Prelude: Not to sound like a broken record, but reading the previous Tartine blogpost and then eating there before a booze-filled NYE is HIGHLY recommended. That bread and cheese will soak up all the champagne and absinthe-filled cocktails. I promise.
Lesson #1: Host a tasteful pre-party. If you want to take Taaka vodka shots while blasting Eminem, host a pregame. If you want to drink economically-priced sparkling rosé out of real glasses, not red solo cups, and listen to Curtis Mayfield, call it a pre-party. Your friends will 1. feel more important and 2. feel more motivated to not get wasted and leave a mess.
Lesson #2: Put some extra effort into cocktails. After deciding to host a pre-party, get some fancy cocktail inspo from Instagram (my favorite is @cocktail_acdmy), Esquire, Pinterest, whatever. This year, I found an awesome company out of Oakland (Oakland Spirits Co.) and bought their Uptown Dry gin. Also, while in New York a couple weeks ago, Michelle and I spontaneously picked up a few different types of Scrappy’s bitters. On New Year’s Eve we grabbed blood oranges, limes, fresh mint, and cucumber for people to mix and match (along with other mixers like tonic water, ginger ale, etc.). It was a total hit. Our favorite combo was a few generous dashes of lavender bitters + mint + gin + tonic water. So easy. No simple syrups or anything complicated.
Lesson #3: Just get the double-stuffed. Oreos that is. Another key difference between pregames and pre-parties is that the latter implies that the host will be thoughtful enough to put out some food. When it comes to choosing snacks, let’s be real, everyone loves Oreos. And they’re the most satisfying thing to wake up to as you recover from your hangover and adjust to the honest light of New Year’s Day. Popcorn is another fun and easy (and inexpensive) snack to make for a lot of people who already ate dinner. And besides, serving fancy gin and bitters makes it fancy enough. But, if you happen to have truffle salt on hand, I suggest adding some to a bag of popcorn and shaking it up before serving in a big bowl. It’s a classy move. Do it.
Lesson #4: You are allowed in the VIP section until you’re not. In our experience, whipping out some killer dance moves can get you across that velvet rope like an A-lister. But, proceed with caution. It’s never a matter of if you’ll get kicked out, but when. Lance the security guard will eventually “help you find the door.” So, twerk your hearts out while you can, kids. Happy New Year.
To quote Billy Joel, we’ll “all go down together.”