Tips to make New Year's Eve sing'n'swing

Tips to make New Year's Eve sing'n'swing

December 27th, 2012 by Susan Pierce in Chattnow Outabout

The bar area for a party should be out of a room's traffic flow, but close enough so the host can easily participate in conversations. This marble-topped bar in the home of Wanda Hall in Ringgold, Ga., includes plenty of serving space, shelves beneath to hold bottles and glasses and a prep sink.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

SERVE A SIGNATURE DRINK

Having friends in on New Year's Eve? Try one of these drink suggestions from local bar owners and bartenders.

MIMOSA

2/3 glass of champagne

1/3 glass orange juice

Stir and garnish with a cherry in bottom of glass and an orange slice at top.

-- Jim Striker, owner of RAW

BLACK VELVET

Fill half of a Collins glass with stout beer, then fill remainder of glass with champagne and stir.

-- Jim Striker, owner of RAW

LET ME SEE YOUR TOOTSIE ROLL

11/2 ounces of 360 Double Chocolate Vodka

1 ounce Dekuyper Island Blue Pucker

Splash of lemonade

Add a splash of bling around the rim by dipping glass in gold or silver Sugar Brights, which can be purchased in the baking section of any grocery.

This may be served as a drink or as a martini.

-- Brandy Holtcamp and Tara Streck, Bud's Sports Bar

I'M GONNA SKINNY IT UP!

11/2 ounces Skinny Girl Tangerine Vodka or Skinny Girl Cucumber Vodka

Soda water to taste

Mix vodka and water, garnish with either orange twist or cucumber slice for a low-cal drink.

-- Brandy Holtcamp and Tara Streck, Bud's Sports Bar

NEW YEAR'S EVE DELIGHT

11/2 ounces Smirnoff Whipped Creamed Vodka

1 ounce white cranberry juice

Mix and garnish with fresh cranberries.

-- Brandy Holtcamp and Tara Streck, Bud's Sports Bar

CINNAMON-APPLE PIE

11/4 ounces Vanilla Vodka

1/2 ounce Cinnamon Schnapps

Apple pie drink mix (available in liquor stores)

Dip rim of martini glass in green sugar sprinkles. Shake together ingredients, pour into martini glass.

- Krista Little, Dalton Depot and Trackside Tavern

So the Mayans got it wrong and we will celebrate a new year on Tuesday.

But now that the world's not ending and friends are actually coming over, you've got to figure out how to throw together a ring-a-ding-ding New Year's Eve get-together.

Here are some suggestions by local merchants and service providers for a memorable last night of 2012.

THE SET-UP

• Group chairs and other seating into conversation areas, each with a nearby food station, to promote mixing and mingling.

• If you know the guys are going to huddle around the big-screen to watch LSU play Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, group one seating area in front of the TV and another at the other end of the room for guests who want more personal conversation.

• The bar should be placed out of the room's traffic flow, but close enough for the host to still interact with guests' conversations.

WELL-STOCKED BAR

• For a party of 12, Lisa Andrews at Jax Liquor Store on Market Street says the essentials to have on hand are a fifth each of scotch, bourbon and vodka, as well as a red and a white wine.

"Those are real basics, but you can certainly go fancier if you want. You don't need gin, rum or tequila unless you are having theme parties. If you're having that few (12 guests), you know what they like to drink," she says.

"If you're having 50 or 60 guests, then I would certainly add gin, tequila and brandy."

For a champagne toast at midnight, Andrews suggests pouring Korbel.

• Graham Eischeid, manager of Dodge City Liquors on East Brainerd Road, says the basics are "the big five: vodka, bourbon, rum, tequila and gin" -- a fifth of each, with Scotch optional.

Eischeid's shopping list for mixers include orange juice, cranberry juice, tonic water, soda water, Coca-Cola, Sprite, ginger ale and a diet soda.

"The juices, sodas and waters also offer options for guests who want nonalcoholic drinks," he adds.

