New Year's Eve Party Games
From food and drinks to games: How to throw a New Year's Eve party to remember
It's the biggest party night of the year and it's not too late to plan the perfect bash - complete with sensational champagne, cocktails to die for and mouthwatering canapes.
Here, the Mail presents the ultimate New Year's Eve party primer, including fun party games and a host of food and drink ideas. Cheers!GAMES
• STRIKE A LIGHT How To Play: Two party guests leave the room and together decide upon a word that the rest of the group will try to guess. They then return to the room and start a conversation together based around their chosen word, trying to give clues to what the word is - but without, of course, actually saying the word itself.
When a guest thinks they know what the secret word is, they must say, "I strike a light", then whisper their guess to one of the two original players. If they guess correctly, they can join in the conversation with the two players. If they're wrong, they must carry on until they guess correctly. The game ends when all the players have guessed what the word is.
• THE VICAR'S CAT How To Play: party guests form a circle and the first person begins by describing "the vicar's cat" with an adjective beginning with the letter "A". Each player then takes a turn finding a different adjective to describe "the vicar's cat" starting with "A".
Once everyone in the circle has had a turn, it starts again with the letter "B", and so on. Any player who fails to think of an adjective in ten seconds is out. The game continues through the alphabet until only one player - the winner - is left.
• FRUIT BOWL How To Play: You need an even number of people to play this game. Everyone gets into pairs, and each pair is given the name of a fruit. Someone at random calls out the name of a fruit, at which point the relevant pair must get up and swop places with each other. It starts off simply, but the idea is that as the game progresses, it becomes more complicated, with two or more fruit categories called out at the same time.
• CHARADES How To Play: This game is an old family favourite, so probably doesn't need too much explaining. Depending on numbers, it can be played in teams or individually. Choose a song, film or television programme and, without speaking a word, act it out for the remaining players who must guess what it is. The person who guesses correctly is the next to perform.
• LOOKABOUT How To Play: One person starts the game by showing everyone a small object in the room. Everyone then has to leave while that person hides the object somewhere in the room. When everyone is called back in, they have to search for the object. When they see it, they have to sit down quietly.
The game is more interesting if they don't sit down immediately but pretend to keep looking around for a few more seconds - otherwise it makes it obvious exactly where the object is. The last person to find the object becomes the next person to hide something.
• YOU'RE NEVER FULLY DRESSED WITHOUT A SMILE How To Play: One player is "It", and they're the only person allowed to smile during the game. They then have to try, any which way they can, to make everyone else in the group smile. This can get very silly. The game continues until only one person is left not smiling - and he or she is declared the winner.
• BLINDMAN'S BUFF How To Play: One person is blindfolded while all the other players spread out around the room. The blindfolded person then has to feel their way around the room until they manage to catch someone. They then have to guess who it is they have "caught". If they guess incorrectly, the person is freed and blindman has to keep going until they correctly guess the identity of a person caught.
Once they manage this, someone else is chosen to be blindfolded. It's probably best for you to move any fragile or delicate items out of the way.
DOUGLAS ANKRAH - founder of the London Academy of Bartending - shares two of his favourite festive recipes.
• MA CHERIE
A rich chocolatey cocktail, full of cranberry and cherry flavours.
2 Highball glasses
100ml Finlandia cranberry vodka
25ml Cherry Heering (cherry liqueur)
50ml cherry puree
35ml Mozart dark chocolate liqueur
25ml lemon juice
20ml gomme syrup
20ml soda water or 7-up Crushed ice
Hard ice cubes
Orange twists and sprigs of mint to garnish
Pour the vodka, Cherry Heering, cherry puree, chocolate liqueur, lemon juice and gomme syrup into a mixing glass and stir well with hard ice cubes. Half fill each glass with crushed ice, split the drink between the two, stir, fill up with crushed ice and top up with soda or 7-up. Stir again gently to mix all the ingredients, and garnish with orange twists and a sprig of mint.
• MAVERICK MARTINI
Bursting with fresh flavours and festive vanilla tones, this is perfect for New Year's Eve. If you cannot find vanilla sugar, you can use vanilla essence and golden syrup to make your own.
2 Martini glasses, preferably chilled, and tall shot glasses for Champagne on the side
80ml Cariel Vanilla Vodka
15ml Passoa (passionfruit liqueur)
Flesh and seeds of 4 passionfruit
5 teaspoons vanilla sugar
1 passion fruit, halved
Hard ice cubes
In a Boston shaker, shake all the ingredients except Champagne, the halved passion fruit and 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar. Strain into glasses. Separately, pour out two glasses of Champagne and dust the halved passion fruit with the remaining sugar. Dunk the passionfruit in the Martini glasses, with spoons: the idea is to fish out the fruit, eat with the spoon, drink the Champagne and then enjoy the cocktail at leisure.
