves. Borrow that beautiful punch bowl from your Aunt or break out those vintage cookie jars and fill them with a sparkling punch. Find a festive container to chill your beer and white wine in. Keep the champagne in the fridge* until 11:30 then put it out for the midnight toast. This helps save money and keeps you from playing bartender all night. Make sure to have a hydration station with plenty water. Throw in some sliced cucumber or citrus fruits into a large glass jar with a spigot to make it appealing. 'Tis the season for buying these items on sale after Thanksgiving and Christmas!

3. Don't overdo it – New Year's Eve parties tend to start late, so there's no need to roll out a four course meal. Let guests nibble on hearty, pre-made, bites focusing on savory and salty items. Strategically place bowls and platters around to satisfy the drinking munchies. Cheese and meat trays, hushpuppies and savory popcorn are items that will help soak up the alcohol. Avoid too many sweets since alcohol already contains plenty.

4. Ensure your place is party ready – You aren't the only one that needs to dress to impress – your space does too! Make sure your place is looking its finest. Clean and unclutter in advance to leave ample room for socializing and dancing. Place small trash receptacles near the bar so empty beer bottles, napkins and toothpicks won't overflow under your kitchen sink. Don't forget to stock up on hand soap and toilet paper too!

*Be sure to chill your bottles of bubbly for at least 2 hours in the fridge before you plan on opening it. DO NOT put it in the freezer! Many people like hearing the 'pop' of the bottle, but I recommend being careful when opening it so that no one gets hurt. There is the equivalent PSI (pounds per square inch) of 3 car tires in a bottle of Champagne!

Resolution Punch Recipe

Focus on playing hostess, not bartender, with this easy punch recipe that your guests can serve themselves and will last all night.

punch

What You'll Need

  • 6 oz Don Q white rum
  • 6 oz Gosling's ginger beer
  • 2 oz fresh tangerine juice
  • 2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 16 oz Fever Tree tonic
  • Large sprig tarragon


Directions

Step 1: Muddle Tarragon with rum to release aromas and flavors then pour into quart container. Add all other ingredients to quart container and stir.

Step 2: Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Step 3: Place 4 large square ice cubes (3x3) in punch bowl, add base and add 16 oz of Fever Tree tonic right before serving. Serve in decorative tea cups with a tarragon leaf.