For a champagne midnight toast, he suggests two bottles of Moet Chandon in order to serve 12, since a toast doesn't require a full champagne flute.

DECORATIONS

• Cindy Hammontree, owner of Balloon A'Fair, says home parties don't lend themselves to midnight balloon drops, but balloons and streamers still set the mood.

"Usually for a home party, it's loose (helium-filled) balloons that the hostess lets go to float on the ceiling with lots of ribbon coming down," says Hammontree.

Other popular choices are table balloon bouquets and/or floor-height balloon bouquets. Balloons are in such demand, she says, the sooner a hostess calls in her order, the more likely the order can be filled.

Hammontree says the traditional black-silver-white color scheme remains the preferred choice in balloons.

• Use a funnel to fill balloons with confetti before blowing them up. At midnight, revelers can pop them for a confetti drop.

• Write out "fortunes" -- such as predictions of new love or coming into money in 2013 -- on strips of paper. Slip one in each balloon for guests to discover when the balloons are popped at midnight.

• Horseshoes are traditional symbols of good luck. Hang a real or cardboard version over the door. But it must be hung with the "U" facing upwards or legend has it your luck will fall out.

• Don't know all the words to "Auld Lang Syne?" Make a large copy of the midnight serenade and stick it up on the wall or door so everyone can use the cheat sheet at the stroke of 12.

ICEBREAKERS

If you're having a dozen or so friends to your home, they may not all know each other. Have some icebreakers ready that prompt conversation between strangers.

• Before the party, write down a statement about each guest that occurred during 2012 on one sheet of paper. For example, "Gave birth to twins," "Last child graduated from college" or "Wore the same pants to work every day for a week."

Pass out the sheets of paper. As guests mingle, they can ask each other the questions to determine whose name belongs with each statement. Whoever guesses the most guests correctly within a specified timespan wins. The prize might be a gag gift, a gift certificate to a local restaurant or simply getting to choose the party music they want for 30 minutes.

• If all the guests do know each other, have each write down five resolutions for 2013 on separate slips of paper. Place them all in a party hat, pull one out at a time and read it. Everyone has to guess who they think made that resolution.

PARTY FAVORS

Keri Gentry, merchandising manager at Party City on Hamilton Place Boulevard, says there are party favors and souvenirs ranging from glittered 2013 glasses in a variety of colors to pink T-shirts imprinted with "Kiss Me Before I Sober Up."

"New Year's Eve favors really start selling a day or two after Christmas," she says, and prices for noisemakers, clappers, hats, tiaras, confetti and other party essentials begin at 99 cents and range to $39 for a party box.

Gentry says the New Year's Eve party kits are best sellers and in demand to economically outfit large parties.

"One big box fits 50 guests. It has 25 hats, 25 tiaras, 30 horns, 20 noisemakers," she describes.

CALL A CAB NOW

As always, inebriated guests should never be allowed to leave behind the wheels of their cars. Either have an open bed or an air mattresses on hand for them to bunk in, or call a cab.

"If a State Farm Homeowners Policy holder is found liable as a result of a houseguest's drunken act stemming from that guest being served alcohol by the policyholder, then the policy's liability provisions would apply for the policyholder," says Brownie Au of State Farm Insurance.

In other words, you can be held liable for an accident that your drunken guest has after leaving your home.

Tim Duckett of Millennium Taxi Service has a solution that not only gets your guests home safely, but ends the party when the hostess is ready. Reservations are being taken to have guests picked up at specific times either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, he says.

The company has a 15-passenger van or nine-passenger cabs, so the whole party can depart at once. The charge varies according to the number of guests and the distances they are chauffeured, he explains.

Duckett says on a normal weekend, his company gets between 300 to 500 calls for a cab, but on New Year's, "we may get 1,000 to 1,500 calls for cabs over New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. It's our busiest night of the year," he says.

For that reason, reservations for pick-ups should be made as soon as possible.