On New Year’s Eve, most people want to indulge in a little Champagne. If you’re hosting an end-of-year soiree, treat your guests to appetizers that pair perfectly with bubbly. And there’s no rule that says you have to drink the same wine all night long, so create your own mixed case based on our picks below, and then whip up a few of these festive nibbles.
Bites: Buy a pre-cooked beef tenderloin; slice it up and wrap each piece in a few pieces of steamed spinach. Set out a horseradish dipping sauce (1 teaspoon horseradish with 4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt).
Bubbles: Sip on an elegant and refreshing NV Billecart Salmon Rosé ($80, Binny’s). The wonderful flavors of strawberries brighten up your next bite of beef and the blush color is gorgeous.
Bites: Make a few grilled cheese sandwiches with a super-sharp white cheddar and crusty sourdough. Quarter them for mini sandwiches, for easy sipping and mingling. Top each with a dollop of fig preserves.
Bubbles: Pair with a very dry Drappier Brut Nature Zero Dosage ($45, Binny’s) that’s like none other. The low sugar levels in this outstanding bubbly make it a remarkable match with just about any food you serve.
Bites: Sauté a bunch of juicy sea scallops in a sizzling pan, place on an oven-proof tray, and finish off at a low temperature. Garnish with a green olive tapenade (grab it at Trader Joe’s), and then set onto a crunchy taro chip.
Bubbles: Juicy scallops are just crying out for a glass of tiny grower-producer Champagne Bérèche et Fils Reserve Brut NV ($37, Vin Chicago). The wonderfully yeasty flavors of this wine are quite unique and memorable. In fact, this Champagne might just be the one you’ll want to toast with at the stroke of midnight.
Bites: Stuff yellow and purple endive leaves with whipped goat cheese (fan out on a large platter for an attractive display), sprinkle on a pinch of smoked salt and top with fresh dill.
Bubbles: Enjoy a vibrant pour of NV Bruno Paillard – Brut Premiere Cuvee ($45, Knightsbridge, Pops for Champagne). The nice acidity in this Paillard works magic with foods that also have some acidity and crunch.
Bites: Grill up a half-dozen Amy’s Chicken-Apple sausages and then slice into 1/2-inch pieces, finish browning on the inside and top with a slightly sweet honey mustard. Stick in toothpicks for easy grabbing.
Bubbles: Pair with the glorious Geoffroy Rosé de Saignée Premier Cru ($58-66, Pops for Champagne, The House of Glunz, Vin Chicago). This is a slightly pinker wine, giving it quite a personality and lots of red fruit flavors.
Bites: Head over to your favorite specialty shop for a tin of Osetra caviar. Warm up a batch of store-bought buckwheat blini, add a spoonful of caviar, a dollop of crème fraiche and a pinch of fresh cut chives.
Bubbles: Enjoy these heavenly bites with a NV Louis Roederer Brut ($43, Binny’s), or better yet, their top shelf 2005 Louis Roederer Cristal ($299, Binny’s). This is by far the most classic of all the Champagnes listed and a sure crowd pleaser (it practically shouts, “Happy New Year!”).
Bites: Bake up a pastry-wrapped Brie coated in crunchy slivered almonds. Add a side of fresh strawberries and a light glaze of apricot preserves.
Bubbles: The NV Jacquesson Cuvée No. 737 ($150, Pops for Champagne) is just the foil for the creamy, sweet and crunchy cheese appetizer. The bubbles just keep on giving, so be sure to use a wider bottom stem with this, rather than a straight-up flute. Let the bubbles flow freely for the full effect.