4 Popular New Year’s Eve Celebrations on the Coast

New Year’s Eve is a time to say goodbye to one year and to start a new year off with a bang. Where better to do that than on the Alabama Gulf Coast watching fireworks, enjoying fresh local cuisine and spending quality time with friends and family?  With all of the Gulf Coast activities taking place, we have composed a list of the most popular New Year’s Eve celebrations in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

The Wharf’s Annual New Year’s Eve Street Party

Reel in the New Year at the Wharf with fireworks, family friendly activities, live music and a Marlin Drop at midnight. Admission to the annual street party on Main Street is free and features a variety of entertainment for all ages. VIP tickets are available for the Jim Beam Kentucky Fire VIP Club that includes hors d’oeuvres, complimentary drinks, party favors and a comfortable lounge with the best seats in the house.

Flora-Bama’s New Year’s Eve Bash

Enjoy live music on three stages, party favors and champagne flowing all night. You won’t regret blowing it out one more time before committing to your New Year’s resolutions.  Enjoy a dinner buffet from 7pm until midnight and take advantage of the complimentary breakfast sandwiches served at the gift shop starting at 12:30am. “Do it on the line” and enjoy the New Year’s Eve Bash at the Bama.

Celebrate New Years at The Beach Club

Begin 2015 with elegance and flair at Coast Restaurant at The Beach Club. Create happy memories with your friends and family at the renowned annual celebration featuring a spectacular fireworks show, dinner at Coast Restaurant prepared by Executive Chef Brody Olive, live music and a champagne toast at midnight.  Accommodations packages are available so skip the drive and sleep in. 

New Year’s Eve at Fisher’s

If you are looking for a more romantic and intimate setting, then we suggest Fisher’s Upstairs for an all inclusive four course dinner and wine pairing with an open bar. Enjoy live music by Robert Ellis and band. Seating is limited to 100 tickets. Cocktails start at 7:30pm, Dinner is served at 8:30pm and the show begins at 10:30pm.

From the Spectrum Resorts family, we wish you a safe and Happy New Year.


How to Host a Last Minute Holiday Cocktail Party


By Martie Duncan/MartieDuncan.com

You’ve got the house decorated, why not ask a few friends over for some holiday cheer? Here is a no-fail plan for a quick get-together-just in time for the most wonderful time of the year.
The food doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Serve a few make-ahead or store bought appetizers that guests can easily pick up and not have to wrestle with silverware. I’m a big fan of grazing-it enables easy mingling and conversation. A cheese board is very easy and always a favorite. Add one or two holiday treats, a dessert cocktail, homemade truffles, or even a simple assortment of nice chocolates arranged on a tray to complete the menu.
Mix a signature cocktail or chill a few bottles of something sparkling: Champagne if your budget allows and Prosecco if it doesn’t. Turn on some holiday tunes and you’re ready to celebrate.
One of my favorite make ahead recipes is my Pickled Citrus Shrimp. I made this recipe for my pilot for Food Network Star because it has always been one of my signature dishes. I discovered this recipe about 20 years ago and have reinvented it many times based on what I had in the house. Around the holidays I add orange slices, a few whole cloves, and a splash of orange liqueur to change it for the season.

Recipe courtesy MartieDuncan.com
Skill level: Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes if you buy peeled and deveined shrimp. If you buy shrimp you have to clean, add 20 minutes.
Cook Time: 6-8 minutes for the shrimp but the marinade takes 8-24 hours
Yield: Approximately 60 shrimp

For the shrimp:
2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 pounds medium raw shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined with the tails on
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the marinade:
2 small Spanish onions, sliced paper thin
2 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
2 lemons, sliced very thin
1 orange, sliced very thin
14 small bay leaves or 7 large ones
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon whole cloves
Scant pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Mix the Old Bay, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Place shrimp on a sheet tray, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the Old Bay mixture. Cook for 6 minutes or until shrimp just turn pink; flip and cook another 2 minutes.
Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a large glass or plastic bowl except the lemon and orange slices, and bay leaves.
When the shrimp come out of the oven, put them directly into the marinade, toss, add the lemon slices, orange slices, bay leaves, and let cool. Wrap the bowl tightly with 2 layers of plastic wrap. Put the bowl in the refrigerator and marinate, turning the shrimp in the bowl occasionally to mix well for at least 8 hours and for up to 24 hours before serving. Place a large glass bowl in the fridge to chill for serving the shrimp.
To serve: Remove the bay leaves. Strain and reserve the liquid from the shrimp using a medium sieve or strainer so the seeds and cloves can pass through but it is ok if some remain in the shrimp.
Put the shrimp in a chilled glass bowl. Add some of the marinade, (leave out the seeds) back to the shrimp and toss. The shrimp should not be swimming in the marinade liquid. The onion, lemon, orange, and seeds are all edible but are for garnish and not intended to be eaten so you can omit them from the serving dish if you prefer.
Serve in a large bowl with a slotted spoon.

Homemade truffles are so delicious and so creamy; they are so worth the effort. These make a nice gift for the holidays or the perfect addition to a dessert bar.

Recipe courtesy MartieDuncan.com
Skill Level: Easy
Prep Time: 30 minutes

2 cups 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ teaspoon orange zest with ½ teaspoon orange liqueur
¼ teaspoon strong coffee or espresso with ½ teaspoon coffee liqueur
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the chocolate chips. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and pour into a shallow bowl or Pyrex baking dish.
Cool, cover, and refrigerate the mixture until firm, at least 2 hours.
Use a very small ice cream scoop, a melon baller, or very small spoon to roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. Keep your hands cool by washing them in cold water before you roll the truffles. Dust each ball with cocoa. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
You may also roll truffles in finely chopped toasted nuts, toasted and chopped coconut, or dust with Confectioner’s sugar.
Makes 24-30 depending on the size.

4 Great Christmas Shopping Destinations in Baldwin County

When it comes to Christmas shopping, Baldwin County has a lot to offer.  As everyone is making their Christmas list and checking it twice, stores across the country are prepared for the busiest shopping season of the year.  From Thanksgiving through Christmas, shoppers are in search of the perfect presents for their loved ones.

In an effort to help you find everything you and your family needs for the holidays this year, we have composed a list of four of the top shopping destinations in Baldwin County. Continue reading “4 Great Christmas Shopping Destinations in Baldwin County”