New Year’s Eve is a magical night of festivities and fireworks, and the perfect kiss at midnight, or so the media would have you believe. In reality, it can often be a heady cocktail of overpriced drinks, losing your loved ones at 11.55pm and taxi queues that snake off into the sunrise.
So, what’s the recipe for a New Year’s Eve that isn’t wholly disappointing? This is:
When we’re talking about managing expectations, it’s not just yours you have to worry about, but everyone else’s too. There’s a good chance you’ll all have an enjoyable evening, but the pressure to make it the best ever just because it’s December 31st can put a huge dampener on things.
If you’re trying to persuade your friends or other half to come on board with your plans, this is when the hyperbole starts. While you’re bigging it up, you’re basically creating expectations that you and the night will find hard to fulfil.
Plan an exit strategy
Sure, the evening hasn’t started yet, but you need a strong plan for the end of the night, otherwise you’re likely to be in a scrum for the last Tube or apparently solo taxi that’s still working. If this happens, it’ll be the lasting memory of New Year’s Eve 2018.
Booking taxis in advance or hosting at your own home are both solutions that can cut down the stress. Nothing beats slipping into your reindeer onesie at 2am on New Year’s Day and crawling into bed, knowing all your mates are happily passed out on the sofa.
Add a bit of special to your drinks garnishes
While you can go all out making cocktails, there are ways to add a little bit of New Year’s Eve magic to the drinks you know your friends love. This is whether you’re having a couple at yours before heading out or staying in all evening.
Most drinks require ice cubes and making these more fancy doesn’t need to mean quirky shapes. Follow in the footsteps of Handmade Charlotte and add berries or herbs to your ice cube trays before freezing them. It’s a great way to make a gin and tonic feel more special without ruining the essence of the drink.
Other added sparkle can come in the form of edible glitter around the rims of your glasses or slices of star fruit balanced on the edge. If you’re feeling even more creative, cut shapes out of watermelon to bob about in your drinks. This can be easily achieved with cookie cutters.
Up your canape game
New Year’s Eve is a marathon not a sprint, which is why party food comes in little portions and vast quantities. If you’re heading out to an event, enjoy these nibbles before you go and if you’re hosting, make sure you’ve got a steady supply that will last from arrivals to midnight and the 3am munchies.
Swap your usual hummus recipe for this asparagus and feta pate from Amuse Your Bouche and since it’s still vegetarian you can serve it to a large proportion of your guests. Team it up with these cheesy Marmite biscuits from Lucy Loves. Just remember to make a few without the Marmite for the haters.
When it comes to the crisps, nevermind opening a packet; have a go at making your own. These homemade garlic crisps from Hungry Healthy Happy will be a real hit. If you fancy going retro, then it’s prawn cocktail all the way and this no mayo version from The Petite Cook looks extra special served in martini glasses.