Best Places To Celebrate New Year’s

It’s that time of year again, and no I don’t mean holiday shopping, even though it seems like you can’t escape those seasonal jingles… no matter how hard you try. No, I’m talking about something better, something more exciting. I’m talking about planning your New Year’s Eve destination.

Where do you want to be when the clock strikes midnight this December 31st? Hopefully it will be somewhere more exciting than in front of the television or at the local pub down the street. It will be 2014, after all.

So whether it’s watching the ball drop in Times Square or being the first to ring in the New Year Down Under, we have compiled a list of the top five Best Places To Celebrate New Year’s.

New York City, New York – Times Square

When you mention the best place to spend New Year’s Eve without a doubt the number one place that comes to mind is Times Square in New York City. With the iconic ball drop, a tradition that dates back to 1907, and the amazing pyrotechnic lightshow, the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebrations are one party that everyone needs to attend at least once in their life. Sure the Square is jammed packed with people and public washrooms are limited, but counting down to the new year with a million other party goers is an unreal experience that needs to be experienced to be believed. The square is usually packed by 3pm and definitely fills up by 11pm, so get there early to get a good spot.

Tokyo, Japan – Shibuya

If you are looking for the Times Square equivalent of a New Year’s Eve celebration in Tokyo then look no further than the heart of the entertainment district, Shibuya. The celebration kicks off just outside the train station, and New Year’s Eve is the one day of the year where public transit runs all day long. The best part of counting down to the New Year in Shibuya is that after you steal that New Year’s kiss you’ll have a multitude of bars and clubs to party in, many within walking distance. If you are looking for something more traditional, head over to Meiji Jingu where local Tokyo residents release thousands of balloons to mark the New Year.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Copacabana Beach

If you are looking to escape the cold of a New Year’s Eve celebration and heat up the party then Rio de Janeiro is the place to do it. Sure Brazil’s party capital may be most famous for Carnival, but its second best party event happens on the 4-kilometre stretch of sand known as Copacabana beach. Locally known as Reveillon, this New Year’s Eve beach party is an all-day event that over two million people attend. With several musical stages, dancing, and a 15-minute firework display, this is one New Year’s Eve party that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Paris, France – Champs-Elysees

The City of Light lives true to its name come New Year’s Eve. If you are looking for the best street party than look no further than Champs-Elysees in Paris, France. Thousands of Parisians take in the celebrations, partying up and down Champs-Elysees, drinking France’s popular export, Champagne, and awaiting the magical moment when the iconic Eiffel Tower becomes the centrepiece of the New Year’s Eve fireworks display. And remember, there is no better place to be than in the City of Love when looking for that special someone to share a New Year’s kiss.

Sydney, Australia – Sydney Harbour

Another hot party place to ring in the New Year is the Sydney Harbour in Sydney, Australia. As one of the first cities to do so each year you have to bet that their New Year’s Eve celebrations are always the biggest, the most flashy and downright the best New Year’s Eve parties around. The party gets started at 1pm and goes into the wee hours of the New Year. So if you want to be the first to ring in the New Year this December 31st, then you better get yourself Down Under.

Corey Rozon profile imageAbout the Author
Corey Rozon is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Canada.

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The Great Taste of the Midwest Beer Festival

In 2012, we put together a post that we thought would have the bar crowd excited, especially the beer drinkers. Much to our chagrin, the World’s Top 15 Beer Festivals was met with more disdain than adoration.

It seems in our quest to find the World’s Top Beer festivals we overlooked many of the smaller craft brew festivals, which of course upset beer connoisseurs from around the web and all over the globe. Just take a look at the comments on reddit. Yikes! Well lesson learned.

One common complaint found in many of the comments, hate-mails, and death threats (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit about the last one) was our lack of including, or even mentioning, the Great Taste of the Midwest.

We wanted to see what the fuss was all about, so last summer we packed up the BarWhiz van and took a road trip out to Madison, Wisconsin to attend this much lamented beer festival.

