Picture this: Your home is packed with loved ones from near and far. Everything has gone as planned, and your guests are content, cheerful and rosy-cheeked after a delicious feast and excellent wine. The clock reads 11:55 p.m. and the moment is at hand. You, the host, are responsible to for uncorking the champagne, successfully pouring and distributing it to all guests, AND flawlessly delivering a touching yet humorous toast that entertains all and offends none. Are you ready?!
Successfully bidding farewell to the year gone by and ushering in the new one is no easy task. Just ask any New Year’s Eve host who has stumbled through an awkward toast, injured Aunt Joan with a wayward cork, or spilled an expensive beverage in a rush to pour – any number of things can go wrong and wreak havoc on your perfectly planned salute.
We have provided our best tips on opening champagne bottles, giving toasts and clinking glasses – Just in time for the New Year!
OPENING A BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE
The first word of advice: don’t pop the cork into the air. The cork should be removed so the sound you hear is a soft "sigh." Removing the cork in this slow manner also reduces the risks of hurting someone in the room.
- Stand the bottle on a counter for support.
- Using a towel, keep one hand on the top of the cork with the towel between your hand and the cork.
- Untwist the wire cage. Remove the wire.
- Keep the towel on top of the cork with one hand and put your other hand on the bottle and make sure you have a good grip on the bottle.
- Turn the bottle, not the cork. You will feel the cork start to loosen.
- Hold the cork over the opened bottle for a few seconds to ensure the Champagne doesn't escape.
- Pour slowly into champagne flutes.
GIVING A TOAST
- At the start of your toast, you may stand or remain seated – it all depends on how many people are in attendance. If you are seated at a table and it is a small group, you may remain seated, but for larger groups, it is best to stand so everyone can see you.
- No one wants to listen to directionless anecdotal rambling so keep it short and sweet. Limit yourself to no more than 3 minutes; if you want to tell a funny story, stay focused on getting to a point.
- Connect with your audience by making eye contact and by being genuine. Don’t be afraid to laugh or shed a tear; it makes you relatable.
- A toast can be entertaining, but keep your purpose in mind: allot time to be serious. For this section, drop the jokes and be sincere!
- Clinking your glass is optional.
- If you’re a guest, you may choose to clink or not to clink depending on the hosts and other party-goers.
- If you’re a host, the best rule is to be sure the guests are happy.
As the clock strikes midnight and everyone begins to cheer, whether you are the host or attendee, remember to express your gratitude for another year and those in your company. Happy New Year!