If you decorate your house for Christmas, then it should be pretty easy to throw in a few touches for a pre-pub-crawl party. Cover the table in a festive plaid tablecloth ($40), then place the food on a white serving platter, decorative tray — I love this reindeer one ($5) — or red bowl. Light candles and plug in the lights on your tree. Fill a bucket with ice and drinks and serve the cocktail in a punch bowl. Candy canes are a great party favor and a sprig of mistletoe is sure to add some excitement!
One way to get people talking at a holiday party is to serve punch. Not just any punch, but an interesting punch that uses less common spirits. People wondering what's in it will get the conversations started.
This punch recipe has Bols Genver (a Dutch alcohol with a flavor profile similar to gin), St. Germain, and Aperol. Fresh grapefruit juice gives it a festive color and delicious tartness. No simple syrup is necessary because the St. Germain is floral, sweet, and syrup-like. To look at the recipe, keep reading.
Here's an affordable and fun holiday party idea: invite friends over for decadent appetizers, then take a tour of the bars in your neighborhood. Instead of serving a bunch of food and drinks all night, you just have to make enough for each guest to have a couple bites and one-to-two rounds of drinks. For an easy spread of sweets, fill small bowls with red and green M&Ms and Hershey's Kisses.
Also offer a quick and uncomplicated make-ahead dessert, like the three-layer no-bake bars seen here. The bottom layer is a crumbly mixture of graham crackers, sugar, and cocoa powder. The creamy middle is a combination of vanilla pudding mix, milk, and powdered sugar. The top is a rich glaze of dark chocolate.
Made in a large casserole dish, this dessert is an ideal option for a potluck. Interested in the looking at the recipe? Read more.
Last December, my family started a new tradition: a holiday pub crawl! We met for heavy hors d'oeuvres at a cousin's house, then afterward took a tour of the neighborhood's best bars. It's a casual but festive style of soirée, and since everyone always has lots of parties to attend, friends and family members can stop by for one drink or take part in the entire crawl. When planning the first leg, offer a good quantity of appetizers with an assortment of textures and flavors: serve something cheesy, something meaty, and something seafood. Baked camembert is sophisticated and colorful when topped with sun-dried tomatoes; pair with crackers and bread.
Meatballs are a classic holiday bite, but update them by using ground lamb and exotic spices rather than the same old pork-beef mixture. Tuna tartar on thick-cut potato chips is addictive and irresistible. Head to the store for the rest of the menu; pick up your favorite crudités with ranch dip, charcuterie, nuts, or olives. To check out the suggested recipes, keep reading.