Sites and Sound Advice For Your Eve

By Sam Diaz
Sunday, December 25, 2005

Finally -- December 25. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Seasons Greetings. Yadda yadda yadda.

Now on to the important stuff. What are you doing for New Year's Eve?

No matter if you're off to a black-tie gala, a rowdy bash at a nightclub or an in-home celebration with friends or family, it never hurts to be prepared.

Sure, some of you are already coordinating your dashing New Year's Eve outfits. Others are packing the fridge with cold beverages that will be used to make the happiest of nights even happier. Party hats, confetti and noisemakers are on standby, just waiting for the big countdown. But what about all of the other information you'll need for New Year's Eve? Don't worry. Here at Web Watch, we've done some of the prep work for you so the blender won't sit unattended while you run to look up something on the Internet.

Speaking of the blender: There's plenty of cool information at , including drink recipes, a bartender's handbook and statistics on the most popular drinks. Our favorite part is the "In My Bar" feature where you can select what's already in your bar and get a list of drinks you can make with those ingredients. Here's a tip: Stay clear of Duke's Nightmare, made of equal parts Jack Daniel's Whiskey and Jose Cuervo Tequila. Ouch!

Preparing the toast: Did you know there's a difference between champagne and sparkling wine? (Okay, so I'm a beer dude.) There's an article at ( wine_dine_100/117_wine_dine.html ) that highlights the Top 11 champagnes to celebrate the New Year. The list will give you an idea of when and how to serve it, an approximate price and its taste (the Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut is dry with citrus flavors and a crisp finish). The site also offers some helpful hints -- such as avoiding the "pop" when you open the bottle. (It takes away the bubbles when you do that.)

If everyone will now raise glasses: If you're responsible for saying something funny or eloquent to toast in the New Year, it helps to have something prepared that goes beyond "Happy New Year." But you're not good with words, you say? The Quote Garden has devoted a page to New Year's quotes that are both profound and humorous, including one from an unknown author that reads: "A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other." ( )

Is now the appropriate time to make a resolution?: People have been doing it for ages -- and even though the wisest of the wise warn that resolutions should not be limited to Jan. 1, go ahead and resolve to give up a vice or reach a new goal. Maybe you can do something to guarantee yourself a year of good luck. Over at ( Events/n_facts.html ) there's a list of the most common resolutions (lose weight, stop smoking, keep a better budget are the top three). It also includes good luck traditions from around the globe. In Spain, for example, people eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight to bring good luck for the upcoming 12 months.

And when the clock actually strikes midnight: I've never actually been to a bash where people sing "Auld Lang Syne" but I've seen it in the movies a million times. Just in case you and your partygoers feel the need to burst into song, scroll down further on the page listed above. Not only will the site give you the lyrics to the song, it will also tell you that 'Auld Lang Syne" literally means " Old Long Ago," or simply, "the good old days." (I always wanted to know that.)

Finally, when the party is over: It used to be that you needed a ride home if you'd had "a few too many." These days, it's better to stay away from the wheel if you've even had "just a few." It doesn't take much for the evening to end behind bars. But it doesn't have to be this way: The Washington Regional Alcohol Program is offering free cab rides in the Washington Metro area (yes, that includes the 'burbs, as well) from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. by simply calling (800) 200-TAXI or #8294 from Cingular cell phones. Check out the details at . In case you're thinking of trying your luck at avoiding the law, consider that a DUI these days will cost you at least $7,800. breaks down the cost of a DUI at alcohol_drugs_driving/cost_of_dui.html .

The morning after: It's not a pretty sight. But consider that some preventive action could make the next morning substantially less miserable. has a thorough offering of advice on how to prevent or deal with a hangover. Aspirin doesn't help the next morning but eating before the party will help absorb the alcohol, and drinking plenty of water will replenish necessary fluids. Visit syws/hangover/hangover.html for plenty of helpful hints.

So that's it. You're ready to tackle the big night, right? Good luck out there. Be safe and be smart.

And have a Happy New Year.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company