Occurring on the second Saturday of every August, 6,000 Wisconsinites converge on beautiful Olin-Turville Park to sample the 600+ offerings of over one hundred brewpubs and microbreweries from all over the Midwest.

It’s not just about drinking at the Great Taste of the Midwest beer festival. Beer education is also a big part as well. From cooking with beer, to beer pairing, and everything in between, the presentation pavilion is the place to be to get your beer education on. With most sessions capping the limit at 100 people it can be hard to get a seat, so arrive early if you want to join in on the fun.

So yes, we now agree with all the seasoned beer festivalgoers, the Great Taste of the Midwest definitely needs to be included in the list of the World’s Top Beer festivals. If you want to check it out for yourself, the 2013 Great Taste of the Midwest is on Saturday, August 10, 2013.

For more information visit their website: www.mhtg.org.

***Update***
Unfortunately, by the time this post was ready for live submission the 2013 Great Taste of the Midwest was already sold out. To commiserate your loss we’ve decided to share with you some pictures of the 2012 festival:

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2012 Great Taste of the Midwest

2012 Great Taste of the Midwest

2012 Great Taste of the Midwest

2012 Great Taste of the Midwest

2012 Great Taste of the Midwest

Corey Rozon profile imageAbout the Author
Corey Rozon is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Canada.

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Tips For The Perfect Wedding Toast

Best man wedding toast embarrasses groom
It’s that time of year again, wedding season. With over 30% of all wedding receptions occurring every summer there is a good chance that you may be asked to perform a toast, or even be part of the wedding party.

Here at BarWhiz we love a good party, but being part of the actual wedding party, especially if you are designated the Best Man or Maid of Honor, comes with great responsibility, the least of which is coming up with a wedding toast.

To help make your toast go as smoothly as possible we have put together these tips for the perfect wedding toast:

#1 – Preparation
Not unlike many aspects of life, preparation is key when it comes to giving the perfect wedding toast. Sure, you may think it may come off sounding more sincere if you give a toast from the heart, as opposed to one that is scripted, but even the best of public speakers can quickly turn into a rambling mess. Take the time before the wedding to brainstorm some ideas, jot down some stories and come up with some jokes. A little preparation goes a long way.

#2 – Keep it short and sweet
When preparing what you are going to say make sure you time it as well. No one wants to hear a long, drawn-out toast, especially since you are likely holding up dinner – and won’t be the only person giving a toast that night. No matter who you are to the Bride and Groom, it is recommended to shoot for a toast that is somewhere between 3-5 minutes in length.

#3 – Develop a flow
A perfect wedding toast is like a good book. It has a certain rhythm and flow that keeps the listener wanting to hear more. When preparing your speech you want to think about developing the story. It should have a distinctive beginning, middle, and an ending that really ties everything together.

#4 – Things to avoid
There are a host of things one should avoid when drafting their wedding toast, from inside jokes to controversial topics, and everything in between. Sure, you want to use your wit and inject some humor into your toast, but if it is at the expensive of others it is not worth it. A well-crafted wedding toast will include jokes, stories and references that are both relevant and appropriate for everyone in attendance, not just the inner circle of friends that ‘were there’ at the time of the story.

#5 – Practice makes perfect
Preparation may be the key to a wedding toast, but practice will make it perfect. The idea is to practice your toast until it becomes almost second nature. Sure, you may still want to have some cue cards on hand to help keep you on track, but you most certainly do not want to be reading your toast from a piece of paper. Practice will also help with the timing of your toast, because as mentioned in the point above, you want to keep it short and sweet.

#6 – Stay sober
The most important tip we can share to help you give the perfect wedding toast, above all, is to stay sober. A little liquid courage may help to take the edge off of public speaking, but one drink too many and you can end up sounding like a drunken mess. Remember, this is your friends’ special day so don’t ruin it by getting drunk before you give your toast. Save those celebratory drinks for after the speech.

Corey Rozon profile imageAbout the Author
Corey Rozon is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Canada.

