The twinkling lights are hung, among the trees and foliage of evergreen. The holidays are truly upon us and the party planning has begun. This is the perfect time of year to enhance your best catering and mixologist skills. The combinations are limitless and can become a bit overwhelming. So where do you start?
First things first, you cannot have a successful party without food. This is the key to having merry guests rather than intoxicated ones. The host with the most will serve a variety of appetizers. These appetizers should vary to suit any pallet. However, you don’t want to spend three days in the kitchen preparing, so don’t overwhelm yourself. Plan for no more than six to eight. A good tip is to stream line your shopping with both food and alcohol. Choose a menu with versatile ingredients. For instance choose two kinds of cheese such as Brie and goat cheese. These are both soft cheese that can be paired with fruits, deli meats and nuts.
The alcohol you choose will depend on the food you choose. This time of year there are discounts galore on alcoholic beverages. You can find gift packs that contain different varieties. Retailers use this time of year to discount their inventory. You will find an assortment of various wine for sale and specialty beers are also frequently discounted during the holiday season.
Once you have decided on the appetizer menu, it is time to bring your inner bartender to the forefront. The idea is to create a cocktail menu that couples well with your appetizers. There is nothing wrong with serving beer and wine, but by doing this you lose control of the alcohol consumption of your guests. According to the NY Times people tend to indulge in alcoholic beverages more during the holidays than any other time of the year.
Keeping this in mind, a smart suggestion would be to have premixed drinks with a limited amount of alcohol. This will also prevent you from having to mix drinks individually, so you can enjoy your party. This gives you the upper hand on the alcohol consumption of your guests. While shopping choose a diverse selection of elegant pitchers, punch bowls or self-serving spout containers.
Clear containers give you the opportunity to get creative. Mix in fresh fruit slices, cinnamon sticks, cranberries and herbs. Here are a few examples and guidelines to get you started:
Herbs such as lavender and rosemary can be steeped in simple syrup or maple and pair well with cheese appetizers. Decorative ice cubes can be made with fresh herbs, edible flowers and berries. Batch cocktails such as punches are best made the day before; just make sure to stir well before serving. Sparkling wines are best paired with salty appetizers such as prosciutto, pretzels or crackers. Brown liquor such as bourbon or whisky pair best with savory flavors such as barbecued or smoked meats
Then put on your best and enjoy your party!