Fabulous appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and champagne are a hit for a New Year’s Eve party. By starting your party around 8:00 or 9:00 p.m., after the dinner hour, you can skip a full meal and let guests enjoy a buffet of appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, mini sandwiches and a mini dessert bar at midnight with champagne.
What’s the difference between appetizers and hors d’oeuvres? Hors d’oeuvres are associated with finger foods and do not require utensils to eat such as a pate or caviar on a cracker. If your New Year’s Eve party invitations say “heavy hors d’oeuvres”, it usually means there is no meal to follow, the hors d’oeuvres “are” the meal. Appetizers can require utensils and are usually served during a meal as a first course.
When deciding on what to serve, if you are not having a dinner and because of the duration of a New Year’s Eve party and the alcohol consumption, you should allow 12-15 hors d’oeuvres/appetizers per person. If you are providing tables and chairs for guests, including appetizers that require a fork can be appropriate. If seating is limited, it is more appropriate to only include hors d’oeuvres that can be easily eaten with the hands. If your New Year’s Eve party invitations requested quests to dress in “holiday festive” or “holiday chic”, your elegantly dressed guests might not enjoy elaborate dipping sauces or messy hors d’oeuvres. Sticking to items which are easy to eat and do not result in a great deal of mess will be greatly appreciated by all of the guests.
- Pan Seared Scallops
- Skinny Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Rosemary Roasted Cashews
- Tangy Cocktail Franks
- Hot Corn Dip
- Four Cheese Stuffed Silly Mushrooms
- Cheesy Quinoa Bites
It is also important to consider hors d’oeuvres and/or appetizers in a number of different categories when selecting appetizers for your New Year’s Eve party. In particular you might want to consider serving both sweet and savory appetizers. If you opt to provide both types of appetizers, you have the option of either offering both types of hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening or offering the savory appetizers for the majority of the evening and then switching to sweet appetizers just before midnight when the New Year’s Eve party is likely to end within an hour or two. A mini dessert bar with bite size portions allows guests to sample a variety and cuts down on waste from plates where only a bite or two would have sufficed.
If you plan to only offer sweets and dessert type foods in the last hour of two of the party, you should purchase or prepare less of these than the savory hors d’oeuvres. However, if you will be serving both throughout the evening you should purchase or prepare a more equal distribution of food.
Finally, it is also important to consider how the appetizers, hors d’oeuvres and desserts will be distributed. If you will have servers circulating with trays of food, you can prepare differently than if the food will be left on a buffet table. Specifically if you plan to offer hors d’oeuvres on a buffet table, you may wish to select mostly items which do not have to be eaten hot if you do not have a method of keeping these items warm such as a hot plate or warming trays. If the hors d’oeuvres will be passed by servers you can serve hot items as the servers will bring out small portions at a time and the rest can be kept warm in the kitchen until needed.