Just like Gatsby: How to throw a Roaring ’20s NYE bash

With 2020 and new decade upon us, I was searching for inspiration on how to throw the very best ’20s bash I could. Consulting Pinterest is fine, but I thought I’d search back in the party archives a little further to see how an icon would throw a Roaring ’20s bash: I consulted my copy of “The Great Gatsby.”

>> FOOD & DINING: Locally owned ‘The City Coffeehouse’ now open in 1850s-era farmhouse

I have read the book at least a dozen times, and it shows — the spine is worn, there are notes in the margin from my high school days and pages are dogeared. The book has been well-loved. I flipped through the soft pages and wondered what it was exactly about the book that called back to me year after year, like Gatsby to the green light — maybe it’s the age-old story of unrequited love, or the aspirational themes?

Or is it the opulent parties, people swinging from the chandeliers and the tiers and tiers of glasses overflowing with champagne? Yes, I think that’s it.

Here are what I consider to be some elements of a Roaring ’20s bash fit for Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, but with a few 21st century twists:

>> SNEAK PEEK: We take you INSIDE the new restaurant that just opened in downtown Dayton

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Set a dress code

Nobody dresses up anymore. It’s truly one of my biggest gripes about fashion: everyone in jeans and sweatshirts. In a world of leggings, be a little black dress. I’m not suggesting your party guests need to be in tuxes and ball gowns, but politely request that your friends dress up in cocktail attire. It turns a normal house party into a much more festive occasion, and you can feel that energy in the air. Plus, it’s New Year’s Eve — and sequins are practically mandatory.

>> NOSTALGIA: Vintage root-beer maker embraces its Miami Valley roots as part of resurgence

Don’t skimp on the spread

The 1920s were all about excess, so you should follow suit and put out an impressive spread.

Gatsby himself would’ve catered in Oysters Rockefeller and Clams Casino, but you can do something just as delicious and impressive without hiring an entire staff to serve it. A charcuterie board is the easiest thing to throw together and, when done right, makes a gorgeous and delectable centerpiece. Pick three different kinds of cheese, three different meats, grab some figs, a handful of grapes, a few rosemary sprigs and you are in business!

>> FOOD & DINING: Beavercreek mall restaurant to shut down, plans to relocate to downtown Dayton

Serving oysters is another really easy way to wow your guests. Why? Because it looks super fancy, but all you really need is some ice, lemon and a knife. Want to take it up a notch? Make some cocktail sauce or a mignonette (shallots, red or white wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.) Sounds fancy, but comes together in about two seconds.

Roast your favorite vegetables and serve with a garlic-infused mayo … otherwise known as aioli. Your friends will think you are the fanciest. We are entering into a new decade, so throwing some chips into a bowl isn’t going to cut it — but you can put together a fabulous spread that doesn’t require a brigade of butlers.

>> PHOTOS: See Dayton’s historic Engineers Club decorated for the holiday season

Serve something sparkly

On every New Year’s Eve, but especially when throwing a Roaring ’20s party, you have to serve sparkling wine. People hear champagne and they think it must be expensive, but you can get so many amazing options at the grocery store that are the perfect price point and taste just as good as Dom Perignon! LaMarca Prosecco and Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut are two recognizable labels that are perfectly delicious bottles for under $15 at Kroger. Gruet Brut or JCB no.21 at Arrow Wine are divine sparkling options for under $25. These wines take champagne to the next step, yet still won’t break the bank.

My suggestion to take the drink from a 1 to 20? Add a dash of chambord. It’s a dark berry liqueur that, when mixed with champagne, is called a “Kir Royale.” It’s the swankiest-sounding drink, considering it’s only two ingredients. Plop in a raspberry for garnish and let your guests top off their glasses all night long!

Don’t worry so much about the hangover that’s to come — but just in case, better make some brunch reservations the next day! Happy New Year!

About the Author