Cheers, salud and all that other stuff

I’ve only stolen once in my life.

Well, that doesn’t include taking Chucky Kuhlman’s allowance in the second grade, for which I paid dearly. Besides, Chucky was the neighborhood hellion who once tried to sell me tire cleaner on a piece of bread for 5 cents.

Let me start again.

The only time I’ve had sticky fingers, as an adult, was New Year’s Eve 1999 at the Cruise Room in downtown Denver.

We watched the fireworks on the 16th Street Mall and managed to land a sweet spot at the Cruise Room, an authentic holdover bar from the Deco era in the Oxford Hotel.

On the walls were murals that translated drinking toasts into various languages: cheers, salud, slainte, opa, l’chaim, prost, skaal, bonzai.

It was a magical night, and one of conspicuous consumption. We actually saw a yuppie lighting a cigar with a $20 bill. The booze was flowing, the mood was right, and we were facing a possible Y2K apocalypse.

The martinis were served in these cool glasses with tipsy, swervy stems. Tipsy, much like the night. Bottom line, one of those glasses made it home with me in my coat pocket. I still have it.

Did I mention it was cool?

If you’re going to imbibe this holiday, here are some numbers to take with you: Sunshine Taxi, 245-TAXI; Designated Drivers Service, 434-9197; A Absolute Prestige Limousine Service, 858-8500.

The following are some special events happening on New Year’s Eve in the Grand Valley.

Cheers!

Wine Country Inn in Palisade is hosting a sleepover and dance party with Project Groove.

The Groove is a local four-piece band that plays funk, jazz and blues-fusion. They’ve performed at the Colorado Mountain Winefest and were a popular set at the Wine Country Inn all summer long.

The inn is clearing the ballroom for happy feet, and serving unlimited heavy hors d’oeuvres and champagne for $55 per person. The sleepover package, which is $189 per couple, entitles the bearer to the New Year’s Eve party, accommodations at the inn and breakfast buffet with mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Two bands — Jack & Jill and The Wrong Impressions — will be ripping at Tenacious Brothers Pub. Both are favorite Grand Junction alternative rock bands.

The pub has eight beers on tap and plans drink specials including Jagermeister and Bacardi. They’re still talking to their liquor distributors, so the holiday cocktail menu is likely to expand.

Powderhorn Ski Resort has music and a buffet dinner at the Sunset Grille from 4–8 p.m.; at 5 p.m., watch snowboarders compete at Rail Jam; at 6:30 p.m. begins the annual Torchlight Parade, during which Powderhorn instructors and the ski patrol light up the slopes. Fireworks follow. All the festivities are free unless you opt for dinner at the Sunset Grille.

Chef Jim Keith at the Winery is stirring up cioppino for New Year’s Eve. The catch-of-the-day Italian fisherman’s stew is one of my favorites.

A staff member I talked to recommends two holiday drinks: No. 1, eggnog martini; No. 2, pumpkin pie martini.

The all-inclusive deal of the night goes to Breckenridge Ale House. For $120 per couple, you get two entrees, two desserts, a bottle of champagne, limo service to and a night’s stay at LaQuinta Inn.

TWO QUOTES: “New Year’s resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.” — James Agate, British critic

“New Year’s Day ... now is the accepted time to make your annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” — Mark Twain, American writer and humorist

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