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Nov 25, 2007 04:43 PM

Holiday Cocktail Party

Hey everone,

We are having a gathering to kick of the holiday season Dec. 1 (this Sat). It seems like we will be about 25 ppl. and we would like to provide food that is substanial enough to replace dinner. I would love advice on everything from menue ideas to recipes to setting up etc. We just made this descion 5 min. ago (can you tell im excited!) so i have not been able to think to much yet. I will post again once I give some more thought on what my ideas are this far. I know for sure that everyone always loves pigs in a blanket (and they are hartey) and I also want to have an eggnogg cocktail. Im also thinking a baked brie with dried cranberries and brown suger. Oh maybe a roast of some sort sliced on a platter with bread and fixins. Okay this is a train of thought here.... Thanks for all your help!


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  1. A sliced ham with small rolls or mini biscuits along with different mustards is fun. Lots of people suggest it on here, and I always find myself nodding in agreement.

    I've done cocktail parties before, and they're usually pretty casual, but I make a kind of hobby out of searching for cocktail party recipes. Dips are fun. I usually like doing one that goes with something bready and one that goes better with veggies or fruit. There are lots of good recipes out there for hot olives, which are really nice. Also, the holidays require spiced nuts. The sweet spicy combinations are my favorite. They'd also be real easy to fire off one night this week and then keep until party time.

    And don't forget cookies!

    1. Melon Wrapped in Prosciutto
      Crostini topped with cubes of roasted butternut squash, sage, and jarlsberg
      Caramelized figs w/ blue cheese
      Endive leaves stuffed with herbed cheese and pimento
      Grilled cheese "petit-fours" w/ various bread and cheese combos
      Rice krispy cakes (I'm on a kick lately, especially the ones from TJ'S!!!)

      2 Replies
      1. re: Emme

        Thank you so much for all your great suggestions!! I have never done a ham before.... What is the cut that I would buy called? I like that idea alot! I also love the grilled cheese idea!

        1. re: gastronomy

          If you are able to get a ham, I notice in your bio that you're an Ina fan, and I use her mango chutney glaze all the time. It's not only delicious, but easy (blend garlic, mango chutney, Dijon, brown sugar, orange zest and orange juice). It's on page 119 of "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook".

      2. Second the ham and mini biscuits. Festive, easy, and yummy.
        If you want to do a step up from pigs in blanket, do chicks in a blanket--chicken sausages in squares of puff pastry.
        TJ's little mushroom-cheese pastry apps are good.
        Spiced nuts or marcona almonds--scatter a few bowls around the room.
        Cookies or brownies or those little two-bite mini pecan tarts from WF. Put sweets out later, not at the beginning.
        Have plenty of sparkling water on hand in addition to drinks. Try to set up the drinks on the other side of the room away from the food, if you can, so people move around the room. Make sure you have wastebaskets near the food table and the drinks table to keep people out of the kitchen.

        1. If you want to serve something ooh la la, that looks really gourmet and fancy, and isn't hard to make, try a stuffed turkey breast roll (maybe 2 for the amount of people you are having). You can ask your butcher to bone and flatten the breast for you if you don't want to tackle it. There are quite a few suggestions for the stuffing, you can use a bread dressing and serve it hot with cranberry sauce, you can use a spinach pesto dressing and serve it room temperature with a mustard-mayo-red pepper sauce. The only difficult part is tying up the turkey breast, much easier if you have a 2nd person available to assist you.

          For Thanksgiving, I made gravlax, which is prepared with a side of salmon (you can do two). The Barefoot Contessa, Jacques Pepin and Julia Child all have easy recipes. The biggest detail here is timing, as it needs to sit in the fridge for a few days and marinate in seasoning. This is a very elegant dish served with marinated cucumber slices or capers.

          There are also hot hot d'oevres like pastry wrapped olives or homemade cheese straws, but you need to use the oven. Let me know if you need recipes.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Diane in Bexley

            I will be using the oven so please bring on the recipes! I have made Ina Gartens Cheese straws and am always pleased.... I have problems finding sides of salmon or turkey breast where I live.... Its to bad because the gravalax sounds so fantastic!
            Anyone have a good eggnog cocktail?

            1. re: gastronomy

              OKay so I have had a chance to think a little and for sure I would like to prepare the following:
              Different kinds of spiced nuts
              Baked brie in puff pastry with cranberries
              pigs in a blanket
              olives (would love recipes on hot olives)
              different stuffed pastrys (still thinking of stuffing combos)
              artichoke dip
              mini focaccia with different toppings
              if i make my pepper jelly I will put with cream cheese
              i love the ham idea but dont know what to buy
              Assorted homemade cookies, brownies etc.

              Shrimp cocktail
              chicken something

              What do you all think?

              1. re: gastronomy

                For the ham you would want to get a good spiral sliced ham. It makes it easy to pull off small pieces with a fork.

                You could marinate chunks of chicken breast in a teriyaki sauce, pan fry and serve with toothpicks. And I saw, as I was perusing my Deep fried turkey cookbook, a recipe for bacon wrapped garlic stuffed olives, that you deep fry. Sounds good to me!

          2. This is one of my favorite appetizers EVER. I make a chutney with sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, golden raisins, roasted red pepper, and optionally, currants. Serve this chutney with cambozola cheese, roasted garlic and toasted crostini. It's a wicked combination of flavors.