5 New Year’s Party Must-Haves

Ring in 2018 in style with these simple tips.

The holidays are here which means party season is in full-swing! These holiday party must-haves are all about making life easier for you while still keeping the party elegant and appetizing.

Signature sangria

Having a large-ish gathering with plans to serve a special boozy something? A signature sangria recipe is a delicious way to get the job done without breaking the bank. Sangria begins with a bottle or two of wine; red, white, and rosé can all be used with great success. Remember that a good sangria isn’t about using fine wine, something inexpensive yet drinkable will work perfectly. If you’re feeling particularly festive, add a half cup of brandy or orange liqueur to the mix. It’s important to soak the fruit in sangria for at least three hours and up to an entire day if you have the time and space in your fridge so that the flavours can really mingle. Sliced apples, oranges, grapefruit, frozen berries, and pomegranate seeds are festive and colourful additions to a winter sangria. To finish the sangria, add a few cups of orange juice or cranberry juice as well as a bottle of club soda. Garnish with fresh mint or basil if desired.

Inexpensive wine glasses

The reality of hosting any kind of party, whether it’s a small gathering or a holiday open house, is that wine glasses are going to get broken. Don’t waste the good crystal this time of year and use inexpensive wine glasses whenever possible. Even better? Use recyclable plastic wine glasses for large parties or rent dishware from a party supply rental company. 

Marinated olives

Add some sophistication to your next holiday cocktail party with easy-to-make marinated olives. Begin with a selection of olives from your favourite deli or specialty store, choosing either all pitted or all with pits so that your guests know what they’re in for. Reserve any brine that came with olives to store leftovers. Drizzle the olives with a fruity olive oil and a splash of citrus juice or vinegar. Gently stir in any of the following: lemon peel, orange peel, whole stems of fresh rosemary or thyme, whole garlic cloves that have been slightly crushed, tiny red or green chilies, pickled red onions, or thin strips of roasted red pepper. Allow the olives to marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving at room temperature.

Deconstructed cheese tray

A simple deconstructed cheese tray is a sophisticated ending to any intimate holiday dinner and best of all, doesn’t require hours of painstaking prep work. To make a deconstructed cheese tray find one large piece of cheese that you love and pair it with one type of fruit (and maybe some nuts). Any cheese will work well, whether you prefer the soft and oozy type or firm nutty cheeses; if you have a good cheese shop nearby ask the staff members about cheeses that are particularly good at this time of year. Fruit can be served whole, just provide a couple of sharp paring knives so that your guests can help themselves. Pears, persimmons, pomegranates, apples, dried figs, and dried apricots are all fruits that pair well with most cheeses. Most importantly, allow the cheese to sit out at for at least an hour before serving.

Plenty of help

For some people, asking for help when planning a party is a no-brainer. For others, it can be exceptionally difficult to relinquish control in the kitchen. If possible, if only or a couple of items on your to-do list, try to let a friend or family member you trust take over. When the hostess refuses help it too often ends with her stuck in the kitchen the entire party, unable to enjoy herself. Getting help can also mean purchasing a store-bought dessert, having your cocktail party catered, buying pre-made appetizers, or asking people to bring their own alcoholic beverages. Remember that in the end it’s your party, and you should be there!