With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’ve been busy brainstorming ideas to create a memorable and fun holiday party. It may seem like the last thing you want to deal with at this time of year (believe me, I’ve been there) but really, all it comes down to is three things. Keep it simple- have great food, fabulous drinks, and a lively atmosphere. Whether you’re throwing a shindig for your entire office or just 10 of your closest family members, we’ve got some tips (and recipes!) for success.
Who says you have to offer a full bar? Offer beer and wine as well as some festive non-alcoholic beverages like hot apple cider or a hot cocoa bar. Or just skip the manned bar altogether and go with a specialty cocktail that can be made ahead of time. Autumn sangrias and hot toddys work out well and are all around crowd pleasers!
Candy Cane Cocktail
– 1 candy cane, crushed, for garnish
– 2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
– Ice cubes
- Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with sugar water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.
- In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into prepared martini glass; serve immediately.
Cranberry Sparkler “Mocktail”
– 1 ½ oz Blackberry Puree
– 2 oz White Cranberry Juice
– 2-3 oz Sparkling Water
– 1 mint sprig for garnish
- Prepare the Blackberry Puree batch using a pint of blackberries and a food processor. Process the blackberries until pureed. Strain through a fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl then discard the solids. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to use. (No longer than two days though.)
- Place Blackberry Puree and white cranberry juice in a champagne flute then top with sparking water. Garnish with mint sprig. Cheers!
This time of year, wine aficionados reach for Crémant, a typically high-quality sparkling white wine made in several French wine regions. Expect to pay $15 to $30, about half that of Champagne. Now that’s what we call bang for the bottle.
Set the Mood
Get your party started on the right note with a fun playlist. Favorite selections to get you in the spirit of the season include:
- Little Brown Jug, Glenn Miller Orchestra
- I’ve Got the World on a String, Frank Sinatra
- Holly Jolly Christmas, Michael Bublé
- My Favorite Things, Diana Ross and The Supremes
- Sing, Sing, Sing, Anita O’Day
- Come Fly With Me, Frank Sinatra
- Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside, Louis Armstrong
- The Nutcracker Suite, Baz Kuts Breaks Mix
- Auld Lang Syne, Pink Martini
A Menu They’ll Love
No cocktail party is complete without some fabulous menu offerings. Check out this one we came up with for one of our favorite annual parties!
Signature Passed Specialty Cocktail
Passed Hors d’oeuvres
Fancy Fingers with thinly sliced prosciutto, fontina cheese,
black truffles and black truffle oil
Butternut Squash Tartlet with blue cheese and apple
Crab and Black Truffle Arancini
Zucchini pancake with eggplant caviar
Fried Green Tomato “blt” with lemon aioli and flay mini biscuit
Medjool stuffed dates with goat cheese and bacon
Tuna Tartare in miso tuille cup, soy pearls, siracha aioli, micro wasabi
Chilled Jumbo Shrimp with Spicy Cocktail Sauce
Tapas Station- Small 1-2 bite samplings
Sweet and Sour Meatballs with a tangy, pineapple glaze
Roasted Tomato Basil and Curried Pumpkin Soup Sip in Espresso Cup
Gnocchi with Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce and Parmesan Crisp in Shooter Glass
Chilled Sea Scallop with Miso Glaze on an Asian Spoon
Mini Lamb Chops with Garlic and Herbs
Braised Short Rib and Cheddar Potato on Mini Spatula
Assorted Maki Sushi- California rolls, Avocado rolls, Spicy tuna rolls
Fresh Sashimi and Nigiri to include tuna, salmon, and yellowtail
Served with seaweed salad, pickled ginger, soy and wasabi
Locally-inspired Cheese and Charcuterie Board
Farm stand local cheeses, patés, fennel cured salami, duck rilette, cornichons, apple butter mustard, pickled mustard seed, figs, quince paste, artisan bread and crackers
Tenderloin of Roast Beef, Brioche Rolls, Horseradish Cream Sauce
Roasted Turkey Breast, Challah Rolls, Honey Mustard, Cranberries in Wine, Herb Mayo
Dark Chocolate Fondue served with strawberries, pineapple, marshmallows, biscotti, cheesecake lollipops, angel food cake and fudge brownie bites
Mini Vanilla Chai Cupcakes
Assorted Seasonal Whoopie Pies
Peanut Brittle Bars
Ideas We Love
Looking for a creative (and easy) gift for guests to take away from your fab party? Infuse your own vodka as a holiday gift! Some techniques and flavors below:
How to Infuse:
Place 1 liter of vodka and your infusion ingredients in a large bottle and seal shut; let rest in a cool, dark place for 2 to 5 days, depending on your desired strength. Strain the finished product into gift bottles.
Our Top Vodka Flavors:
Coffee Flavored: 1/2 cup crushed (not ground) coffee beans. Don’t forget to shake every 2 days during the infusion process. Serving suggestion: Add to Bailey’s or Kahlua for an amazing after dinner cocktail.
Apple Vanilla Flavored: 2 whole, split vanilla beans + 1 apple, peeled and sliced. Serving suggestion: Create a cosmo with a holiday twist- add cranberry juice and lemon, then shake with ice and strain into a martini glass.
Five-Chile Flavored (spicy!): 5 dried chiles, chopped. Serving suggestion: Mix together with your favorite Bloody Mary Mixer and garnish with a pickled chili pepper.
Orange Ginger Flavored: 1 orange, sliced + 1/2 cup sliced fresh ginger. Serving suggestion: Muddle together some Thai basil leaves with an orange slice, add the infused concoction, shake, then top off with some ginger beer and garnish with a sprig of Thai basil to create a delicious Asian inspired cocktail.
Contact Susan at (508) 783-1663 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to book your holiday gathering. We offer full service menu planning and catering, consultation, and staffing services.