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Best Types Of Bars For Bachelor Parties

Celebrating a bachelor party
Last year we provided you with our list of the most popular drinks at a bachelor party. Today, we’ll tell you all about the best types of bars for bachelor parties.

Now not everyone can have a wild and crazy night in Vegas or Bangkok for their bachelor party, but at least with this list of the best types of bars, you too can wake-up to a hangover but in the comfort of your own town.

Cigar Lounge
Enjoying a cigar at a cigar lounge
Nothing says bachelor party like starting the night off in a swanky cigar lounge. Nestle back in those overstuffed leather chairs, sip on some fine scotch and enjoy an expensive Cuban cigar. Enjoy it, because from here on out the debauchery starts.

Speakeasy
Secret door at a speakeasy
After you’ve got your fill of scotch and cigars it’s time to do it up 20s style. Get yourself into one of the many underground speakeasies that are popping up all around the country… that is of course if you know the password to get in. Fuel up with some boozy Mad Men style cocktails because the party is about to get crazy.

Strip Club
Strippers dancing for a guy at a strip club
No bachelor party is complete without a trip to the peelers. Order some rounds of expensive drinks, get a table dance or two and send the groom to be for a wild time in the champagne room. Once you’ve got your fill of the ‘neked ladies’ it is time to head out and party it up with some real girls. Oh, and if you are looking for a strip club, you may want to stay away from places with these stripper signs out front.

Dance Club
Patrons dancing at a dance club
Now that you are all fired up it’s time to get your ass out on the dance floor. Hit up a club and give your boy one last night of freedom to hit on all the beautiful single ladies. Tear up the night until closing time and work off some of that alcohol because the night isn’t over yet.

After Hours Club
After Hours bar in Bangkok, Thailand
After the clubs are closed it is time to take in an after hours club. Many legitimate after hours places are open until the wee hours of the morning. You can spend the night dancing off the last remaining effects of alcohol while sipping on some overpriced water, or you can find an after hours place that continues to serve alcohol, that is if you need a nightcap, or three. These can be hard to find, but believe me, every city has one. If you know someone that works in the industry they just may be able to steer you in the right direction.

Corey Rozon profile imageAbout the Author
Corey Rozon is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Canada.

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Most Popular Drinks At A Music Festival


Spring has finally sprung, and with the onset of the warm weather, for those of us north of the equator, it means we can finally enjoy a cold one outdoors. From outdoor patios to backyard parties one of the best places to enjoy a refreshing ice-cold drink is at an outdoor music festival.

Before we divulge the list of the most popular drinks at a music festival we’d first like to provide you with some words of caution. There are many key elements to surviving a music festival, especially a multi-day one. Remember, it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. So pace yourself and above all, remember to hydrate.

The majority of music festivals have a strict no outdoor alcohol permitted policy, so unfortunately you’ll have to stick with drinking what is available. If you’re more of the unscrupulous type you can always try one of these 6 inventions to smuggle booze into festivals… but if you get caught you didn’t hear that from us. Now on with the drinks:

#1 – Beer

By far the most popular, and most accessible drink at a music festival is of course beer. Whether it comes on tap, in the bottle or in the can no music festival experience is complete with a plastic cup of frothy goodness.

#2 – Wine

For the higher classed drinker, or just those of you that don’t like a cold refreshing beer, the second most popular music festival drink is wine. If you don’t want the dreaded black-teeth of red wine, we suggest sticking with the white.

#3 – Coolers

Coolers, whether wine, vodka or some other kind of sugar laden beverage is another popular drink for many festival-goers. Even if you don’t like coolers, at any given moment you may be Bro Iced, so be prepared and be careful out there.

#4 – Cocktails

Although not the most popular drink at a music festival, they can be the most delicious, and most dangerous. If the music festival you are attending offers cocktails, make sure you following our words of caution: pace yourself and stay hydrated.

#5 – Specialty Drinks

As alluded to, you typically don’t have too many options when it comes to types of drinks you can purchase at a music festival, so sometimes you have to improvise and create your own. With a plastic glass of beer, some ice and a can of el Jimadore (or any other premixed margarita) you can make your very own Beergarita!

