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Best of 2014: This Party Is Fancy As Shit

You don't need to be Sandra Lee to plan a party. After all, tablescaping and blue curaçao take a lot out of a person, which is why we're here to help you throw a soirée that'll blow minds without breaking even the most meager of bank accounts.
Photo via Flickr userWerner Bayer

You don't need to be Sandra Lee to plan a party. After all, tablescaping and blue curaçao take a lot out of a person.

But a good party doesn't simply appear out of the ether, either—you need to dust off that PalmPilot and make yourself a game plan. For that, we regularly turn to MUNCHIES's very own semi-homemaker, Julia Ziegler-Haynes, for tips on how to throw, say, a New Year's Eve soirée that'll blow minds without breaking even the most meager of bank accounts.

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Her pro tip: "Bargain basement whiskey. It gets people fucked up for cheap."

Julia-Punch

Julia walked us through how easy it is to host a holiday party with little more than punch (either with beer and grapefruit juice or the aforementioned whiskey, gussied up with a sprig of rosemary) and some carrot-y hors d'oeuvres. Don't worry about passing them. The goal here is only avoid passing out before midnight, so slow your roll on that punch.

Photo courtesy of ICE

Not that we'd ever stop you from making more punch, especially when it's been carefully designed for you by a genius computer. Yessir, this Ivorian punch was dreamt up by Chef Watson (and a couple of real-live humans) to make your banana-infused party dreams come true.

Photo by Janelle Jones

And what would a party be without the farty fumes of a luxurious cheese plate? For help in that department, look no further than cheesemonger (and cheesemaker sexpert) Charlotte Kamin, a dairy queen in her own right. In addition to giving you condensed histories of Comté, Manchego, and Raclette, she'll also tell you how to make the prettiest cheese plate in the whole world—with some bonus advice for neurotic hosts: "This is your party, and who gives a shit if everyone else likes it?"

FTD-Borek

Midway through the evening, you'll want to bring out round two of the food. If you want to keep everything truly cheap, you could turn some of your leftovers into a pie or even go foraging for squirrel, which makes a tasty fritter once you've scraped it off the road. Even better, however, is a big-ass Albanian borek, courtesy of Action Bronson's aunt. It'll take a little time and patience to prepare, but it's a showstopper made of nothing but simple ingredients. If it doesn't impress your guests, kick them out immediately.

DIY-champagne-9

When the midnight hour approaches, you'll need some bubbly. Sure, you could shell out nine whole American dollars for a bottle of spumante, but why not DIY that shit like the artisanally minded hipster that you strive to be? All you need is a bottle of wine, some yeast, and some time using the legit méthode Champenoise to turn out semi-legit sparkling wine, as Don Lee taught us.

By that point, everyone will be too tanked to tell it's not real Champagne anyway—which means your party was a success.