Holiday Cocktail Party

home remodeling tid-bits

by Kathy Hester

The holidays can be so hectic that it's easy to overlook spending time with friends. It may be too much to plan your monthly dinner party due to all the holiday obligations. Try throwing a cocktail party instead. It will take less time to put together and friends can come and go throughout the night as their schedules allow.

You have probably already started decorating for the holiday season. Grab extra tree ornaments and tinsel to put in clear flower vases and use where you would normally place flowers. Go to your local grocery and pick up some fresh evergreen garland. If you don't want to fool with a tree, it will bring in that wonderful pine smell into the house and it's much easier to take down.

If you decide to decorate with plants, remember that poinsettias are poisonous to animals and keep them where your dog or cat cannot get to them. There's nothing fun about cutting a party short to go to the emergency vet.

Appetizers are one of the most important parts of a cocktail party. After all, too many cocktails on an empty stomach can spell disaster for any party. I plate mine up on colorful sengWare to add an extra splash of color to my buffet table. You can do this simply by setting out an assortment of cheeses with fancy crackers, olives, and a vegetable tray with a ranch dip. Going all out is always an option too. You could get some mini phyllo shells and fill them with boursin cheese and smoked salmon, chicken salad with dried cranberries, or even make mini egg white quiches for a healthier choice.

You can choose to set up a full bar and designate a bartender, or decide on one drink for the night. I lean towards the drink of the night so I can make a few pitchers ahead of time and spend more time with my guests. Pomegranate martinis are high on my list this holiday, but don't forget about warm drinks like hot buttered rum. You can make a big batch of those in a slow cooker even before the party starts. Spiked hot Cider is another great winter option. Try throwing in some cinnamon sticks and whole cloves to make it extra special.

Have some red and white wine on hand as well as a few types of beer, as not everyone will want to drink hard liquor. Also, have a variety of sodas and a non-alcoholic version of your drink of the evening. That way, everyone will have something special just for them.

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