What to Make, Buy or Gift for a New Year’s Eve Celebration

Whether you’re hosting or attending a New Year’s Eve soirée, the strategy this year is sophisticated yet simple (you know, in addition to decadent and celebratory). To help you ring in the new year in style, we’ve broken down the party process into three categories: make, buy and gift. Here are our suggested picks for each.

kale salad persimmons crispy chickpeas fried shallots recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

What To Make: A Bountiful Green Salad

A crisp salad is a welcome break from an otherwise decadent spread, but New Year’s is not the time to just toss together some lettuce and call it a day. Serve this hearty kale number—which features tart persimmons, dried apricots and a tangy lemon-Dijon dressing—on a big platter for a full view of all the gorgeous toppings. It’s part salad, part work of art.

blood orange granita recipe
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

What To Make: A Chic, Simple Dessert

It wouldn’t be a true celebration without a dessert. Our M.O.? Seasonal, sophisticated and simple to make. A three-ingredient blood orange granita takes just five minutes to prepare (plus freezing time) and acts as a refreshing palate cleanser to end a decadent meal.

fruicuterie board recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

What To Buy: A Fruit-laden Cheese Board

While a classic charcuterie board is a no-brainer, it also runs the risk of ruining everyone’s appetite before the main event. Keep things light and fresh with our modern take on the cheese plate: a fruicuterie board. Stock up on the prettiest seasonal fruits you can find (apples, pears and alllll the fresh citrus), plus a few of your favorite cheeses and you’re on your way to a particularly irresistible platter. Our formula for selecting fromage? Something sharp, something soft and something funky.

ketel one botanical
Ketel One

What To Buy: Ketel One Botanical

Cocktails are the star of this celebration, are they not? Instead of the usual cloying juice-based drinks, shake things up with Ketel One Botanical. Each of the three varietals (Grapefruit & Rose, Cucumber & Mint and Peach & Orange Blossom) contains no carbs, no sugar, no artificial flavors, no artificial sweeteners and only 73 calories per serving*, and would make an excellent spritz with a splash of soda water, some ice and a simple garnish like fresh fruit. Bartender who?

*KETEL ONE BOTANICAL. Made With Vodka Distilled With Real Botanicals And Infused With Natural Flavors. 30% Alc/Vol. © Double Eagle Brands, B.V. Imported by Ketel One USA, Aliso Viejo, CA.* Ketel One Botanical (per 1.5oz.) & Soda Water (per 3 oz.): 73 Cals, 0g Carbs, 0g Protein, 0g Fat; White Table Wine (per 5 fl. oz., USDA ARS, National Nutrient Database May 2016): 121 Cals, 3.82 Carbs, 0.1g Protein, 0g Fat.

apple focaccia with blue cheese and herbs recipe
Photo: Matt Dutile/Styling: Erin McDowell

What To Gift: A Sweet And Savory Snack

If you’re just the guest this year, a fancy, decked out focaccia with blue cheese and herbs is sweet, savory and ready for a cocktail party. Think of it almost like a cheese plate: blue cheese, apples and honey, all baked on something that’s portable and easy to cut. Make it ahead and bring as a contribution to the feast.

cocoa peanut butter granola recipe
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

What To Gift: A Breakfast For The Morning After

After a long night of festivities, the last thing anyone wants to do is whip up an extravagant breakfast. Swoop in and steal everyone’s hearts by gifting an A.M. meal that will be ready and waiting when they wake up. This crunchy cocoa peanut butter granola is sweet but not too sugary and packed with plenty of protein to keep them satisfied. Package it in a cute jar with instructions for serving (yogurt and extra peanut butter, please). Want to really up the ante? Pair it with a bag of coffee beans.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...