How to Outsmart New Year’s Eve With Bubbly at Home

by in Drinks, Holidays, December 29th, 2011

New Year's Eve Champagne at HomeThere’s so much pressure to have fun on New Year’s Eve that it’s easy to find yourself overpaying at a restaurant or bar for the right to experience tepid beer, viciously thumping music and the crush of overindulging strangers. Happily, you can easily outsmart this New Year’s outcome by having the kind of home bubbly celebration described here:

Bubbles of Any Kind: Whether it’s real Champagne from France or one of the less expensive types I call “bubbly stunt doubles” — Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain — bubbles are the cornerstone of a home New Year’s celebration.

Throughout the Night: The key is not to save the bubbly for the midnight ball drop, but to drink it throughout your festive night. A lighter-style blanc de blancs Champagne (from white grapes) works perfectly as an appetite-stoking aperitif or with lighter bites, such as Ted Allen’s Crudo on the Half Shell. But a richer, people-pleasing Prosecco or American sparkler would provide a cleansing lift to entrees such as Alex Guarnaschelli’s Oven “Fried” Pizza.

Coupe: Although these days the preferred Champagne glass is flute-shaped to retain the drink’s bubbles, New Year’s Eve is the time to inject your night with a bit of Don Draper glamour by opting for coupe, or saucer-shaped, glasses. The bubbles won’t last as long, but you won’t notice that if you’re drinking heartily enough. I recently discovered that a footed cake platter, widely available where housewares are sold, can operate as a colossal coupe, the use of which will add a memorable dose of exuberance and creativity to your gathering.

Big Bottles: Speaking of going big, now is the time to hit up your local wine shop for a magnum, a double magnum or an even larger bottle. Don’t stress — these days there are more and more affordable sparklers available in large sizes.

Combining the Parts: With all of our elements in place — bubbles, a big bottle and a giant coupe glass — you are destined for New Year’s merriment, as I demonstrate in this video.

Saber: Finally, the bravest souls may want to attempt to saber open a bottle of bubbly, which Ted Allen demonstrates here with a knife and I show how to do with a ski.

Every week, Mark Oldman — wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the hit series The Winemakers — shares with readers the basics of wine, while making it fun and practical. In the coming weeks, he’ll tell you what to ask at a wine store, at what temperature to serve it and share his must-have wine tools.

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