Think you've got everything ready for your big New Year's Eve party? Not unless you charge in armed with my delicious New Year's Eve cocktail party recipes! This year we'll be serving:
Bacon-wrapped, blue-cheese-stuffed dates
Brie en croute with strawberry preserves and toasted walnuts
Ready to make this New Year's Eve the most scrumptious ever? Then let's get started!
1) Shake 3 to 4 drops of bitters onto each sugar cube. Let soak for 30 seconds.
2) Your friends in the living room have gone silent. They're planning something. Dammit.
3) With the sugar cubes properly soaked with bitters, place a cube in each Champagne flute. Add 1 ounce cognac to each.
4) You just wanted this to be a simple affair. Have some drinks, eat some food, count backward from 10, then everybody goes home.
5) Be in no way surprised when you hear a scream ring out from the living room, followed by a series of exaggerated gasps. The hijacking of your party has begun.
6) In the living room, find your friend Michael face down on the floor with another friend, Vanessa, fake-crying over his "dead" body.
7) After Vanessa cries, "He hath been MURDERED!" in an astonishingly bad English accent, whisk the word "fuck" in a bowl with a dollop of contempt until soft peaks of anger begin to form. Speak the "fuck" immediately, topped with a sprinkle of disappointment.
8) Say, "All right. How have you people decided to take this night from me?"
9) Roll your eyes in a clockwise motion when your buddy Edgar (also in a terrible English accent) decrees, "THERE IS A MURDERER IN OUR MIDST! Who shall take lead of the investigation and bring this MURDERER to justice for his or her heinous crime?"
"Don't look at me."
10) When he asks you, "Will it be ... YOOOOU who solves the crime?" say no. Explain to Edgar that his love of theme parties has gone too far. He throws too many of them, and everyone else is way too OK with that.
11) When Edgar asks, "What ever do you mean?" say, "Your foam party last year -- everyone got pink eye. Your summer Luau -- you didn't need to slaughter the pig in front of us before you roasted it. Children cried. Last week's Christmas party did not necessitate the hiring of little people to play elves. I walked in on an elf shitting in your toilet tank. These parties never go well. I don't see how the murder mystery thing can fare any better. Sorry."
12) When Michael wakes from the dead to say, "What a buzzkill ..." and Edgar, seething with rage, calls him an idiot for breaking character, say, "See. That's what I mean. Too serious. I'm done."
13) Top off the flutes with Champagne. Add a maraschino cherry to each glass to garnish.
14) When the lights go out, followed by a much more believable scream than the one from before, actually feel impressed by the performance going on in the living room.
15) Mix 3 ounces shame with 1 ounce regret.
16) Place the cocktails on a serving platter, and take them to your guests. As you begin to say, "Guys, look, I'm sorry," be taken aback by the sight of Edgar covered in blood with a knife stabbed into his heart. Barely notice how the atmosphere of fake fear in the room has become very real.
17) Ask, "Wait, now I've got to solve his murder too?" and then be stricken with genuine fear when Stephanie says, "He's ... he's actually dead," after she checks his pulse.
18) Shit your pants. (This step can be taken literally, if desired.)
Bacon-Wrapped, Blue-Cheese-Stuffed Dates
1 pound sliced bacon, cut in half
1 pound pitted dates
6 ounces blue cheese
1) You've ended up in the kitchen. You don't remember how you got here, but there's an oven preheating to 375 degrees over there, and you seem to have been cutting small slits along the length of the dates for the past several minutes while your friends have been yelling at you.
2) Cut. Knife. Oh god. Edgar.
3) Awaken from your state of shock to hear your friends yelling in their terrible English accents. Ask them why they're still speaking in their accents when their friend is dead in the other room.
4) Call Stephanie crazy when she says, "The show must go on. It's what Edgar would have wanted."
5) Feel like nothing makes sense anymore as Michael says, "It's sad that Edgar's dead, but he took this theme party stuff far too seriously. You saw how he chastised me. He's been doing that for weeks in rehearsal."
6) As you stuff blue cheese into the dates, say, "You rehearsed this?"
7) When everyone stares at you like an idiot for asking such a question, turn and angrily wrap each date with a half-slice of bacon. Skewer with a toothpick to hold it all together.
8) Realize that the mechanical rhythms of cooking are the only thing sedating you enough to not kill everyone in the room and move to Ecuador to start a new life under the name Scovy Leasure.
Is this a Scovy sighting? You'll never know!
9) As you arrange the dates on a baking sheet, say, "OK. Well, if you guys are soooo insistent upon continuing the stupid game, let's start the investigation phase right now, starting with you, Michael."
10) When Michael, filled with delight, explains, "Well, my character was a local baker (and known philanderer) named Nigel Poopywell," cut him off.
11) Tell them there is a murderer in their midst. A real one. Someone in this kitchen killed Edgar. "This isn't a game, played for kicks while we get drunk waiting for this shit year to end," you say to the eager faces before you. "One of you is a killer -- and I'm gonna sniff you out."
12) Put the dates in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
13) Light a cigarette. Take a drag. Begin: "Sounds to me like you and Eddy had some drama between you, right, Mikey?"
14) "Sir, my name is Nigel Poopywell, and Edg- uh, I mean, Lord Lynwen Lordsly and I got along swimmingly. Usually. Sometimes. Oh, hell: He was a dirty bitch, to be frank. But he certainly didn't deserve to die. Lightly tortured, sure. But murdered? Heavens no."
15) Dig into Michael's story: "So, your little ... tiff -- what was it about?"
16) "A gentleman need not divulge details on a tiff, as you call it, between men of honor."
17) Say, "Lemme guess: He was bossing you around, criticizing every move, every choice. Suffocating your brilliance, your creativity, or some such trash like that?"
18) When Michael harrumphs with indignation and says, "Sir, you haven't the slightest clue as to the nature of our relationship," move your line of questioning to Vanessa.
19) Ask, "How about you, honey? What was your relationship with the party man like?"
20) When she says, "I am Cordelia Fothergill, daughter of Baron Gunther Dubois Fothergill, and I will not be accused-"cut her off. "Answer the question, sweetheart."
21) "I would never. I was Lord Lynwen Lordsly's lover. I cared for him a great deal."
22) "Yeah? For real or for fake? I ain't playin' games, doll!" When she says, "Both!" roll your eyes very hard at the gasps released by Michael and Stephanie.
23) Through gritted teeth, with words dripping with poison, Vanessa, Cordelia, whoever this loony dame thinks she is, says, "Yes. 'Tis true. Lord Lynwen Lordsly and I copulated on occasion."
24) When Stephanie shouts, "Foul wench!" put her in your investigative crosshairs.
25) Ask, "Lemme guess, Steph: You been porkin' the Lord too?"
26) "Yes -- Lord Lynwen Lordsly and I, adorable yet scrappy street filth Pippa O'Rorke, had been together a time or two. I thought he was beginning to love me ... that is, until word reached me of yet another who hath been speared by the Lord's lance. HOW DID HIS DICK TASTE, MICHAEL?"
27) When everyone argues among themselves, realize you've quickly lost control of this investigation. You'd rather be anywhere else right now.
Scovy, is that you? Who knows!
28) Remove the dates from the oven. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.