I love hosting gatherings of friends and family, and holiday parties are my absolute favorite! I typically start by serving my guests a cocktail right upon their arrival, that way they can mingle and hang out while I prep the appetizers and first course.
Since I do not have the time to play bartender all night, I like to prepare few drinks at once and then walk around with a tray, offering my guests a choice. Using a drink tray may seem really old fashioned, but it reminds me of my grandparents and how they used to host parties, so it brings back good memories—and to me it looks so darn cool.
For New Year’s Eve I recommend having few options for your guests—Champagne, or other bubbly wine is of course a must-have, and then two or three simple cocktails for your guests to choose from.
For this New Year’s Eve party, I’m keeping things very in season by leaning on the Master of Holidays to provide my cocktail recipes. I’ll be serving Martha’s Juniper Champagne Cocktail because it tastes like the woods (and being Icelandic nature is close to my heart), Pomegranate Champagne Punch because it’s easy to make for large groups in a pitcher, Bourbon-Cranberry Shrub—bourbon is the perfect ingredient to a wintry cocktail, and finally a Sherry Martini because Sherry adds a nice warm, cozy feeling as you drink it.
Whether you're having a few guests or a large group, don't forget that the details go a long way. I always look for in-season garnishes to the drinks I serve to help make any party, any time of year festive.