New Year’s Essentials

new years essentials oysters

Sometimes hosting the party can be as much fun as being invited. The Manual has compiled some new ideas to make your evening even more memorable.


Champagne is obviously a must, however, it can also be a source of confusion. Legally, the only authentic champagne hails from the region of Champagne in France. But happily, there are a range of good “champagnes” from within the United States. Here are a few recommendations: Iron Horse Classic Vintage Brut 2007Schramsberg J Schram Tete de Cuvee 2004 , and Roederer Estate L´Ermitage 2002 , all of which are produced in California.  If you are interested in authentic champagne, some reliable names to consider are: Pol RogerMoët & Chandon, and Veuve Clicquot. If you are really in the mood to splurge, consider the always popular Cristal or Dom Perignon.

For a little bit of variety you may also want to consider stepping away from the tradition and give this sparkling rum punch a shot.


Nothing says “celebration” quite like caviar. It’s over the top, and definitely an acquired taste for some, but caviar is a luxurious delicacy. If you have the knowhow, make some blini pancakes (which can also be purchased if necessary), spread some crème fraiche and a dab of caviar on top  for a bite of decadence.

Pop into your local fish market and pick up some thinly sliced smoked Scottish or Atlantic salmon (be sure to have a taste before purchasing to guarantee freshness). Lightly toast some white bread, spread on some butter and finish with a paper-thin slice of the smoked fish.

New York turned oysters (once a working class staple) into a delicacy and we love serving a dozen or more at an intimate party. They have a refreshing quality and are a well know aphrodisiac (just in time for that New Year’s kiss).  In addition to serving them in their natural state, we recommend preparing some classic Oysters Rockefeller. You may also want to include mignonnette, which pairs well with a raw oyster.

Since New Year’s Eve is so drink heavy, have some fun with your appetizers. Add some sliders to the mix. They’re easy to make (or buy) and will go great with the more traditional “pigs in a blanket”. Serve both items up with some creative dips such as a variety of different mustards, relishes, and for a real surprise, mix one tablespoon of black truffle oil with ketchup to make the ultimate condiment.


And since tonight is a rather boozy affair, we like to continue that theme with dessert. Try a Bourbon Chocolate Cake,  a Trifle with sherry and brandy,  Amaretto Roasted Pears or a good ole fashioned pile of Rum Balls. You could also try going international. Rosca de Reyes or “Three Kings Bread” is a Mexican holiday tradition.

Having lots of finger food and hearty options will help curve that potentially nasty hangover that Baby New Year has a tendency of bringing with him.

Enjoy! And report back to us with any foods that made your “count down” one for the books.

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