The holidays are here! Each year, December and January are chock full of happy hours with coworkers, special dinners, and festive gatherings to mark the holiday season. If you’re planning a party of your own, here’s how to stand out from the crowd with creative, yet simple ideas to entice your guests.
Food: A global twist on a favorite
Holiday parties are a chance to spice things up. Our executive sous chef, Randal Jacobs, puts a worldly Christmas spin on an iconic, American hors d’oeuvre–the deviled egg. This creamy, half-moon treat actually traces its roots back to ancient Rome. Who knew?? Serve the traditional deviled delicacy alongside our four versions below with flavors from around the world. We’ll get your culinary juices flowing with a full recipe for one of the four variations on the holiday favorite.
- The Irish Devil with whole-grain-mustard-infused yolk with potato, bacon and chives.
- Russian Deviled Egg, a red-beet-soaked egg with caviar and dill
- Greek Deviled Egg with pesto, feta cheese and kalamata olives
- Italian Deviled Egg with white-truffle-oil-infused yolk and prosciutto
Beverages: Iced and cozy options
Perfectly crafted, timeless cocktails, such as martinis and old fashioneds are always welcome at a party. But what about shaking things up a little with a wine cocktail? Check out these recipes from our mixologist, Lov Carpenter.
1.5 oz cabernet sauvignon
0.5 oz pomegranate juice
0.25 oz lemon juice
0.25 oz sage syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into martini glass, garnish with sage sprig.
Oak and Stars
1.5 oz Merlot
0.75 oz bourbon
0.25 oz anise syrup
0.25 oz lemon juice
Muddle 4-5 cranberries with anise syrup. Add Merlot, bourbon, and lemon juice; shake with ice. Strain into old fashioned glass, add ice, garnish with speared cranberries and anise star.
Is the latest polar vortex chilling guests? Warm them up with a cozy, tea-infused beverage.
Ginger & Roy
1.5 oz brewed Rare Tea Cellar Gingerbread Dream rooibos tea
.5 oz Amaro Nonino
.25 oz Grand Marnier
Nutmeg-infused whipped cream
Brew tea, then add amaro and Grand Marnier. Top with whipped cream. To make whipped cream, prepare with bowl and whisk or combine heavy whipping cream and ground nutmeg in a shaker tin, add spring from strainer, shake vigorously.
Decor: Keep it simple and festive
- Twinkle lights are a holiday season staple, but they’re not just for shrubs and light posts. Bring them inside your space and string white twinkle lights over the bar, buffet or dance floor to set the mood.
- Purchase simple, yet festive greenery and berries from a wholesale flower market to dress up the bar, dinner table, or buffet. And don’t forget the mistletoe!
- Invite guests to bring a holiday photo, decoration or stocking from their childhood and display them on the fireplace or above the bar. The most original memorabilia takes home a bottle of wine!
Music: Conversation backdrop or dance party?
First, ask yourself if your gathering will be more of the mix-and-mingle sort or if you expect guests to eventually hit the dance floor. Next, choose a band or a playlist. Yes! You’ve heard of bands instead of DJs at weddings, but what about live music at your holiday party? Depending on the mood you want to set, ask a trio of high school, college, or professional musicians to play at your cocktail party. If you want something a little more casual, invite a guitarist/vocalist to play holiday tunes and take requests. If you’re on a budget or crave the crooning of original artists, create a playlist so that you can easily select and organize songs to set the perfect backdrop for conversations all the way up to spirited spinning and twisting on the living room floor.
Activities: Ornament decoration or gift exchange
If your guests are the interactive, creative sort, designate an ornament- or cookie-decorating station. If children are in tow, set up a space for activities and crafts that will keep them engaged (err… occupied). Play-doh® (if you can stomach the cleanup) and Lego® building blocks are always a favorite among kids of any age. So set aside an area where young guests can create holiday sculptures, buildings and scenes so that parents don’t have to worry about bored kids. A viewing area for holiday movies completes the activities area.
Happy holiday party planning!