Tipples and toasts
The New Year is almost here, and that said it’s time to get into the spirit of things and polish up those party tricks. Cocktails are a great way of easing into the evening – and expressing a little creativity as you do it. We have no doubt you’ll have some specials up your sleeve, but here are a few extra just for fun…
Photo courtesy www.bigoven.com
The traditional Cuban highball, a mojito is one of Cuba’s oldest cocktails and one of the world’s favourites.
60 ml white rum
1 lime/60 ml lime juice
1 tsp powdered sugar
4 mint leaves
Muddle the mint with the sugar and lime juice in a long glass. Add ice (preferably crushed), then rum and stir. Top off with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Candy Cane Cocktail
Photo courtesy www.colonywinemarket.com
Not only does a Candy Cane Cocktail look festive, but it tastes festive too with hints of Christmas stocking peppermint candy!
1 T crushed soft peppermint candy
40 ml vodka
20 ml brandy OR Kahlúa
splash of white crème de menthe
30 ml cream
Peppermint stick for garnish
Mint sprig for garnish
Combine the vodka and crushed peppermint. Stir to dissolve. Add the remaining ingredients, stir and garnish.
Now we know what you’re thinking – creating these delightfully colourful creations could be a mission … well, not if you head to the right bottlestore! You’ll find all the whisky, wine, spirits, liqueurs and beers that you could ever want at Norman Goodfellows. And with the drinks pretty much taken care of, all you need to do is focus on being a fab host to your guests … easy! Details: www.ngf.co.za
Photo courtesy www.turntablekitchen.com
40 ml gin
20 ml St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur
20 ml dry vermouth
20 ml lemon juice
1 bar spoon honey syrup (1 part honey : 1 part boiling water — let cool)
Optional absinthe rinse
Add all liquids to cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake until chilled, approximately 15 seconds. If you’re a fan of absinthe, rinse the glass with it. Using a vegetable peeler, peel a long slice of the cucumber lengthwise. Place the garnish around the outside of the glass. Fill the glass with ice and add cocktail mixture.
You know what we love about TOPS at SPAR? Their variety, of course! Whether you’re planning on serving cocktails and ciders (or perhaps some fab wine) at your shindig, they’re sure to have what you need. All you have to do is find the store that’s closest to you (their website can definitely help with that) and you can keep the party going! Details: www.topsatspar.co.za
Photo courtesy liquor.s3.amazonaws.com
The lemon in this whisky recipe rounds off the alcohol and gives it an edgy sharpness. Simple and sophisticated
2 parts bourbon
1 part lemon juice
½ part sugar syrup
½ part egg white
To garnish: 1 cherry and an orange slice
Put ice and all of the ingredients into a shaker and shake hard for about 20 seconds to chill the liquid really well. Strain the mix into a glass filled with ice and garnish with the cherry and orange slice.
Photo courtesy www.liveinstyle.com
Blue Lagoon is a popular summer cocktail featuring blue Curaçao. One variation adds a dash of lime cordial to the mix. Another variation with a dash of raspberry cordial is known as a “Fruit tingle”.
1 part Blue Curacao
1 part Vodka
4 parts Lemon juice
Pour vodka and blue curacao in a shaker with ice, shake well & strain into ice filled highball glass, top with lemonade, garnish and serve.
For those last minute drink buys, another great spot to go to is Liquor City. You can find all sorts of drinks there – think brandy, gin, whisky, wine and shooters, plus, they have stores almost everywhere. So your guests will be spoilt for choice and you won’t have to mission around the city when you need to replenish your liquor supply – sounds like a win-win to us! Details: liquorcity.co.za
While some of us may be planning a trad New Year’s party, there are many who’d love something a little different. We loved these ideas from Marie Claire on not-so-typical streamers-and-sparklers shindigs.
One Last Hurrah
Getty Design by Jennifer Chalet
Many amongst us use the New Year as an excuse to sign up for gym memberships, start diets, and throw out our cigarettes. Take the sting out of New Year’s resolutions by throwing a One Last Hurrah party where guests—you guessed it—get to indulge in their vices before diving into next year. Make sure to ask your friends what their resolutions are so you can plan accordingly AKA get all the cakes and fried foods your hearts’ desire. (Plus, alcohol. Obviously.)
A Black and White Ball
Getty Design by Jennifer Chalet
Truman Capote’s infamous 1966 Black and White Ball is recognized as having been the party of the century, so what could be better inspiration for your own fête? Capote’s venue was the Grand Ballroom at the Plaza (#casual), but while you may not be able to rent out an actual ballroom, that doesn’t mean you can’t emulate the party. Copy Capote and have guests wear black and white clothing with masks, only to be removed at midnight. At Capote’s soiree, women were also encouraged to carry fans, but carrying a fan means one less hand for holding a drink, so…this rule is more flexible.
Getty Design by Jennifer Chalet
New Year’s Eve is all about adoring yourself with the shiniest clothing and accessories possible, so it only makes sense that glitter and NYE should be combined in a full-out glitter party. Have guests dress in as many sequins as possible and hand out glitter-covered and bedazzled hats, sunglasses, and bow ties as party favours. The best part: Glitter decorations are super easy to DIY. The amazing photos of your party will be well worth the headache of trying to clean up all that glitter afterwards.
