New Year’s Eve gives us all a chance to say so long to the year we are passing through and lets us start fresh at the stroke of midnight! Are you looking for a fun and fabulous way to say “adios” to the old and “hola” to the new? We have some delicious tips on how to ring in the new year with a fabulous New Year’s Eve party – LatinoFoodie style!
New Year Traditions From Latin America Inspire
A gathering of friends and family can be daunting for some, but we’re here to share some inspiration for food and drinks that will have everyone cheering at midnight. Just like many other cultures, Latinos enjoy eating some of the foods associated with the first day of the year, like lentils, greens, pork, and grapes. Did you know in Mexico, Colombia and many other parts of Latin America, people carry on the Spanish tradition of eating grapes at midnight? The tradition, called ‘las doce uvas de la suerte’ (the 12 grapes of luck), requires that, with each chime of the bell at midnight, one grape must be eaten: the sweetness or tartness of each grape will indicate what kind of month lies ahead of you. Example: if the fourth grape is sour, the month of April may have unwelcome surprises for you! The tradition dates back to the late 19th century on the eastern coast of the Spanish Mediterranean.
How-to: Throw a Festive, Fun and Memorable New Year’s Party
For your New Year’s Eve party, we recommend preparing small dishes (think tapas or antojitos) for your guests to nibble on throughout the night. Your menu can feature easy-to-prepare dips such as queso fundido, chips and homemade salsa, or a wonderful cheese platter with dried fruits and nuts. One year, we created our own taco bar, cooking various guisados or stewed meats, such as chicharrones en salsa verde, chile Colorado and carne asada. Warm corn tortillas and set out bowls of onions, cilantro, and salsa and – presto – your guests are in taco heaven!
But, let’s make one thing clear; no party is complete without some delicious cocktails. Making individual cocktails can be overwhelming as a party host. Instead, we prefer to make large batches of drinks where people can help themselves. And, nothing is better than including honestly authentic tequila from Azuñia.
Here are a few drink suggestions to turn your New Year’s Eve party from ho-hum to yum-yum!
Holiday Ponche – A traditional Mexican warm beverage during the holidays, Ponche will perfume your home with an intoxicating aroma of apples, cinnamon, piloncillo, Tamarindo, and even guayaba. New Year’s Eve tends to be chilly, so this fragrant infusion warms you from the inside out. We prepare a large stockpot of Ponche and allow it to stay simmering on the stove throughout New Year’s Eve. Party guests help themselves to a cupful, spiking it to their liking with Azuñia Blanco organic tequila. The unaged Azuñia Blanco offers a clean floral nose with hints of agave and lemon, perfect for the Ponche.
Champurrado – Definitely a crowd-pleaser. Hot Mexican chocolate thickened by masa, this beverage warms the soul. Making Champurrado couldn’t be easier! Simply add three disks of Mexican chocolate to about 3 quarts of water or milk, add ¼ cup of corn masa, one cone of piloncillo (brown sugar), star anise, and sticks of cinnamon. Like the ponche, we love making a big batch and allow our party guests to add their tequila. This way you have Champurrado for the designated drivers, as well. For Champurrado, we would add Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, which is rested in American Oak barrels for eight months, presenting a light agave aroma with hints of butterscotch and wood. You’ll delight in the warmth of its slight vanilla finish. You can find our favorite recipe for Champurrado on the LatinoFoodie blog.
CAZUELITAS – In Guadalajara and other parts of Mexico, bartenders are whipping up batches of Cazuelas, a tequila-based cocktail made from a fresh citrus juice blend of grapefruit, lemons, limes, and oranges with a pinch of salt. They’ll serve the drink in a large clay bowl you pick up and drink from like drinking the milk after eating a bowl of cereal. The drink is so refreshing and easy to make. For your New Year’s Eve party, bring out your mama’s glass punch bowl and fill it with the juice from the citrus fruit, throwing in the whole rinds for added flavor. Add large chunks of ice and Azuñia Añejo tequila, aged more than 12 months in American Oak barrels, for a smooth finish with a nose full of fruit. Have clay cazuela (hence the name of the cocktail) bowls or mugs ready for your guests to imbibe.
Note from Azuñia: One of our favorite places to go during our trips to Rancho Miravalle, our estate-run distillery, is to Cantaritos #1 roadside stand. There, you can get a tasty Cantarito along with other drinks, food and local delicacies. A Cantarito is the same drink as the Cazuelitas, but with a twist. They top it off with Squirt lemon lime soda for a bit of sweet to balance out the tart citrus. All throughout Jalisco, Mexico, you can enjoy Large, XL, and XXL Cantaritos at bars, cafés and even road side stalls like Cantaritos #1.
Cheers to a Fabulous 2017
The most important thing about throwing a New Year’s Eve party is that you want to have plenty of food, simple cocktails and, most of all, loved ones nearby to start the year right. Wherever you may be this New Year may you be fortunate to partake in any of these culinary traditions, and may all your grapes turn out delectably sweet for 2017.
Written by our friends at LatinoFoodie.