Corey Rozon profile imageAbout the Author
Corey Rozon is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Canada.

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Most Popular Christmas Party Drinks

Even the Grinchiest of Grinches and the Scroogiest of Scrooges’ ice-cold hearts thaw just a little bit when it comes to getting together with friends for a few holiday drinks. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, from the second to third week of December, and well into the New Year, it is a great time to attend or even host a holiday party.

I’ve been to some pretty amazing parties where the host serves an elaborate themed menu, showing of their incredible culinary skills, however where many parties have failed is when it comes to party drinks. Typically BYOB (bring your own bottle) is expected.

It’s understandable of course, after all who really can afford to both feed and supply alcohol to all of their friends around this time of year. However, being able to supply some creative drinks alongside the incredible food would just blow your guests away.

The affordable solution: create a drink menu and assign each guest a particular bottle or ingredient to bring with them. Here are some of our favorite Christmas Party Drink recipes to add to your drink menu:

#1 – Eggnog

What is Christmas without a glass or two of everyone’s favorite treat – eggnog! Whether you purchase it from the store or make it from scratch, everyone loves a little eggnog each year, especially when it’s spiked. Since eggnog is our #1 pick for the most popular Christmas party drink we will not only provide you with a recipe to make homemade eggnog, but we’ll also provide you with two boozy variations. Think of it as our Christmas present to you.

· Simple Eggnog Recipe (Serves 20)

1 dozen eggs
12 oz white sugar
2 quarts milk
2 quarts whipping cream

Separate egg yolks and set whites aside for latter use. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients, mix well and chill in refrigerator. Before serving whisk egg whites and fold into mixture.

· Brandy Eggnog

1 oz brandy
½ oz dark rum
8 oz eggnog
whipped cream
ground nutmeg
cinnamon sticks

Shake brandy and rum in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a mug, add freshly made eggnog, top with whip cream and garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.

· Eggnog Martini

1 ½ oz dark rum
3 oz eggnog
almond extract
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
cinnamon stick

Shake rum, eggnog and almond extract in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into martini glass rimmed with cinnamon. Garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon stick.

#2 – English Christmas Punch

This Christmas punch is enough for 27 glasses, and best of all it is served on fire! Caution should be taken when igniting the punch; you don’t want to end up with a Griswold Christmas tree.

26 oz dark rum
26 oz dry red wine
24 oz strong tea
1 lb superfine sugar
juice of 1 large orange
juice of 1 lemon
orange slices

Combine wine, tea and the juice of one lemon and orange into a saucepan. Warm the mixture, being careful not to boil. Pour into heatproof punch bowl. Add sugar to a large ladle allowing excess sugar to enter punch bowl. Pour rum over ladle until sugar is saturated. Ignite the rum and sugar mixture carefully pouring into punch bowl. Stir to extinguish flames, add remainder of rum and orange slices for garnish.

#3 – Mulled Beer

Far be it from me to tell you how to drink you beer, I am after all a proponent of warming up with a cold one, but sometimes it’s nice to offer your guests a warm drink. This holiday recipe, which serves 20 of your closet friends, creates a warm and spicy twist on the traditional Christmas beer.

10 bottles of dark ale
5 egg yolks
5 tsp white sugar
2 tsp nutmeg
cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger

Combine beer and spices in a large saucepan and heat until ground spices dissolve. Mix sugar and egg yolks together and add to spiced beer ensuring to stir well. Pour into beer mug and garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon stick.

#4 – Hot Buttered Rum

Speaking of warming up with a warm one, this buttery treat is the perfect drink to hand your guests as they enter into you home from the frigid outdoors.

1 ½ oz of brandy
½ oz dark rum
1 Tbsp unrefined brown sugar
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz water
cloves
ground cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and warm on low heat. Works best if you make multiple cups at one time. Pour mixture into mugs and garnish with ground cinnamon

#5 – White Christmas

For those guest who wrinkle their noses to the though of eggnog, surprise them with this alternative. The additional flavors do a good job of masking that eggnog taste for those not so inclined.

