Hosting New Year’s Eve involves a certain amount of responsibility—you’ve promised your friends and family a great time on one of the most anticipated nights of the year. No biggie, right? Well, for some of us, at least, it can feel a little bit daunting. The key is to remember, first and foremost, that everyone is there to have a good time. Second, choose a few memorable nibbles and drinks that will not only feel make your guests feel special but will also get them talking—i.e., skip the frozen mini-quiches and other predictables. To that end, we’ve provided a couple of our favorite cocktail and hors d’oeuvre recipes from At Home. They’re delicious, easy to pull together, and a surefire way to get the party started.
Champagne with Pear Nectar and Rosemary
2½ ounces rosemary syrup (See below)
10 ounces pear nectar
750 ml bottle champagne or sparkling wine, well chilled.
Pour champagne into a wide pitcher or measuring cup. Allow foam to subside. Slowly add a small amount of the remaining ingredients. It will foam again. Let foam subside again and add more, continuing until all ingredients have been added. Immediately pour into champagne glasses and serve.
(Yields 1 cup)
4-5 sprigs rosemary (about 1 ounce), cut into lengths to fit into pot
3/4 cup sugar
¾ cup cups water
Combine rosemary, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to slow simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit overnight. Strain through fine strainer.
Wild Mushroom and Gouda Mini-Sandwiches
Yields 20 mini-sandwiches
Make Ahead: Sandwiches can be assembled and toasted up to three hours ahead and reheated in a 300º oven before serving.
5 portobello mushrooms, cleaned
1 pound white mushrooms, cleaned
½ cup finely chopped shallots (about six large shallots)
½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic (about one clove)
2 tablespoons chopped thyme
¼ cup brandy
8 slices Gouda cheese
8 slices sourdough bread
¼ cup olive oil
¼ pound butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1. Place 2 portobello mushrooms and half of the white mushrooms in the work bowl of a food processor and process to a fine paste. Use a knife to dice remaining portobello mushrooms and slice remaining white mushrooms.
2. Heat oil in a sauté pan over moderately high flame. Add diced and sliced mushrooms, shallots and garlic and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushroom paste and brandy and continue cooking for 5 minutes more. Add thyme, salt and pepper, cook for 3 minutes more, then remove pan from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
3. On a clean surface, lay out 4 bread slices. Top bread with a slice of cheese and a dollop of mushroom mixture, then layer another slice of cheese over mushrooms. Top the 4 sandwiches with remaining 4 slices of bread.
4. Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter in sauté pan and add one sandwich. Toast until golden brown, then flip and toast the other side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches, adding more butter as necessary. Slice sandwiches into six squares and serve hot.