A holiday party needs two things: good food and good drinks. Okay, good company is important, too! After the craziness of the last two years, I’m all about keeping it simple. And it doesn’t get much simpler than a few good cocktails and appetizers. I’ve got some festive cocktails & easy apps for holiday entertaining that are sure to wow your guests, whether you’re having a small get-together with close friends or a bigger celebration this year.
Festive Cocktails for Holiday Entertaining
Empress 1908 Gin Blueberry Fizz
Want to impress your guests? Serve this Blueberry Fizz gin cocktail! I created this recipe using Empress 1908 Gin, which has a natural gorgeous indigo hue.
Fresh blueberries and edible flowers make this a drink that’s almost too pretty to drink.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 ounces club soda
- 2 ounces Empress 1908 Gin
- Handful of ripe blueberries
- Edible flowers
- Ice cubes
- Muddle the blueberries.
- Add ice cubes.
- Add club soda.
- Add Empress 1908 Gin.
- Shake it up.
- Pour and top with edible flowers.
For a more festive take, use muddled cooked cranberries instead of blueberries.
Chocolate Peppermint Martini
This peppermint martini is easy to make and hits on fave holiday flavors like peppermint, chocolate, vanilla.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 ounces Vanilla vodka
- 1 ounce Peppermint schnapps
- 2 ounces White crème de menthe or Godiva chocolate liqueur
- Crushed candy cane (I crush 2)
- Lemon wedge
Add vodka, schnapps, and liqueur to a shaker and shake it up. Set aside. Crush your candy canes. Rim your cocktail glass with a lemon wedge. Rim glass with crushed candy cane and set aside. Add ice to your cocktail shaker. Shake it up again, strain it into the candy-rimmed martini glass, and enjoy.
Garnish with a candy cane for a pop of color and holiday flavor.
Holiday Punch Bowl
Punch bowls are great for bigger holiday parties, and this recipe is chock-full of seasonal flavors:
- 32 ounces Cranberry juice
- 2 liters Ginger ale
- 2 cups Orange juice
- 24 ounces Sparkling grape juice
- 2 cups Vodka
- Fresh cranberries, orange slices, and lemon wedges
Best of all, this punch is effortless. Just combine all of the ingredients in your punch bowl before guests arrive, and you’re good to go. Don’t skip the sliced oranges and fresh cranberries. They really add to the presentation.
And for your designated drivers and those who don’t drink alcohol, make an extra batch of non-alcoholic punch to ensure all of your guests can enjoy it.
3 Easy Holiday Apps
1. Charcuterie Board
No holiday party is complete without a charcuterie board. They’re perfect for grazing, and they have a little something for everyone. With the right combination of colors, charcuterie boards are gorgeous and the centerpiece of a table.
I love charcuterie boards because there aren’t any rules. I try to have a variety of tastes and textures, but you don’t have to.
For a well-rounded board, try to include:
- Spreads and condiments
- Nuts and chocolate
But, of course, presentation is everything, so choose a beautiful board.
Of course, if you don’t have the time or don’t think you’re up to creating a festive board, you can always call on my gals, Joanna, if you are local to South Florida! They deliver anywhere within a 45-minute radius in any direction… The picture above is one of their delectable holiday charcuterie boards.
2. Blue Cheese and Pear Tartlet
These blue cheese and pear tartlets are savory, slightly sweet, and so good you can’t just have one … or two. Instead, use premade mini phyllo tart shells to save time, and if you’re not a fan of blue cheese, goat cheese is an excellent substitute.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 oz. blue cheese or gorgonzola
- 2 ripe pears – 1 cored, peeled and chopped, and one sliced for the tops on the tartlets
- 2 tbsp. light cream
- 1 package of mini phyllo tart shells
- Black pepper to taste
Pre-bake the shells according to directions. Mix the remaining ingredients (except the sliced pear), and when the shells are completely cooled, spoon the mixture into the shells. Top with the pear slices and bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes. Simple and delicious!
The refrigerated pie crust will work in a pinch if you can’t find mini phyllo tart shells. Also, if you want to get fancy, you can leave the pear stems attached to the peeled pears. And, instead of slicing the pears, you can also chop them up into pieces and top the mixture this way as well.
Instant Pot Tangy Meatballs
Perfect for any holiday party or gathering, these Mini Tangy Meatballs are a true crowd-pleaser!
🎯1 48-ounce ounce bag of frozen fully cooked meatballs, can be beef, chicken, pork, or a combination
🎯18 ounces of your favorite barbecue or chili sauce
🎯18 ounces of your favorite grape jelly
Instant pot directions:
1. Add 1 cup of water to the pressure cooking pot 2. Lock the lid in place, select high pressure, and set the cooking time for five minutes.
3. When the five minutes are up, use the quick press release on the instant pot. When the valve drops (takes about 15 minutes), take off the lid and put the meatballs in a bowl off to the side of the Insta pot 4. Get rid of the cooking water, add your barbecue sauce and grape jelly to the cooking pot, click on the sauté button and stir the mixture frequently. When everything is soft and smooth, your sauce is ready!
5. Add the cooked meatballs and stir to combine.
You can leave these in a warm setting until you are ready to serve them, and they are also perfect to put into the freezer to be used later.
Serve over rice for dinner or with toothpicks or mini forks for appetizers! Yum!!
What’s More Important Than the Drinks & Appetizers?
Whatever you choose to serve, we all know the most important thing is spending time with friends and family. So, wishing you a fabulous holiday season!
These cocktails and appetizers will appeal to most tastes, and you can always adjust for guests who may have special dietary needs. But I love how simple yet delicious they are. But, of course, that means more time to spend with friends and loved ones.
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ROBIN LAMONTEDecember 22, 2021 at 8:00 pm
I love all your holiday cocktails!
I am going to try your blue cheese and pear tartlets for NYE!
Cocktail meatballs are always a crowd pleaser!
Gwen GottliebDecember 26, 2021 at 4:59 pm
Let me know what you think of the tartlets! I love the individualized portion sizes! And yes, those meatballs are such a favorite!
Rosemary DavisDecember 23, 2021 at 4:33 am
So many delicious recipes, Gwen!
I love the idea of the holiday punch bowl! It makes serving a group simple and easy.
Gwen GottliebDecember 26, 2021 at 4:58 pm
It sure does! And easier is what it’s all about, the morning after New Year’s! xo
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