I don’t know where the last 12 months went but I think we can all agree that when the ball drops tomorrow night we’re all going to shout, “good riddance to bad rubbish.” It has been a real rollercoaster of restrictions imposed and lifted, emotional highs and lows, victories and losses. We’ve been living this pandemic life for so long that I think the “unprecedented” is the new precedent. I know I’m not alone in saying that the continued uncertainty, solitude, and living by half-measure is quickly becoming untenable.
My sincere hope is that even if 2022 doesn’t bring an end to this virus, which it likely won’t, that we’ll learn how to live with it and be able to rediscover some of the joy we’ve lost. Let’s hope that by this time next year, we’ll be raising a glass to the new memories we’ve made with friends new and old in-person, the far-flung adventures we’ve taken, and the love we’re shared.
In the meantime, I hope you’re planning to usher out 2021 in style – even if it’s just with your family or an intimate group of friends. I wanted to serve up some inspired recipes for your small celebrations tomorrow night so you can set the tone for the kind of New Year you want right off the bat.
The quintessential sparkling wine cocktail – the French 75 – gets an upgrade in this version with a rosemary honey syrup, adding a welcome herbal complexity to the combination of gin, lemon, and sparkling wine. This is as simple as it is delicious and you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand.
This appetizer is a little bit more involved but the effort will pay off in spades and dazzle your guests (not to mention yourself). I can tell you for a fact that puff pastry is a power move – guaranteed crowd pleasure. Buttery layers of laminated pastry topped with Dijon, thyme, apple, blue cheese, and a delectable drizzle of ice wine glaze.
Whether you want to get a head-start on Dry January or you’re hosting guests who are choosing not to imbibe, be ready with a hand-crafted non-alcoholic cocktail like this Sparkle & Shine made with a sparkling wine alternative like Silver Swallow Kombucha, chilled black tea, cinnamon syrup, and grapefruit juice.
These are easily the canapés I return to most often. You can make a big batch of crostini ahead of time and mix and match your toppings with different styles of cheese, fresh berries, and herbs. A toasted nut here and there won’t go astray either.
If you have the time and patience to compose the persimmon wreath ice ring for this Persimmon Prosecco Punch, you’ll basically earn a degree in engineering in the process and it will be the most impressive pitcher cocktail your guests have ever confronted. If you haven’t sampled a persimmon before, it looks kind of like an orange plum tomato but has a sweet, mild, and rich taste that is often described as honey-like. You’ll make a persimmon syrup, combine that with vodka, brandy, lemon, and Prosecco, and this is a punch you’ll be circling back to for years to come.
A simple bite-sized appetizer with Middle Eastern flavours. Pit those dates and stuff them with a spoonful of goat cheese, topped with pomegranate arils and chopped pistachios. Couldn’t be easier.
As a bourbon girl, this is one of my favourite pitcher cocktails. It may seem a bit off-the-beaten-path with its combination of American whiskey, port, cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, and sparkling wine – but the Kentucky Bonfire is surprisingly delicious. Give it a try and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Whenever I want to flex just how good of a cook I am (which is pretty fucking good, thanks for asking) I put out a platter of these INCREDIBLE Middle Eastern Meatballs on Mini-Pita Crisps. You build flavour with each component, toast up buttered mini-pitas in the oven until they achieve crunchy perfection, a tahini sauce brings a salty, sesame flavour, the meatballs are unctuous with dried currants and toasted pine nuts rolled in, topped off with a pomegranate red onion slaw. These are truly *chef’s kiss* and they are on MY menu for tomorrow night.
If your mantra for 2022 is “get that bread” – the Boss Lady Cocktail should be on your NYE menu. Shake up some cognac, ginger liqueur, grapefruit, lemon, honey syrup, and a dry sparkling wine. This is a complex and surprisingly easy-drinking tipple that will bring a bit of surprise and delight to your evening.
Hear this: you CANNOT go wrong with baked Brie. I’m lactose intolerant and I would still be DELIGHTED if you put a plate of gooey, melty French cheese in front of me. Give me a Lactaid and send me into battle. This dish tops off your favourite soft cheese with caramelized pears simmered to melt-in-your-mouth perfection with apple cider, pear juice, brown sugar, and thyme.
Whatever you end up serving this New Year’s Eve, I wish you all the best for 2022 and hope all your dreams come true.