Am I the only one who feels like I swallowed a lead balloon around this time of year? Seriously! After all of the Thanksgiving food (and leftovers) come the rounds of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Solstice parties, and let’s face it, the one thing they all seem to have in common is FOOD!
Of course there are other common denominators, but if there’s one thing that brings people together it’s a celebratory meal.
Whether appetizers or light snacks are served or a full-on feast is prepared, you can bet most people do a lot of eating over the Fall/Winter holiday season! With that in mind, I’ve come up with some “light” party ideas.
Of course, with any good party there must be equally good cocktails, and I happen to have a couple of favorites to share with you.
3 oz Chandon Rosé or Sparkling Rosé
1 oz ginger liqueur – I like Snap or Fruitlab, but there are tons to choose from
1 tbsp (1/2 oz) lemon juice
1 tbsp (1/2 oz) simple syrup
Candied ginger for garnish
4 fresh raspberries, plus one for garnish
- Combine the ginger liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and 4 raspberries in a cocktail shaker.
- Top with ice and shake vigorously.
- Pour Chandon or Sparkling Rosé in a champagne glass.
- Strain shaken contents into glass with Rosé.
- Garnish with a skewer of raspberry and piece of candied ginger
To make a larger quantity for your party, you’ll need to do some math! If you think you’ll need to make 20, for example, just multiply all ingredients x 20, so that’s 60 oz (2.5 – 3 bottles) ofRosé, 20 oz (1 bottle) of liqueur, etc…it’s actually pretty economical!
2 ounces pomegranate juice
¾ ounce rosemary simple syrup
Sparkling wine or Champagne
Optional: 1 ounce of gin and/or orange bitters
Sprig of fresh rosemary and/or pomegranate arils for garnish
- Add pomegranate juice and rosemary simple syrup to a Champagne flute. If you’re adding gin and bitters, pour them in now too.
- Top with sparkling wine (or Champagne).
- Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary and/or pomegranate arils.*To make the rosemary simple syrup, heat equal parts sugar and water in a small pot over medium heat, stirring to dissolve.
Once the sugar is dissolved, add 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cooled, remove the rosemary, pour into a glass jar or other serving vessel and use as needed. Store leftovers in the fridge.
I like to make a big batch of the pomegranate/rosemary mixture and serve it in a pitcher or punch bowl with pretty little bowls of garnishes and bottles of sparkling wine & sparkling water on the side. That way your guests can help themselves to the punch however they like, the non-drinkers can enjoy it too, and you’re not stuck playing bartender all night when you’d rather be enjoying your party!
What could be better, you ask? Equally light, delicious and easy to prepare FOOD, that’s what. Oh, and it’s got to be beautiful, festive, and easy on the budget, you say? No problem, I’ve got you covered!
One of my favorite things to serve at parties is Brie and Cranberry bites. It’s not my recipe, but I use it quite a lot! To save time and make it even easier, buy Mini Fillo Shells from Athens foods. They’re pre-baked and ready to fill, which cuts your time and effort by at least 1/2!
For these you’ll need
1.5 cups Water
1/2 cup ginger liqueur
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
2 cups Fresh Cranberries
3/4 cup Caster Sugar (You can use granulated sugar too)
1/4 cup candied ginger, very finely chopped or quickly whirred in spice grinder – you want the consistency of granulated sugar, not powdered sugar.
- Make a light simple syrup by combining water and sugar in a small saucepan and heating on medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 2-3 minutes. DO NOT let the water boil, just bring it to a light simmer.
- Once sugar has dissolved, turn heat low and add clean cranberries and ginger liqueur to the syrup making sure they are well coated. Let them set in the syrup for 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer cranberries to a wire rack to dry using a slotted spoon, try to keep them separated as much as possible so they don’t all stick together.
- Mix the candied ginger and caster (or granulated) sugar together in a bowl
- After about 30 minutes, roll the cranberries in the ginger sugar and spread back out to dry some more.You can use these cranberries to dress up your holiday desserts and cocktails or just serve them in a bowl. Be sure to make lots!
You may have noticed that everything I’ve listed here is red – maybe that’s totally a coincidence, but most likely a subconscious thing. Red IS the ultimate Holiday color, am I right?
If you’d like more recipes, tips, or just some insights into my quirky brain, visit my Pinterest profile. I’ve got boards, boards and more boards to keep even the most dedicated, web-obsessed party connoisseur busy for hours.
Cheers, and Happy Holidays!