I love New Year's Eve. As an avid party hoster, I take great pride in my New year's parties and pull out all the stops to entertain my guests. While I’m motivated to maintain my reputation as the best host in the west, I also want to share the joy of a good party with the world, so I’m here to offer my top 3 essential skills guaranteed to make your party a great time!
How to Saber Champagne with a knife
Riddle me this: what’s more exciting, opening champagne the boring way or sabering it with a knife? The saber, duh! If you saber a bottle (or several) at your party, I guarantee you will have a good time. That said, sabering can be dangerous if done incorrectly, so follow these steps:
Chill the bottle thoroughly; warm bottles are far more likely to explode.
Clean all of the foil off the top of the bottle.
Loosen the cage five and a half turns, move it up over the lip of the bottle, then tighten it back down. Never point the bottle at anyone or yourself; a rogue cork can lead to a hospital visit.
Step outside, never saber indoors!
Find the seam along the side of the bottle, there should be two. Your target is where the seam meets the lip of the bottle.
Hold the bottle by its bottom with a firm grip so you don’t drop it when you impact the lip. It should sit at about 45 degrees from the ground.
Lay your knife perpendicular to the bottle, about parallel to the ground. You want to impact the lip of the bottle with the spine; if you use the edge, you’ll chip your knife.
You’re not looking to whack the bottle super hard; it’s more of a clean stroke straightening your arm. Gently run the knife along the bottle's seam a couple of times, then go for it! If it doesn’t work the first time, spin the bottle over and try the other seam.
Congrats! You just mastered the best party trick in the book; it’s that easy.
How to Shuck Oysters
Showing up to a party with a couple of dozen oysters is a great way to be the life of the party. If you’re hosting, you can shuck them ahead of time and rest them on ice or salt, or get one of your more trusted guests to do the shucking. Like sabering, it isn’t hard, but it can go wrong if you’re not careful.
Inspect the oyster and give it a tap. If it's open or makes a hollow sound, discard it. Identify the flat side, curved side and hinge along one side.
Place the oyster curved side down on a cutting board with the hinge pointing towards your dominant side. Place a folded towel on top to protect your hand, and hold the oyster in place with your non-dominant hand.
With your dominant hand, wiggle the point of the shucker into the joint until it's firmly in place.
As if revving the throttle of a motorcycle, twist the shucker to pop open the joint.
Wipe the tip of the shucker, slip it inside the shell, then gently run the blade along the underside of the top shell to release it.
Clean your knife again, then carefully run the blade's tip under the oyster's meat to cut it away from the bottom shell. Take care not to spill the brine inside.
Do a quick visual inspection and remove any shell fragments.
Serve with lemon, tabasco, and marionette (red wine vinegar with finely diced shallot & black pepper).
How to Make an Old Fashioned Out of Any Liquor
I’m a huge cocktail fan, and while my parties always have them, not every party does. Being able to whip up a cocktail with any ingredients in a matter of minutes is an impressive skill and ensures you always have something delicious to sip on. While many cocktails demand specialty ingredients, the most traditional cocktail can be made with ingredients in just about any home. All you need is the following:
Decent spirit (whiskey, rum, tequila, etc.)
Sugar (syrup, brown, white, honey, maple syrup, even liqueur)
Bitters. You can always grab a tiny bottle and keep them in your coat pocket!
Pour two ounces of the spirit into the glass, add a teaspoon or so of sweetener, a few dashes of bitters, and give it a swirl. Add a generous amount of ice and stir well. Voila, instant cocktail! Obviously, some common sense is needed: vodka and white sugar won’t make a good cocktail, but any decent flavourful spirit will work! Bonus points for adding a twist of lemon or orange as garnish.
Many things make up a good party; here are a few other quick tips that are essential to a successful event:
Supply food! If folks are drinking, it’s only polite to feed them, and it really kicks up the quality of the party.
Make sure everyone has a safe way home, and offer your couch if they need to crash. Get your friends to text you when they make it home safely.
Stock up on non-alcohol drinks so people can take a break from the booze and sober people can enjoy themselves too.
If you’re hosting, eat before the party starts, drink lots of water, and set a time when you’ll step away from hosting so you can enjoy the party too!
Tell folks to show up whenever works for them. Sometimes an early or late arrival can give you quality time with a guest you don’t see as often!
I hope this is a good start, and I wish you a happy and safe New Year's Eve!
Nathan started at Knifewear in 2013, when he left the restaurant industry to slang knives. Nowadays, he handles our communications, social media, and YouTube channel. If you're reading words on this website or watching one of our videos, Nathan was involved. He spends his spare time growing food, cooking, fermenting food and booze, and enjoying the great outdoors.