It’s that time of year again – holiday parties filled with plenty of cocktails, socializing and finger food much to our heart’s desire to celebrate this sparkly season. I teamed up with a photographer friend of mine, Maike Paul, to do a Holiday Cocktail Party photo shoot and we had waayyyyy too much fun!
We chose five of our favorite cocktails to concoct, style, shoot (and drink, of course), along with a few nibbles to compliment. So here’s the lineup: Whiskey Sour with Stuffed Mushrooms, Classic Martini with Spiced Mixed Nuts, Mulled Wine with Cheese and Crackers, Pisco Sour, and a luscious White Russian for dessert. I know you’ll love all of these recipes for your next holiday cocktail party as much as we did. And Happy Holidays to all of you – CHEERS!
1 small lemon wedge
Turbinado sugar, for rimming glass
1/4 cup bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, preferably organic
1 cup ice cubes
Rub the lemon wedge around the rim of a 12-ounce rocks glass. Place turbinado sugar in a shallow dish. Dip the rim of the glass in the sugar to coat; set aside.
In a large cocktail shaker, combine bourbon, orange juice, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and ice. Cover, and shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined and cold. Pour into prepared glass, and garnish with orange slice.
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
Fresh ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons EVOO
16 large white mushrooms, stemmed
White Truffle Oil (a few sprays or 1-2 tablespoons for brushing)
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stem the mushrooms and chop the stems into fine pieces, set aside. In a mixing bowl, blend together bread crumbs, cheese, chopped mushroom stems, garlic, parsley, chile flakes, garlic salt and pepper with EVOO. Adjust olive oil amount to your liking until filling is soft and blended well.
Stuff mushroom caps (cavity side up) with the filling (generously) on a greased baking sheet. Spray or brush truffle oil on outer mushroom caps.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until mushrooms are golden brown. Garnish with fresh mint.
Makes 16 servings.
Classic Dry Martini
1 2/3 oz Gin
1/3 oz Dry Vermouth
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with twist of lemon peel or olives.
Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash Louisiana-style hot sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices; set aside. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add cashews, pecans and cashews; cook over medium heat until nuts are lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with spice mixture. Add the brown sugar, water, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is melted.
Place nuts on a large baking sheet lined with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until nuts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let nuts cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 2 cups.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.
Mulled Red Wine with Brown Sugar
Two bottles of fruity red wine (Zinfandel or Merlot)
Zest strips from one orange
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
Put the peppercorns, fennel seeds and cinnamon in a large tea ball or wrap them in cheesecloth and secure them with kitchen string. In a large saucepan, combine aromatics with the wine, bay leaves and orange zest.
Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered for 30 minutes. Remove the aromatics and orange zest strips. Stir in the sugar until dissolved.
Serve warm in glasses or mugs with a variety of cheeses and crackers and spiced nuts.
Recipe from Food and Wine Cocktails.
2 oz Pisco
1 oz Lemon or Lime Juice
1-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1/4 oz Sugar
1/2 Egg White
Shake all ingredients except bitters with ice. Strain into champagne flutes.
Dash with bitters and drag with a toothpick to make design.
2 oz Vodka
1 oz Kahlua
Half and Half Cream
Pour coffee liqueur and vodka into ice-filled old fashioned glass and fill with milk or cream.
Alternatively you can shake it all up in a cocktail mixer and strain over ice.
Garnish with coffee beans or cocoa powder.