Last week I had a neighborhood party and this week I am getting ready for another party of friends and work colleagues. We always give a party the Sunday before Christmas. This is our 18th annual soiree. Here are some things I've learned over the years.
Offer a signature drink, eliminating the need for full bar offerings. Provide beer, wine, non-alcohol beverages as well.
8 cups vodka
5 cups cranberry juice
1 1/4 cups lime juice
7 tablespoons super fine sugar
Roasted potatoes topped with sour cream and bacon, cheddar or green onion
A bed of coarse salt stabilizes wobbly appetizers
Everyone loves deviled eggs. I just started offering deviled eggs at parties lately, I always thought they were too "pedestrian", but they are gobbled up. Eggs are very versatile. Incorporate flavor variations in the yolk mixture or the toppings.
Sliced pork or beef tenderloin open faced sandwiches are easy for guests to pick up and eat with one hand. For a fun topping, whip cream and add a flavoring such as chipotle chilies in adobo for the pork or horseradish for beef.
- Don't worry about cleaning the house. Just make sure clutter is gone, serving surfaces are gleaming and the powder room is guest ready. Then just dim the lights and light lots of candles. The time to wash floors is after the party.
- Buy red paper cocktail napkins in bulk. Red works for almost every holiday and event. You'll be sure to always have them on hand.
- If you entertain frequently, invest in glassware by the case. Shop restaurant supply and Ikea.
- Likewise, small glass plates
- Keep appetizers bite size and eat from hand so no forks are necessary.
- Create a musical playlist to have ready as soon as the doorbell rings.
- Plan what you will wear ahead of time so you don't waste precious last minutes trying on everything in your closet...and be dressed and ready an hour before the party starts so you can have a drink and calm down
- Remove chairs from dining room so people can circulate and mingle.
- Provide a place for coats, either on a bed or a portable coat rack.
- Don't take yourself too seriously. Have fun with table decor and menu
- The party is over when you run out of ice