1 oz Southern Comfort
½ oz white chocolate liqueur
4 oz eggnog
chocolate flakes

Shake all ingredients a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into martini glass and garnish with chocolate flakes.

#6 – Poinsettia

This elegant cocktail is made with Champagne, or sparkling wine, which will add a touch of class to any holiday party.

3 oz sparkling wine
½ oz triple sec
3 oz cranberry juice

Combine triple sec and cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a Champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.

#7 – Candy Cane

Here’s a fun cocktail to make for those that have a peppermint tooth – they are easy to spot, as they are the ones always stealing the candy canes off of your tree.

¾ oz berry flavored vodka
¾ oz peppermint schnapps
¾ oz white crème de cacao
¼ oz grenadine
half and half
soda water
candy cane

Combine vodka, peppermint schnapps, white crème de cacao, and grenadine into a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass rimmed with crushed peppermint candy. Fill with half and half, top with soda water and garnish with a candy cane.

#8 – Merry Christmas

Last but not least, here at the BarWhiz Blog we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas with a cocktail of the same name.

1 oz gin
1 oz cranberry juice
1 tsp lemon juice
club soda
fresh cranberries

Shake gin, cranberry and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice, top with club soda and garnish with fresh cranberries.

Corey Rozon profile imageAbout the Author
Corey Rozon is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Canada.

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Most Popular Drinks At A Bachelor Party

You’ve decided to take the plunge and have finally proposed to your girl – or were brow beaten into a proposal. Whatever the case, congrats man. So what if she now carries your boys around in her purse next to her lipstick and tampons. That doesn’t mean you can’t take them out and dust them off for one last night of debauchery.

If you want to set out on an epic night for your bachelor party we have a list drink ideas for you. So crank up some Queen and take a look at our pick for the Most Popular Drinks At A Bachelor Party:

Beer

Beer Bottles

Beer is pretty much the staple for any party, but this is not just any party – this is your last night as a free man, and you can’t very well play Drink the Beer without any beer.

1 case of beer

Twist cap, chug and repeat.

Irish Car Bomb

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If you need to really get the party going, a couple of these bad boys will do in pinch.

¾ pint Guinness stout
½ oz Bailey’s Irish cream
½ oz Jameson Irish whiskey

Pour stout into a pint glass and allow it to settle. Fill shot glass with Jameson and float with Bailey’s. Drop the shot glass into the pint of stout and chug.

Overdrive

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They say this stuff gives you wings, so you may still have a chance to escape.

3 oz Red Bull
1 oz vodka

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, strain into rocks glass and chug.

Kamikaze
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Ever wonder why all those pilots signed up for that gig? They were all married. Just sayin’.

1 ¼ oz vodka
¼ oz triple sec
¼ oz limejuice or sour mix

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, strain into shot glass and kiss your ass goodbye.

The Ole’ Ball and Chain

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‘Nuff said.

1 oz Bacardi Tropico
2 oz cold sake
4 oz Japanese green tea
splash of sour mix

Pour all ingredients into pilsner glass filled with ice. We all know you are kind of a Geisha anyway, so go ahead fancy boy, and garnish that drink with a lime wedge or twist.

Jagerade

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The sun may be on the horizon but the party’s not over yet. Time to replenish some of those lost electrolytes.

8 oz chilled Gatorade energy drink
4 oz Jagermeister

Pour all ingredients into Collins glass filled with ice and guzzle back that sweet nourishing nectar.

Bloody Bull
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Ah, the breakfast of champions. If your best man did his job right you’ll still be partying when 11 o’clock in the morning rolls around – or whatever time it’s legal to start serving alcohol again.

1½ oz vodka
2 oz. tomato juice
2 oz beef bouillon

Pour all the ingredients in a highball glass over ice; add a squeeze of lemon and a dash of pepper. Drink slowly, because once you’re done, so is your freedom.

Corey Rozon profile imageAbout the Author
Corey Rozon is a freelance writer from Ottawa, Canada.

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