4 Creative New Year's Eve Party Ideas

by Jordan Catapano

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Skip the small talk, the same ol' ball dropping countdown, and any embarrassing games spontaneously introduced by an uninvited neighbor.

Instead, plan ahead for some entertaining and drinkable activities that will make your party one to remember.

Champagne Bar

Set up a do-it-yourself champagne bar so your guests can create their own libations. Purchase a few bottles of your favorite champagne and five to ten liqueurs or spirits. I'd suggest Creme de Cassis, Lemon Liqueur, Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Peach Schnapps, St. Germain, Pear Liqueur, Drambuie, Creme de Menth (white), and Creme de Cacao (white) to start. Put the champagne on ice, pour spouts on all of the liquor bottles, and charms or wine tags on the flutes. When your guests arrive, direct them to pour just a splash of the mixer into the champagne glass and then to fill champagne to the rim. Your friends will enjoy trying different combinations and even blending several mixers in one glass.

Tequila and Mescal Tasting

Count down the hours to midnight with a thorough tasting of tequilas and mescals. Pick up some margarita salt, limes, a bottle of tequila silver, gold, reposado, anejo, extra anejo, and a few varieties of mescal.

Conduct a little research ahead of time to educate yourself about the differences between the bottles, or assign each friend one of the spirits to study up on before the party. Spend the evening teaching each other about the history of these delicious liquors, and perhaps even find a few new favorites.

Red Wine Test

With your friends, decide if a bottle of wine tastes better as the price gets higher. Select 8 to 10 bottles with increasing price tags of $5 - $10. I'd suggest that you stick within the same varietal, such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet, or Zinfandel. Cover up each wine with an opaque wine sack and attach numbered tasting notes from the winery's website. Provide each of your guests with a pre-printed paper that includes the wine tag numbers, and a spot to guess the price.

Think up some silly prizes for the most and least accurate guesser, and prepare for some friendly, yet heated discussion.

Cocktail Challenge

Bring the current craze of mixology into your own kitchen by hosting a cocktail challenge. Provide each of your guests with a comfortable work space and selection of 5 to 7 unusual ingredients.

Be creative! What would rum + mint + licorice + grenadine taste like? Besides popular spirits, stock up on mixers, juices, fresh herbs, spices, candy and see what other goodies your pantry might contribute to the world's next amazing cocktail.

Do you a favorite party idea of your own? Comment here or find me at ThisGirlWalksIntoABar.com.

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