Midnight in Paris
Getty Design by Jennifer Chalet
First of all, if you haven’t seen the excellent movie, do so immediately. Once that’s done, you can start planning your Midnight in Paris party, with the actual theme of Paris in the 1920s. Sure, you’ve probably been to a dozen Gatsby-themed parties in the last few years, but the Parisian angle keeps this one fresh. Guests will dress accordingly and you can serve the most popular drinks of the day (mostly gin-based), crank some jazz, and try your hand at the Charleston.
Getty Design by Betsy Farrell
If your idea of a great New Year’s Eve get-together is more about relaxation and good company than staying up at an all-hours event, take the “out with the old, in with the new” mantra literally and arrange a relaxing spa party for your girlfriends. You can get in some exfoliation, set up a nail bar, and recharge while you enjoy comfort food and marathon Gilmore Girls.
Whatever kind of party you’re having, nibbles are more or less a must-have. Serve them early to help line those stomachs and your friends will love you even more.
Photo courtesy Ten22 Studio
An array of paired cheeses served on standing stylish forks, styled by The TomKat Studio.
Photo courtesy HonestlyYum
Slice loaves of French bread into 2cm slices. Toast in oven. Once they have cooled a bit slather them with ricotta and garnish with a selection of combinations below – or your own.
hardboiled egg and chives; cucumbers, mint and dill; smoked salmon and dill, leeks caramelized in butter; strawberries and aged balsamic vinegar; extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest and sea salt; radishes and sea salt; smoked salmon and dill; blueberries and honey; cucumbers, mint and dill; hazelnuts and apricot jam; tomatoes and basil pesto
Bacon-Wrapped Apricots with Sage
Photo by Con Poulos
24 small fresh sage leaves
24 large dried apricots
8 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thirds
2 tablespoons maple syrup
toothpicks, for serving
Heat oven to 180°C. Place a sage leaf on each apricot, wrap with a piece of bacon, and place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Bake until the bacon is beginning to crisp, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Remove from oven and brush with the syrup. Serve with toothpicks.
Pears with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto
Photo by Mikkel Vang
3 pears each cut into 8 wedges
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup rocket
Block blue cheese, cut into small pieces
100 mg thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise
In a large bowl, toss the pears and lemon juice.
Layer a slice of pear, a rocket leaf and a piece of cheese on a piece of prosciutto and roll up.
Something a little more substantial
Because you just may need it later on… Two quick dishes you can serve straight from the pan.
Gnocchi with sundried tomatoes and white beans
Photo and recipe courtesy www. sweetpeasandsaffron.com
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
¼-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, diced
4 cups loosely packed spinach
540ml white beans, drained and rinsed
Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the gnocchi and separate them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and slightly crispy. Remove from pan.
Add the mushrooms, and cook for 3 or so minutes until soft (add additional olive oil if needed). Return the gnocchi to the pan and add the sundried tomatoes, spinach and white beans. Stir until spinach is wilted and everything is heated through. Add additional salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Penne Arrabiata with Mozzarella and Chorizo
Photo and recipe courtesy www.kitchensanctuary.com
500g penne pasta
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1T olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
200g chorizo, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 T tomato puree
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 t dried thyme – or 3 stalks of fresh thyme
1 heaped tsp of dried chilli flakes (to taste)
1 t sugar
1 ball mozzarella (approx 250g)
3 T finely grated parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
2 T chopped fresh chives
Cook pasta until al dente. In a large pan, heat oil, fry garlic, onion and peppers until soft. Add chorizo and cook for a further few minutes until it starts to darken. Now add garlic, tomato puree, and after a minute add canned tomatoes, thyme, chilli flakes and sugar. Bring it to a gentle bubble and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Mix the drained pasta into the sauce when ready to serve. Stir in the mozzarella chunks, heat for a further minute and then turn off the heat. Sprinkle with a little parmesan, freshly ground black pepper and some chopped chives.
Get the party going
Families that play together stay together!
– a point-and-shoot camera with a flash and a self-timer. Ideally use a cheap one.
– a bunch of friends
Set the self-timer and the game begins. Each player must hold the camera at arm’s length and point it at themselves very briefly (like a selfie), before passing it on to their left. Keep going, until eventually the camera goes off with a flash of light, and much laughter. Check out the shot before starting again. Great for FB and for sharing.
Photo via wpengine.netdna-cdn.com
Photo and recipe courtesy deliciuoslyyum.com
Perfect partner to a late night coffee – slices of naartjie dunked in chocolate… with sea salt sprinkled on top.
5 naartjies, in segments
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate,
sea salt or coarse salt
1 tsp butter
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. In a microwave safe bowl melt chocolate slowly. Add teaspoon of butter. Dip each naartjie segment halfway into the melted chocolate and place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and repeat until all slices are evenly coated and sprinkled with salt. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until chocolate has hardened.
Morning after SOS – how to feel human again
Indulged a bit more than you intended too perhaps? Too late to cry over spilt milk, but before the milk is completely spilt, the golden rule:
Have a glass of water between every glass of alcohol, and have a jug of water before going to bed.
If that didn’t help quite enough, here are a few more ways to make 1 Jan a good one.
STAY SAFE – DON’T DRINK & DRIVE