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New Year’s Party Food Round-up

New Year's Margarita

Hello, New Year’s Eve Eve! I’ve always loved the turn of the year. Not for the parties — no, this girl stays home for a low-key celebration with the sibs, our collective four-legged friends and, often, a movie.

Food is, of course, central, but a total joy to prepare — no pressure of Christmas dinner perfection. No one cares if the balance of cuisines is cattywampus. Or if everything — or nothing — is batter fried. No one’s judging the cheese plate. No one’s frowning at the label on the bottle of Prosecco. No one’s discretely checking their hair and make-up in a mirror on their lap.

At SoupAddict’s New Year’s Eve gatherings, make-up and kempt hair is optional. A good appetite, a willingness to overlook mismatched stemware (which may or may not have water spots) and camaraderie with the beings I’m closest to on this earth, required.

No, it’s not for the parties. Or even the food, really. It’s the symbolic starting over. 2011 picked up chaotic speed in September and blurred right through the holiday season. I’m bowled over, actually, that it’s already December 30th.

January 1st and 2nd will find me putting away holiday decorations, rearranging the house, trying out the new treadmill and digging through the disaster that is my kitchen. And quietly looking forward to the blank slate of January.

With January bleak and brown and cold, this summer girl hunkers down, stepping out of the house only when necessary. Seed catalogs will litter every flat surface as I plan, sketch and dream about the year’s gardens.

And dream big about the year in general.

But first, there’s one last 2011 evening to prepare for. I’ve narrowed down the menu to a few things I wanted to share. Hunting for new appetizers and cocktails was surprisingly fun this year — there’s so much good stuff being created out there on the interwebs.

In addition to links to the finalists, I’m also including the recipe for my favorite margarita, which is always, always on the New Year’s Eve menu. (Links open in a new browser window so it’s easy to return to this page.)


  • Green Goddess Crostini – a recent recipe I developed here on SoupAddict with New Year’s Eve in mind, I look for any excuse to use Green Goddess-anything.
  • Ruffled Potato Chips – crazy fun idea for a twist on regular potato chips that will look awesome on a serving platter. I’ll be trying these with black truffle salt and finely grated Parm.
  • Gorgonzola and Pistachio Shortbread – I’m sweets’d out, people. Savory shortbread sounds mighty good.
  • Smoked Egg Salad Crostini – I fell in love with smoked eggs last winter — yup, that’s hard-boiled eggs smoked on the grill — they make an incredibly savory egg salad, like nothing you’ve had before.


  • Winter Party Punch – this is my all-around party favorite, no matter the event. It’s gorgeous in the bowl, everyone loves it, and there’s never any leftover no matter what else is being served.
  • Ginger Pineapple Sparkling Punch – I served a variation of this at Christmas (using Champagne instead of vodka). Totally delicious. Don’t be a piker with the ginger — the result is not ginger-hot, just ginger-delicious.
  • Pomegranate Champagne Punch – a gorgeous Champagne-rum punch flecked with pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.
  • New Year’s Margarita – everyone has their favorite margarita, right? This is mine (recipe below).
  • Homemade Grenadine – how awesome is this!
  • Frizzante Mojito – I think Champagne makes everything better. I don’t often turn to the mojito as a beverage of choice, but this one makes the cut.
  • Reserve Basilica – Rum and Champagne? Yes, please. I’m not certain what Yuzu juice is, but I’m fairly certain I saw it at the grocery store recently.
  • Frozen Peach Bellini – a slushy take on an Italian classic, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
  • The Painkiller – the search results blurb for “rum drinks” described this is a rum-spiked orange creamsicle. You had me at rum-spiked orange creamsicle.


  • Boozy French Toast — no contest here: this has become a tradition in my home. So delicious, so easy (prepared and refrigerated the night before, you just hit the snooze alarm New Year’s morning, shove it in the oven, and go back to sleep for a half hour). Best consumed while wearing cozy jammies.

Happy New Year, Everyone! Here’s to a healthy, grand-adventure-filled year — Dream Big in 2012!

Karen xo

New Year’s Margarita

(a variation of this was first published here on exactly 2 years ago)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: serves 4

12 ounces frozen limeade
2 cups ice cubes
6 fluid ounces tequila (get the good stuff; 2012 only comes around once)
3 fluid ounces Grand Marnier
1 lime, cut in half
Splash fresh orange juice
Coarse salt, for the rims

Place the limeade and ice cubes in a blender. Pour the tequila, Grand Marnier, and orange juice over the ice, and squeeze half of the lime on top.

Using the ice crusher setting, blend until cubes are broken down (5 to 10 seconds) then switch to a medium-high speed. Blend until creamy and foamy.

Slice the remaining lime half in half and squeeze gently around the rim of each glass.

Spread salt on a plate and dip the glass rims into the salt to coat.

Pour the margaritas into the glasses and serve immediately.

Print This Recipe


Saturday 31st of December 2011

Karen, I wish you all the best in 2012. Thank you for delighting and entertaining us all year long. Imagine that you're sitting out on a deck in 80 degree weather after trying first the strawberry mojito and then the kiwi (las fresas all the way).

Here's to a good, prosperous and safe new year.


Saturday 31st of December 2011

When I saw the margarita, which is my vacation drink,(going to Mexico next month so watch out!) I wondered if you used the frozen Limeade, it just has that slushy frosty luscious quality look. Great recipe round up and I love that you're a seed catalog garden planner person, such a fun thing to contemplate. I actually have a Winter garden with radishes, lettuces,beets, carrots etc. One of the things I enjoy about our climate. I want to try some of your soup recipes in 2012 and to follow you better I'm going to subscribe by email. Enjoy your stay at home cozy New Years Eve;-)


Friday 30th of December 2011

I zeroed in on your cocktails. Yum! Happy new year!

Confessions of a Culinary Diva

Friday 30th of December 2011

I don't remember the last time I was out for New Years, we prefer to stay home with Sasha the Wonder dog, cook a great meal, and enjoy being together. I'm also looking forward to a great new year. This is a great collection of entertaining options that I will keep in mind for the next months. Would love to get some gardening ideas and suggestions if you get time to post - we are just going to be starting our planting the second week of January.

Happy New Year!

Simply Tia

Friday 30th of December 2011

I'm sooooo bookmarking this and will try to make each of these cocktails in the next few days. They all sound delicious.

Sending you Best Wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!