There's no better way to start the new year off with good friends at an intimate yet festive house party. I know some like to go out on the town and get crazy...trust me, I've had my fair share of those New Year's Eve celebrations as well. But over the years I've always ended up feeling like the hassle of transportation, cost of the entire night and ultimate hellacious hangover aren't entirely worth it. To be honest, there's nothing more depressing to me than feeling completely awful and bad about myself on January 1st...so now my celebration of preference is one that lends itself to at least a slightly lesser hangover. Enter, the house party.

Every good house party, particularly on New Year's Eve, has at least one specialty cocktail. On this special night, those cocktails should definitely include champagne so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite champagne cocktails to help you start 2013 off right. Most are very basic...but the basic yet delicious cocktail is the best friend of a party hostess!

So my first, super easy favorite cocktail is the Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail. So festive and pretty. Simply put a spoonful of pomegranate seeds in the bottom of a champagne glass, add a splash of pomegranate juice and then fill with champagne. The pomegranate seeds will float and swirl like party favors while you mingle and drink.

A couple of similar spins on this simple cocktail can be made with different juices or fruit purees.  If you use peach nectar or peach puree and top with champagne then you are of course making a Bellini...which is a classic and delicious cocktail. You can also make a Mango Bellini with mango nectar or puree.

A slightly more advanced champagne cocktail is this Mulled Apple Cider Cocktail that I made for our recent cookie party. It was a huge hit...and very much keeps to the holiday season in theme.  If you're making this for a party, I would double the liquids in the recipe.  Don't double the apple mixture though...I thought there was more than enough in the single serving recipe to stretch for the doubling of liquid. Oh, and make sure you use good apple cider...the cloudy, unfiltered kind.  I personally love Trader Joe's Apple Cider.

Once your mulled cider mixture is made and refrigerated simply put it out for guests to make their own cocktails. Pour the mulled cider to fill about ¼ of the glass and then top off with champagne. Everyone at my last party loved this drink so I think it will likely become a SavoryGirl staple!

So there you have it...a few ideas to get you started on your New Year's festivities if you're hosting a party of your own. Like I said, nothing complicated here...but sometimes simple is best and if you're using good champagne, which hopefully you are, you really don't want to mess with a good thing too much.  I personally prefer Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) but as long as you keep to the more dry champagnes and don't go too sweet any one will really do in these cocktails. Cava and Prosseco work well also.

The one champagne cocktail I would not serve on New Year's Eve? Mimosas. Save those for the New Year's Day brunch...and even then I would steer you towards the Bellini instead of the Mimosa any day of the week.

Whatever you're drinking...have a very happy and very safe New Year's Eve.  And may 2013 be your best year yet!

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