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Raise Your Glass: New Year’s Eve Toasting...
12/27/2013
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Raise Your Glass: New Year’s Eve Toasting Tips

Picture this: it’s New Year’s
Eve and you’re dressed up in your finest… >

Raise Your Glass: New Year’s Eve Toasting Tips

Picture this: it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re dressed up in your finest, your glass is overflowing and you’re gathered with your nearest and dearest. What’s missing from this scene of winter revelry? A toast, of course! It’s the perfect kickoff to the year ahead. We’ve consulted a bevy of experts—mixologists Eric Prum, Josh Williams and Brian Van Flandern, as well as etiquette gurus Lizzie Post and Elaine Swann—to get tips on creating a toast that’s top notch.

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Switch up your sips.
Authors of cocktail book Shake, Eric Prume and Josh Williams, prefer to dress up classic champagne on New Year’s Eve. “Add sugar, bitters and lemon peel to your bubbly—it makes for a visually interesting cocktail, and it also has the bonus of sprucing up cheaper champagne. Finish by adding a raw sugar cube to sizzle at the bottom.”

Set the scene.
Traditional black and white decorations can be quite sophisticated, but why not try something different this year? “I like to decorate with vintage records,” says Josh. “My dad has a cool collection of vinyl that he amassed when he was my age. They’re a good reminder of years past.”

Timing is everything.
“If you’re having a dinner party, the best time for a toast is right after the meal is served,” says modern etiquette expert Elaine Swann. “If a meal is not your main focus, begin your toast closer to midnight, but be sure to leave enough time that you don’t get caught at the countdown.”

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Kick it off.
“The host should either start the toasting or be the last one to speak,” says Elaine. “If you go the latter route, think about designating one or two people in advance to say a few words—this will get the ball rolling and encourage others to chime in.”

Don’t try to be the funny gal.
“Most people want to be funny, but not everyone is,” says Lizzie Post, great-great granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th edition. “If you do use jokes in your toast, make sure they’re appropriate—it’s never a good idea to embarrass your guests. When in doubt, go the sentimental route.”

Keep it short and sweet.
No one likes a speech that drags on and on, especially just before midnight when everyone’s mind is on dancing, kissing and celebrating. “A New Year’s toast should be no more than a minute long,” says Lizzie. “The best toasts are usually somewhere in the three to ten sentence range.”

Make it a group effort.
Brian Van Flandern, author of Craft Cocktails and Vintage Cocktails, likes to get the whole party involved: “The host begins by holding a bottle of wine or champagne and sharing a New Year’s resolution with her guests. She then passes the bottle to the person on her left—this way the whole table gets to share their resolutions or say a few words.”

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         Planning your own toast? Stock up on clinkable glasses and bar supplies.