Dread it. Love it. Or fall somewhere in between.
The time of the year is upon us – holiday party season.
Story by Dave Eckert
Among the parties you host, the mandatory party appearances for work, and those you’re obliged to attend to support family and friends, making merry can be wearisome.
I can’t help make the friends, family, or work gatherings more interesting, but I do have a few thoughts on how to add some spice to your holiday party – food and drink.
It seems everyone stresses out over the food they’ll be serving at a party. Some folks take the easy way out and buy pre-prepared appetizers or hire someone else to do the food. It’s an easy approach, but likely won’t land your fete on anyone’s top party list.
There are so many fun and easy recipes these days, there’s no reason (other than time and a lack of interest or acumen) for you not to cook at least some of what you’ll be serving at your holiday soiree. Pick easy recipes and get creative with the names and decorations. Roasted root vegetables in a dry rub/balsamic glaze or oven roasted herb flavored chips can be labeled “Reindeer Snacks” with a fun display accompanying the serving vessel. Crispy cheesy/rice balls (Arancini) could be “Stocking Stuffers” with a stocking or two under the platter. Find recipes you’re comfortable with, get creative with how they’re served and what they’re called. Have a drawing for the most creative holiday food-themed name with the winner getting a holiday-centric prize. I won a Chiefs pillow at the last Kansas City Homes and Style issue release party and it made my night!
You know by now that I’m basically a wine guy. I understand that not everyone shares my passion for, and interest in, all things vinous. So, I’ll keep my holiday party wine thoughts short. First, don’t stress over specific wine and food matches, but rather, focus on the weight of the wine matching the weight of the food you’ll be serving. Cabernet Sauvignon is too heavy for the aforementioned Reindeer Snacks or Stocking Stuffers, but a Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris is just right. Keep it simple and diversify with a wide variety of red and white wines, not multiple bottles of the same wine. Your guests will love it!
In addition to being a wine lover, I’m also a huge localvore. Nothing is more popular these days than craft beer, and Kansas City is right in the thick of this Brew HaHa. A trip to few of the local Micro Breweries could net you a wide variety of delicious, stylistically interesting brews. If you don’t have the time or the cash, just head to your local supermarket where you’ll find all those fantastic beers from hometown favorite Boulevard Brewing and KC Bier Company. A couple of six packs and a few bottles of Boulevard’s Smokestack Series and you’ve got yourself a haul of really tasty, locally produced suds.
You can, and should, stay local on the cocktail front too. J. Rieger, S.D. Strong, Tom’s Town, Union Horse, Clear 10, Restless Spirits, McCormick, Holladay, Good Spirits, and Lifted Spirits offer a wide range of locally produced spirits that are widely available. Pair them with locally, hand-crafted Boozy Botanicals artisanal simple syrups and you’ve got never-ending stream of potential cocktail creations. And, don’t worry about being a mixologist. Delicious drinks are just a simple syrup recipe away. We’ve got one great cocktail creation featured right here.
Here’s hoping your holiday season is great and your holiday parties memorable. Happy Holidays!
Local Drink Recipes from Boozy Botanicals
Visit them online at boozybotanicalskc.com
Boozy Botanicals Sparkling Cosmopolitan (pictured)
- 2 oz vodka
- 1/2 oz Favorite Boozy Botanicals Syrup (Hibiscus, Rose and Spice are my faves)
- 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 2 oz champagne
Mix all ingredients except champagne in shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds then pour into chilled martini glass. Top with champagne and garnish with twisted orange peel.
Rose Gin Fizz
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz Boozy Botanicals Rose Syrup
- 3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 egg white
- 2 oz club soda
Shake gin, lemon juice, syrup and egg white in shaker without ice for 30 seconds. Open shaker, fill with ice and shake again for 30 more seconds. Strain into highball glass filled with ice and top with soda.
Sassafras Old Fashioned
- 2-3 oz whiskey or bourbon
- 1 oz Sassafras & Sunflowers Syrup
- Dash Angostura Bitters
Mix all ingredients in chilled Old Fashioned or rocks glass, stir slowly. Add ice and garnish with orange wheel.
Hibiscus Sea Breeze
- 2 oz vodka
- 2 oz Hibiscus Syrup
- 2 oz grapefruit juice
Mix all ingredients in highball glass and fill with ice. Garnish with lime wheel.
- 2 oz Dry Gin
- 1 oz campari
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 1/2 oz Rose Simple Syrup
Stir ingredients with ice in mixing glass and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel.