Shake, Shake, Shake on New Year’s Eve with Mrs. Ruby Tips

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A Host’s Guide to the Perfect Cocktail, Mocktail, and a Never-Fail

Hosting a New Year’s Eve party is tricky business. You want a memorable soiree where everyone has a good time. Just not too good of a time. After all, the idea is for your guests to stay up late and never miss a beat until after midnight. That’s why author and television chef Ruby Tips recommends a mix of craft cocktails and alcohol-free “mocktails.”

“A tipsy party guest is like a precocious toddler,” Ruby said. “First he will run around, yell a lot, and try to be the center of attention. Then he will curl up and go to sleep on the floor. We want our party to be more civilized – with plenty of room on the floor for dancing.”

Ruby’s solution is to offer a tasty non-alcoholic beverage along with the full-octane drinks. The following recipes, combined with her buying guidelines below, will ensure you have something for everyone – and enough to go around.

To ring in 2015, Ruby took inspiration from her favorite Taylor Swift song, “Shake it Off.” She concocted a light, shaken drink that will please partygoers and save the host a few dollars on high-dollar champagne. Instead of buying expensive bubbly, you can dress up a less expensive alternative such as cava or prosecco.

Ruby’s Shake it Up Cocktail:

3 ounces sparkling wine (cava or prosecco)
1 ounce St. Germain liqueur
½ ounce gin
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup or agave nectar
Lemon twist for garnish

Directions:
Add lemon juice, simple syrup, sparkling wine, gin, and St. Germain to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, shake, shake well and strain into a champagne flute. Top with a splash of sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon twist.

For a non-alcoholic drink that still feels fancy and grown-up, Ruby recommends an apple-flavored recipe.

Warm Apple Pie Mocktail

8 cups fresh apple cider or apple juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 whole cloves

Garnish:
4 cinnamon sticks
4 whole star anise pods
4 slices lemon, spiked with 4 cloves

Directions:

1. Heat the cider, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot but not boiling; stirring occasionally.

2. Strain the cider into individual mugs. Garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick, star anise pod, and a clove-spiked lemon slice.

The Never-Fail Option

As a Chicago resident and native of Liverpool, England, Ruby enjoys an occasional pint down at the corner pub. Like her friends at the bar, not all party guests want a fancy cocktail. So her advice is to stock up on a few never-fail beer options. Ruby recommends a lager such as Yuengling, and a stout such as Guinness.

Add some soft drinks, sparkling water, and plenty of good music – and you’re ready to shake off 2014.

Buying Guidelines

One of the biggest challenges for a host is purchasing the right amount of beverages for a party. Buy too little, and you have grumpy guests. Buy too much, and you will drink mimosas until Labor Day.

Here are Ruby’s beverage buying guidelines:

10 to 25 guests: 6 bottles of white wine, 2 bottles of red wine, 4 bottles of champagne or sparkling wine, 50 bottles or cans of beer, 3 2-liter bottles of cola.

26 to 35 guests: 7 white, 4 red, 4 champagne, 70 beer, 4 cola

36 to 60 guests: 8 white, 5 red, 6 champagne, 80 beer, 4 cola

61 to 100 guests: 12 white, 6 red, 8 champagne, 100 beer, 5 cola

About Ruby Tips
Blend Julia Child, Graham Kerr and Betty White, and you get a cooking show personality who is a welcome throwback to a gentler era of food programing. Mrs. Ruby Tips is a seasoned sexagenarian and self-taught chef who cooks with passion and a dash of humor. She brings the fun back into cooking through video segments, recipes and solutions for culinary kerfuffles. Ruby’s debut cookbook will publish in 2015. More information: http://www.MrsRubyTips.com.

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Ariane Sloan
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