New Year's Eve is almost here and for those planning parties to ring in 2014, finding the right menu is one of the biggest tasks. Depending on the type of event, food offerings can range from finger foods and appetizers to full meals. With each of those culinary choices comes the question of what to drink.
For those attending a traditional New Year's Eve party without a full meal, cocktails are a common choice. Erica Yakubisin, the lead bartender at E Martini Bar in Green, said there are multiple options for festive, holiday-themed drinks that are simple to prepare.
Al Lopez, owner of E Martini Bar, noted the impact a good cocktail can have on an event.
"A good martini can really lift everyone's spirits," Lopez said.
One is the sugar cookie martini, a drink made with vanilla vodka, Iced Cake Vodka, Disaronno and a splash of creme. Yakubisin also recommends the chocolate peppermint martini and a peach and pomegranate martini, both vodka-based cocktails with a touch of sweetness.
If a full meal is on the agenda for New Year's Eve, wine marries nicely with many of the items traditionally served for the occasion.
"On New Year's Eve, you have a lot of sour foods, things like pork and sauerkraut, sauerkraut balls and with mostly high acidity foods, you want a richer wine, like a Pinot gris, a Pinot grigio or a Sauvignon blanc," said Joe Withey, president and CEO of the Nauti Vine winery in Green.
Matching the acidity of a wine with the acidity of a meal is important, Withey noted. When dining on holiday fare such as ham or pork, Withey recommended a mild red wine such as a Pinot noir. If shrimp or shellfish are on the menu, a medium-bodied white wine, such as chardonnay, is a better fit.
Champagne is often on hand at New Year's Eve celebrations and Withey noted that it goes well with many foods. Finding a good wine at an affordable price is easier than it was as recently as 10-15 years ago, Withey noted. The rising number of small, local wineries has resulted in a lower price for many popular vintages.
"There are so many different varieties from $10 up to $100 and there's no good reason to spend a ton of money to find a good wine," Withey said.
When preparing for a party, Withey noted that white wines should be chilled and left in the refrigerator the night before. Medium- or heavy-bodied red wines should be served at room temperature, with a smaller glass better for white wines and a larger one for red wines.