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Caribbean Christmas Cocktail Party, Ideas?

I am enthralled with the idea of a caribbean christmas cocktail party. Can't you hear the reggae christmas songs now???

I am looking for menu ideas/drink ideas

I was thinking a Shrimp marinade or ceviche
Maybe a jerk slow cooker dish with rolls (this would be more substantial)

I know I am involving Malibu Rum somehow.

I will need make ahead appetizers so anyone have ideas?

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  1. I'm grossed out by flavored rums, so my cocktail suggestion might not be the one for you
    Punch Coco is the French Caribbean answer to egg nog. White rhum agricole, coconut milk (or is it coco creme?) and cane sugar syrup. Serve over crushed ice -- it's a knock out.
    You can google the particulars.

    1. We've made two different Caribbean cocktails: Coquito (from Puerto Rico) and Ponche de Crema (from Trinidad). Both are yummy. Here's the basics that we do:
      COQUITO: 2 egg yolks, 1 12-oz can evaporated milk, 1 14-oz can cream of coconut, 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk, 1 1/2 c white rum, 1/2 c water, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla -- in a double boiler combine egg yolks and evaporated milk and heat slowly until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; transfer to a blender and add all other ingredients; pour into a glass bottle and chill overnight.
      PONCHE DE CREMA: 6 eggs, 4 c whole milk, 1 c sugar, 3 c white rum, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp Angostura bitters, lime zest for garnish, freshly grated nutmeg for garnish -- in saucepan over very low heat cook milk for about 7 minutes, stirring; add eggs & sugar and keep cooking, stirring constantly and don't let it boil; remove from heat and let cool; stir in rum, vanilla and bitters; refrigerate until ready to serve; pour into glasses and garnish with lime zest and grated nutmeg.

      Have a great party!

      1. What about tostones? Though I've not tried to make them ahead. They'd be delicious with some kind of roe, as well.

        1. I am from the Dominican Republic and we always have:
          beef filled empanadas
          pasteles (like Mexican tamales but made with plantains and wrapped in plantain leaves)
          quipes (football shaped croquettes made with ground beef and bulgur wheat)
          always a roast pork

          We also drink a version of coquito.
          There is a great website devoted to Domincan Cooking that has lots of great recipes
          Happy cooking!

          7 Replies
          1. re: HungryRubia

            Thanks for that link! My husband is Dominican and wants me to cook a Dominican Christmas dinner for us when we go to North Carolina to visit my mother - I've never may empanadas, but this may be the year to give it a try. I'm still working on how to get lechon for him.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Goya has premade empanada disks in the frozen food section if you don't want to make the dough from scratch.
              I also make a guava and cream cheese version that everyone raves over.

              1. re: HungryRubia

                Good to know about those disks. I'm not a fan of guava or cream cheese, unfortunately ... I have to find out the filling that my MIL uses - it has raisins in it. Also does a good chicken one. Though, actually, I'm thinking of pastelitos.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  The filling is essentially a good PICADILLO recipe (I use/doctor up the recipe from a book called a TASTE OF CUBA, and yes, raisins are a MUST). And I've made baked empanadas using the premade disks. They were good baked, but would have been better fried. If you want to bake the empanada using a premade dough, just get pillsbury dough and cut the disk shape yourself.

                  1. re: Ora

                    You can buy really good premade empanada dough in Queens
                    although someone else is going to have to tell you where exactly . . .

                    The ones I had were then home-filled with ground beef, green olives and onions, def. picadillo-ish. Cook was Argentine.

                  2. re: MMRuth

                    Actually we call them pastelitos as well but most Americans know them as empanadas so sometimes I alter the term so they know what I am talking about.
                    I agree with Ora about the Pillsbury dough being better for baking..if you fry the Pillsbury dough it will fall apart.

              2. re: HungryRubia

                I like the idea of the Goya disks with different kind of empanadas, beef is good. What about others, can anyone direct me?

              3. Jamaican beef patties
                Ham and cheese croquetas
                Mini Cuban sandwiches
                Pernil tea sandwiches
                Jerk chicken/pork skewers (which should be roasted, not made in the slow-cooker)
                Mango salsa
                Yellow rice cakes with ropa vieja, chicken or black beans
                For a drink, you might try coquito: a sort of coconut rum eggnog.

                1. rum & liquor punches like planter's punch & hurricanes are fun but super strong, you want to have some weaker mixed cocktails too.

                  i love this caribbean cookbook by jessica b. harris

                  and i think it would be great to have a big ol' pot of callaloo somewhere, but might not fit in with a small-bites cocktail party.

                  1. All great ideas so far. Here's a few more.
                    Cocktail size jamaican patties (if you are in Metro NYC, these can be purchased frozen at a patty shop and baked later).
                    Coconut Bread/Coconut Tarts etc
                    Codfish/Conch fritters
                    Curried chicken, shrimp or beef
                    fried plantains
                    Rice & peas
                    stewed chicken or beef
                    jerk chicken wings/fish fingers
                    fried fish using caribbean spices
                    johnnie cakes or bakes
                    Non-alcoholic Drinks: ginger beer, sorrell, mauby, sour sop
                    Alcoholic: pina coladas, daiquiris & combos (like Miami Vice, Kiss on the Lips etc), rum & juice combos (like Caribbean Breeze, sex on the beach, mojitos).

                    Too many ideas to list really--look at the Culinaria Caribbean cookbook if you can find it at a library (its out of print).

                    1. I would make the Coconut Tres Leches Cake from the Chowhound Recipes section. I've made it several times & everyone raves.

                      1. Great idea -- I absolutely love food from the Caribbean.

                        I think Jerk Chicken skewers are a great idea, and so is ceviche. Conch fritters?

                        How about baking or frying some coconut shrimp. Mix some flour, beer, cream of coconut and coconut cream and dip the shrimp in that batter and then fry or bake them. Serve them with a dipping sauce, maybe with hot pepper or a banana "ketchup."

                        You could serve individual spoons or shot glasses filled with a tropical gazpacho or a Caribbean-spiced pumpkin soup.

                        For dessert, maybe a rum cake . . . I've always been a fan of the Tortuga brand and that might be a nice one to re-create.

                        You could also do a banana bread pudding for dessert. Saute some bananas, butter, rum and brown sugar, mix with brioche and milk/eggs and top with a thickened rum sauce.

                        As for drinks, every year I host a bbq where I make a version of rum punch that is always a hit. I make enough for about 50 people, so I couldn't tell you exact measurements. I merely mix to taste using dark and/or spiced rum, orange and grapefruit juices, passion fruit syrup or juice, sometimes an addition of a mixed tropical fruit juice, grenadine, and then just before serving, I sprinkle with nutmeg. I love it.

                          1. When I entertained while I lived in Turks & Caicos, my chilled spiny lobster tail medallions with a curry/mayonnaise/lime sauce was always the first to disappear.