The Salem Insider

Insiders guide to food, entertainment & living in Salem Massachusetts for tourists and residents.

Throwing your own New Year’s Eve party

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Categories: drinks, events, seasonal

Yesterday we went over a few things to do around Salem, today its all about the DYI NYE.

Legal Disclaimer: First and foremost have fun and stay safe.  I know we talk about going out and having cocktails all the time but that’s because Salem is such a great city to walk, that we don’t ever find ourselves behind the wheel.  When throwing a NYE party unless all of your guests will be walking or staying over, make sure someone is responsible so everyone can start 2009 off right.

Now on to the good stuff.  When you are 21 years old, New Year’s Eve is nothing more than an excuse to get hammered out of your mind. I used to have a ritual where I’d meet up with about 20 friends for Chinese food and scorpion bowls early in the evening then we’d go off to parties and drink champagne and eat cherries soaked in grain alcohol.  Sometimes I wonder how I still have a liver but I digress…

There comes a time when spending big bucks on a night out isn’t worth the couple of hundred you will drop.  And, if you are reading this then getting Chinese food and nodding off before Dick Clark’s robot proclaims the new year is probably not an option either.  So let’s call some friends and have a house party.

Your party should be a marathon not a sprint, that means invite your friends over at 8 and leave it open ended.  Since you will be serving some adult beverages, serve some adult food.

Fellow blogger and soon-to-be Salem resident The Hungry Mouse offers some great tips on tasty treats for your party.  Her blog should be on your RSS feed since it features Adventures in food and cooking.  Fresh content. Every day.

I love New Year’s Eve. From the champagne to the funny hats to the kissing at midnight. Call me a sucker, but I can’t help myself. Here are a few recipes that are short on prep time and long on flavor–so you can spend more time where you belong this holiday season. With your friends.

This Spicy Chipotle Lime Ketchup goes really well with a platter of my
Crispy Sesame Chicken Nibbles.

If you have a houseful of carnivores, my Garlic & Rosemary Roasted Beef Spare Ribs have all the flavor of holiday roast beast, with almost no effort. If your guests swing the other way, this Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is warm, filling–and totally vegetarian if you make it with veggie broth instead of chicken stock.

Round out the evening with a plate of Walnut Butter Ball Cookies, which look like mini snowballs and are fast, easy, and festive.

Hungry Mouse spread

Hungry Mouse spread

Libations

Our resident Cocktologist, err…Mixologist has some New Year’s Eve bar tending suggestions.

Your guests will most likely bring over a wine, beer or in this case champagne so while I always have some on hand I don’t put my efforts into that.  I like to have a seasonal offering so depending on my expected crowd that means a specialty drink or shot. You can’t go wrong with a mulled wine, hot cider or cool egg nog.  All of which can be prepared before company comes over and put out in a crock pot or punch bowl, allowing your guests to consume at their leisure.

My cider always comes complete with some Sailor Jerry spiced rum.  Sailor is easy on the wallet and since it’s served hot in cider, you don’t need to waste the good stuff.  Since grain alcohol is no longer legal in Massachusetts I’ll share with you my holiday Uncle Foroct’s Olde Tyme Apple Pie Shot™ recipe.

50% Apple Juice or a fresh apple cider
40% good quality vodka
10% good quality spiced rum
4 cinnamon sticks
Mix all ingredients.  In a non metallic container (think milk jug), store in fridge for a minimum of 12 hours stirring occasionally. Remove the cinnamon sticks, shake and serve in shot glass with a dollop of whipped cream and dash of cinnamon.

Apple pie shot

Apple pie shot

Champagne and other sparkling wines

Now you have some fine recipes and good beverage ideas but New Year’s Eve is all about the champagne toast. This year I want you to skip going to the packie and grabbing a bottle of Asti Spumante like all the other plebeians out there.  Downtown Salem boasts two great shops where you can find your Champagne this year.

Salem Wine Imports

Owner Eric Olson offers a wide variety of champagnes in a wide variety of prices.  If everyone at your party is a connoisseur then Erik suggest a fine 1998 La Grande Dame at a mere $170 a bottle, it comes in a beautiful black lacquer and mahogany, commemorative box with chrome and leather details.  If, on the other hand, you only drink champagne once a year then a La Mandier ($52)  might be more your style.  Since Snoop Dog is on my guest list I might just pick up a bottle of Crystal ($250).

1998 La Grande Dame

1998 La Grande Dame

Champagnes at Salem Wine Imports

Champagnes at Salem Wine Imports

Pamplemousse

If you don’t have the big bucks but still want a nice bottle of bubbly, Catherine made some fun suggestions.  While they do have some good champagnes there like a traditional Moet ($51) they also feature some sparkling wines from nearby the champagne region in France.  Charles de Fere is a nice option as are some of the more economical sparkling wines from around the world.

Wines from Pamplemousse

Sparkling Wines from Pamplemousse

One more thing

This year we are getting a special bonus—a leap second.  That’s right, you get one more second to bask in the glow of 2008. Please, don’t waste this valuable second with shoddy food and crappy champagne.  Live life to the fullest in that second and know as you kiss your sweetie that for one shining moment this year you truly gave it your all.

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