• Recipes from Cocktails: Shaken and Stirred by Douglas Ankrah. Photography by Lisa Linder.
• SMOKED SALMON AND DILL PANCAKES
For the batter:
100g plain flour
A little sunflower oil for frying
For the filling:
200g tub of cream cheese
400g smoked salmon slices
4tbsp chopped fresh dill
First, make pancake batter. Measure flour into a bowl, add the egg, one-third of the milk and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rest of the milk.
Heat a small non-stick frying pan, add a little oil and heat. Pour in enough pancake mix to line the base of the pan. Cook until brown, flip over and cook the other side.
Repeat using the rest of the batter. Once pancakes are cold, spread a thin layer of cream cheese over one side of each pancake and season with black pepper. Put a layer of smoked salmon over the top of the cream cheese and sprinkle chopped fresh dill on top.
Roll the pancakes into a tight cigar shape. Wrap in cling film and chill.
Cut each pancake at an angle into 10 very thin slices and serve.
• FAST PESTO PARMESAN CHEESE STRAWS
1 packet (350g) of ready-rolled puff pastry
2 tbsp green pesto
75g grated Parmesan cheese
1 beaten egg
Lay the pastry onto a floured work surface and re-roll to a large rectangle about 17cm by 40cm, so the pastry is paper-thin. Cut the pastry in half lengthways to make two rectangular pieces.
Spread pesto on one side of one the pieces. Sprinkle 50g of Parmesan over the other piece. Place the pesto piece on top of the Parmesan piece (pesto side down), press together and chill for at least 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 200c. Trim the edges of the pastry, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Cut into strips 2cm wide. Arrange on non-stick paper on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
• PRAWN COCKTAIL CROSTINI
1 long thin baguette
A little butter, softened
4 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of lemon juice
200g shelled cooked North Atlantic prawns
Cut the baguette into 24 slices about 5mm thick and spread one side of each with a little butter. Arrange buttered side down on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.
In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. Drain prawns well and add to sauce mixture. Season. Spoon the mixture on to the bread and sprinkle with paprika. Cook in an oven preheated to 220c for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown.
• Recipes taken from One Step Ahead by Mary Berry (Quadrille, £19.99)
The experts at Leiths School of Cookery and Wine rate the ready-made canapes
Tesco Finest Steamed Dim Sum Selection, £3.99
Unusual and a nice change. Quite big, with thick dough. Well filled and tasted good. 7/10
Sainsburys Smoked Scottish Salmon Canapes, £2.99
A bit old-fashioned looking, and quite a "fatty" taste. 5/10
Tesco Finest Butterfly Prawns with Sweet Chilli Dip, £3.99
Looked good, but quite a lot of crumbs and a bit soggy. 7/10
Morrisons Filo Tartlets, £3.99
A lot of filo (six layers) to filling, so just tasted of dry pastry really. Very bland. 4/10
Tesco Finest Oriental Selection, £5.99
Quite big but well stuffed. On the greasy side. 6/10
Waitrose Mini Filo Parcels, £17.99
A bit greasy but good flavour to the filling. 7/10
Waitrose Chicken & Mango Tartlets, £3.99
Good flavour, plenty of filling and a nice crumb topping. 8/10
Marks & Spencer Scallop and Chorizo Rosti, £5.99
Quite big to eat, a little over salty, but tasted good. 6/10
Wondering which brand of supermarket bubbly will make your party fizz? The experts at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London sample five of the best - and award them marks out of ten
Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Champagne, £15.99
Almost pink in colour. Pinot noir grapes only, so a bit dry. VERDICT: 6/10
Sainsbury's Premier Cru Vintage Champagne, £22.99
Nice-looking label, quite a floral flavour, very easy drinking. VERDICT: 7/10
Tesco Premier Cru Champagne, £14.99
Subtle Tesco labelling. Nice, smooth and drinkable. VERDICT: 9/10
Morrison's Nicolas Feuillatte Vintage Champagne, £25.99
A little dry and slightly acidic. Not many bubbles and they didn't last long. VERDICT: 7/10
Marks & Spencer Orpale Champagne, £34.99
Delicious, with good depth and complexity. VERDICT: 8/10
Asda Mulled Wine, £2.50
Very fruity and sweet. Quite a plummy colour. VERDICT: 6/10
Sainsbury's Spicy Red Mulled Wine, £3.99
Quite orangey, a bit bitter, but nice if you want something that's a little less sweet. VERDICT: 6/10
Marks & Spencer Red Mulled Wine, £3.99
Very aromatic and spicy. Not as sweet as some. VERDICT: 7/10
Waitrose Mulled Wine, £3.99
Citrusy, with lemon as well as orange, and plenty of cinammon. VERDICT: 7/10