Our New Years Celebration – “An Around The World” Theme

Our New Years Celebration - "An Around The World" Theme

When we had kids we realised that the time of doing something out and about for New Years was behind us.  We made peace with the fact that we couldn’t really go clubbing or what what to celebrate the dawning of the change of the times.  In fact, we were excited about it.  I often find that going out is overrated, too expensive and rather dangerous considering the amount of drunk drivers on our roads.

So for the last few years we’ve hosted New Year’s at our house.  And, when you know how much I love to entertain, you must know how much we enjoyed it.  It’s a big win really – you can do exactly what you want with people that you want to be with, without the threat of imminent death on your way home.  We actually try and insist that our guests stay the night because it’s just safer.

Anyway, our house isn’t a huge one and so when our friends moved into their new (ginormous) house, they offered to have New Years there instead.  Well, offered or were coerced, either way.  It was awesome!

Clauds and Simon hosted all of us for the night with the theme of “Around The World in 8 Cocktails” which was inspired by the “Around The World in 80 Days”.  It was such an appropriate theme and Claudette totally nailed it!  So how it works is this:

How To Do “Around The World in 8 Cocktails”:

  1. Find an awesome group of friends – mine are taken, sorry!
  2. Decide on 8 different countries – we went for Greece, Cuba, Mexico, India, South Africa, America, Italy and Japan, but you could literally do anything that strikes your fancy.
  3. Make two of those countries “dessert” options and the other 6 “starter/mains”.  We made SA and Italy desserty.
  4. Each couple chooses a country or two to prepare so that it’s not all left to one person.  You then need to come up with a platter of themed food and a signature cocktail from that country.
  5. Every hour you “travel” to a new country where you serve the food and new cocktail.
  6. You have lots of fun!

Now, because this was the first time we were doing this theme and because we all have kids, things didn’t really go as planned (isn’t that just the general theme of parenting life though?!).  Anyway, the aim was to start at 5 and then change countries every hour on the hour so that by 12, we would have been to every country.  But we only started at 6.30 and each platter was VERY big and filling, so we waited about an hour and a half between changes.  This meant that we skipped out Japan all together and only had the Italian goodies for a tea time snack before we departed the following morning.  Not a problem really, but those that leave earlier miss out and also it’s a bit wasteful if you’ve bought all the things and don’t eat them.

So the trick to getting this right is:

  1. Start at 4pm – so that by the time everyone gets there at 5 you can actually start – you know Cape Town time and all that.)
  2. Make SMALL platters – making a massive meal for each course means that by the end everyone is full, which sucks a bit.
  3. The cocktails don’t have to be loaded – virgin cocktails are still cool for those who can’t/don’t want to consume too much.

We started the night out with Greece because the kids were still awake and more inclined to eat that kind of food.  We included some garlic breads and rolls too because, kids.


Deidre made this really awesome mezze platter with some really amazing things on it.  Obviously at this point my whole diet was already out the window, so I chowed down like no bodies business.  The mezze board was accompanied with a Santorini Sunrise

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Seth and I had taken Cuba for the Mojitos, without thinking about their food options at all.  They actually didn’t have many options that were truly Cuban that didn’t involve roasting a whole pork shoulder (which I would have done but didn’t have time for this time around).  So we went with Cubanos.  Which is a traditional sandwich that has lots of ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and a dijon/onion spread.  The whole thing is chucked in the oven to melt the cheese.  It was pretty darn good in the end.

I wanted to make Cuban cigars out of Twix but I had run out of time and the shops didn’t seem to have any twix, so we made them from Boudoir biscuits.  The kids loved them despite not really knowing what the heck they were.

img_8031 Our New Years Celebration - "An Around The World" Theme - Cuba


Lauren and Vaughn treated us to some freaking delicious nachos and Margaritas that were really very delicious.  I think Seth is still a bit upset that I preferred the Margartia over the Mojito that he made, but it is what it is.

By this point I had almost completely abandoned taking posed shots of all the food and instead opted to just taking a snap on my phone as I was already busy devouring it.  Soz.

Now we’re in Mexico. Spicy chicken Nachos and salty Margaritas. #seetheworldin8cocktails

A photo posted by Cindy Alfino (@cindyalfino) on


By that time we were already stuffed, but Clauds had made such a yummy butter chicken and roti combo that I couldn’t resist shoving a plateful into my face hole.  I have to say that I was wondering what they drank in India considering that it isn’t really a country that is known for consuming alcohol, but wow.  There was this spicy Kambucha drink that you make by straining the liquids through actual chillis.  Then you add a bit of cucumber and other things that I can’t remember, but man, it was so refreshing!

Hopped on the train to India. Butter chicken, rotis and a spicy Kachumba cocktail. #seetheworldin8cocktails

A photo posted by Cindy Alfino (@cindyalfino) on


Now, y’all know my love for Milo right?  So when Deidre brought out these Milo and Amarula milkshakes for dessert, I actually cried a little when I tasted it.  My gosh, I didn’t realise how much I missed it, but a real life tear was released and that says a lot.

I also had a second helping because, um, well, obvs.


Lisa and Brian brought out the American in us just before we celebrated the dawning of the New year and these burgers were JUST what we needed to top off a night of indulgence!  SO yummy and paired with a Long Island Ice Tea.


As I mentioned, we kind of missed indulging in the Italian until the following morning because many people had to leave or just assist children with that whole problem they have.  You know the one, it’s a persistent problem called sleep.  Yes, that one.

Anyway, so we had the Italian kisses, Tiramisu cake and ice cream the following morning for a lovely tea time snack.  I was responsible for this one too and yes, I could probably have made these things myself, but why when Woolies makes it so much quicker (and nicer)?!  We would have had my favourite wine to go with it – Diemersfontein Pinotage, but we swopped it with a much needed strong coffee!

Our New Years Celebration - "An Around The World" Theme - Italy

All in all it was a super fun evening with good friends and a really interesting theme.  You should totes try it if you’re looking for a theme for a party any time soon.

Here’s a few more pictures from the night.  I was hoping to have more, but I also didn’t want to spend all my time behind the camera instead of actually enjoying myself, so, um ja.  It is what it is.

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9 thoughts on “Our New Years Celebration – “An Around The World” Theme

  1. OOOOH this looks amazing! I was sitting on my couch with Harvey in my arms, watching my brother and hubby play mario brothers. I saw your tweets and got super jealous. What a fab idea…!

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