Spirited Holiday Cheer
|Enjoying a classic Manhattan at High Cotton in Greenville, SC, recently, I took a good 60 minutes to finish my sipping.|
How about sending out this customizable invitation and dressing things up a bit. Along with your cocktails, you may want to offer the following hors d’oeuvres. Recipes should serve 10-12 people with 1-2 bites per person. No plates or forks required, which is why everything is bite-sized! You will only need nice cocktail napkins and glass barware. Don't skimp on the barware, even if you have to borrow or rent the correct cocktail glasses--it's important. .
The following video offers a history of cocktails with a recipe for the classic Old Fashioned at 3:48 minutes. Two more classic cocktail recipes follow, but I ask you to sip responsibly--these drinks are potent. Click on the name to watch a video with instructions by experienced mixologists.
2 parts Rye Whiskey (can use bourbon)
1 part sweet vermouth
1 dash bitters
Add ice and stir until very, very cold. The stirring will also serve to dilute the alcohol--this is a good thing. Strain into cocktail glass and finish with a maraschino cherry. Sip very, very slowly, enjoying that touch of sweetness from the cherry at the end.
2 parts brandy or cognac
1 part crème de cacao
1 part cream
Shake very well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with light dusting of nutmeg. This is a lovely classic cocktail to use instead of a dessert.
Devilled Eggs on Melba Toast
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
2 T. Duke’s mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon mustard
½ t. white wine vinegar, if needed for extra “punch”
salt and pepper, if needed
caviar (red or black) *
Melba toast (original)
Cut eggs in half and put yolks into a small bowl. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix well. Taste and add the vinegar, salt and pepper, if needed. No more than 1 hour before the party (to ensure that the toast doesn't get soggy), spread , spoon or pipe a generous amount of the egg mixture onto the toast and top with the caviar. Set on a platter and garnish with a few long and elegant cuttings of the chives.
*If you cannot find the caviar (or just don’t like it), use any of the following: capers, thinly sliced slivers of roasted red pepper, anchovy fillets, chopped parsley or chives.
Chicken Salad Filled Tomato Cups
Your favorite chicken salad (about 2 cups)
Campari tomatoes, washed and cut in half. One package will yield about 16 halves
Boston lettuce leaves
chopped parsley or chives
Fill the tomato halves with chicken salad. Line a platter or tray with the lettuce and place the tomato cups on top. Garnish each tomato with the chopped greenery. Keep in the refrigerator up to 6 hours, but remove one hour before serving.
If you have chicken salad left after filling the tomatoes, gather your teaspoons and fill them with the salad. Serve them arranged neatly on a plate or serving dish lined with a white napkin. Garnish with the chopped greenery. Set a smaller dish beside this. Each guest will pick up a spoon, eat the chicken salad and place the used spoon in the small dish.
Roast Beef & Horseradish Sauce
½ lb rare roast beef cut into 2 “pieces (a rough square or round)
Rye or pumpernickel bread cut into 2” squares or rounds
Spoon a generous amount of sauce on the bread and top with beef, arranging in a fold. Prepare 30 minutes prior to serving.
½ cup sour cream
1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
¼ t. Dijon mustard
½ T. lemon juice
¼ cup prepared horseradish (Adjust this to suit your taste. Begin with half of the horseradish, taste and add the remainder, if you like)
1 T. fresh dill, chopped
Combine everything and refrigerate. Stir in the dill just before serving. The bite of the horseradish mellows with age, so you can prepare 3-4 days ahead, if you wish.
You may also wish to serve…
· A nice mix of salted nuts. Serve them in an attractive glass or crystal bowl.
· A mix of feta cheese (cut into bite sized cubes), assorted olives and a few matchstick sized pieces of celery and carrots (peel, string, cut off ends and slice into 4” long matchsticks). A light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil will add extra flavor and give everything a glistening appearance.