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As many of us are spending the last night of 2020 at home, we wanted to make sure it still went off with a bang — that is, filled with delicious cocktails and party bites everyone will love (even if it’s just a soirée for two).

To help you skip the takeaway and make it special, we’re asked some food and drink connoisseurs to share recipes for cocktails and canapés that are both celebratory and personal favourites.

The Upper Southside Cocktail. Image courtesy of The Upper House

1. The Upper Southside Cocktail

‘The Upper Southside has been on the Café Gray Bar menu since opening, and continues to be one of our bestsellers. We always believe less is more, and the ingredients and simplicity of the drink reflect this. The name also pays homage to Chef Gray and his roots in New York. To make it, place the lime juice, syrup and cucumber chunks into a shaker and muddle the cucumber. Lightly smash the mint leaves by hand and add into the shaker, followed by the Hendricks Gin. Add ice and shake for 6 to 8 seconds. Double-strain the liquid into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a cucumber slice.’

— Jack Leung, Mixologist, Café Gray Bar, The Upper House 


50 ml Hendrick’s gin

20 ml fresh lime juice

20 ml syrup

3–4 fresh cucumber chunks, plus slices for garnish

3–4 fresh mint leaves

Charred Chilli Prawn Skewers

2. Charred Chilli Prawn Skewers

‘Charred chilli prawn skewers are the ideal moreish canapes for a New Year’s Eve party — they have a great balance of salty, sweet and sour flavours, all packed into an easy-to-hold party-friendly skewer. We like to call this canape the Asian version of a prawn cocktail. To make them, soak wooden skewers in water, marinate tiger prawns with 4 tablespoons of chili sauce, salt, sugar and black pepper. Carefully skewer each prawn with a wooden skewer. On a grill skillet, cook and char each prawn for about 1.5 minutes per side, brushing extra chilli sauce on while grilling. Before serving, sprinkle some sesame seeds on the prawns. The skewers pair perfectly with a glass of celebratory champagne or chilled white wine.’

— Theign Yie Phan, Head Chef, Le Garçon Saigon


600 grams tiger prawns (10–12 pieces, head and shell removed)

6 tablespoons chilli sambal or Sriracha chilli sauce 

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Black and white sesame seeds

3. La Foule Cocktail

‘La Foule is the perfect combination of irresistible tropical ingredients, bringing a hint of summer to New Year’s Eve. The Vietnamese spritz is a concoction of floral Lillet vermouth, a hint of Suze for those herbal notes, mango and lemon balm for that tropical flavour and, finally, sparkling wine, bringing all the ingredients to a delicious crescendo. La Foule is a refreshing cocktail to leave you feeling reinvigorated and ready to tackle 2021.’

— JD Valencia, Bar Manager, Le Garçon Saigon


20 ml Lillet vermouth

15 ml Suze

45 ml mango juice

3–4 lemon balm leaves

75ml sparkling wine

Extra lemon balm leaves and a slice of mango to garnish

4. Bacon Jam with Boiled Baby Potatoes and Brie Cheese

‘My festive canapé go-to is Bacon Jam with Boiled Baby Potatoes and Brie Cheese. It’s a simple to make: on a heated deep pan, add a little oil and sautée the bacon until crispy. Add the rest of the ingredients and sautée until cooked through. Put in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Serve with boiled baby potatoes and brie cheese. Bon appétit!’

— Esther Sham, Founder and Chef, Maison ES


450 grams bacon

1 cup chopped shallots

4 cloves chopped garlic

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 long red chilli

½ teaspoon mustard power

¼ cup maple syrup

4 tablespoons brown sugar

Spiced Rejoice Cocktail. Image courtesy of Conrad Hotel

5. Spiced Rejoice Cocktail

‘To make this festive speciality drink, shake all the ingredients with ice, then double-strain them into a chilled cocktail glass with three dashes of cranberry bitters in heart shape. Finish with a garnish of lemon peel and rosemary. Enjoy!’

— Dimitar Ho, Bartender, Pacific Bar, Conrad Hotel


40 ml cinnamon gin

15 ml calvados (or another brandy)

30 ml cranberry juice

15 ml lemon juice

15 ml ginger syrup

Za’atar Cracker Canapé. Image courtesy of MANA!

6. Za’atar Cracker Canapé

‘You can’t go wrong with this simple treat. Watch your guests’ reactions when they take their first bite and go for a dozen more! And make sure to get good-quality crackers. I like oat crackers that have a crunch, aren’t too crumbly and are made with lots of oats. To make the canapés, mix za’atar with olive oil to the consistency of pesto. Spread the za’atar mix on the cracker, making sure it’s not too oily. Then add a slice of fresh tomato and top it with a fresh mint leaf. For variation, replace the tomato with a cucumber slice or 1/8 of a whole avocado (halve the avocado, remove the seed, slice that into half and then half again. Remember, simple is best when it’s done well!’

— Bobsy Gaia, founder, MANA!


Oat crackers

Za’atar (you can get the best za’atar in jars from MANA!)

Olive oil

Fresh tomatoes, cucumber or avocado, sliced in 1 cm slices

Fresh mint leaves