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what's a winning Appetizer and drink combination?

I was invited to a cocktail party where the concept is that everyone brings an appetizer and drink. there will be about 20 couples and the best combinations wins a prize! this being said, i really want to win and would love if you guys have any ideas! So, what's your favorite pairing that you've tried, or make at home?

some general things to keep in mind:
- appetizer should be able to travel at least 1 hr in the car, so perhaps room-temp to cold when served
- need to have about 40 mini servings (i'm not on a very tight budget but i can't afford cavier for 40 people!)
- can be paired with any alcoholic beverage (beer, wine, spirit) or cocktail (sangria, mojito etc)
- i suppose store bought apps are ok....if you're thinking this, i live in Canada. :)

also any websites you know about how to pair food with drinks would be helpful as well. thanks everyone for your help!!!

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  1. Lately, I'm all about the jalepeno.

    Stuffed halved jalepenos filled with cream cheese/shredded mix of cheddar and monterey and spices like Penzy's Arizona or chilli powder, salt and garlic. Top with panko and bake til light browned.

    Serve with Jalepeno and Basil Martinis:
    Muddle a jalepeno slice or two (canned works well) with a couple basil leaves, add a TBL. of lime juice and re-muddle. Add a TBL. of sugar syrup (I just shake in some Splenda to taste) and 1/4 C.fresh-squeezed lime juice, vodka and ice. Shake and serve.

    20 couples? You'll need a lot of limes for this.

    Good luck.

    3 Replies
    1. re: natewrites

      Figs wrapped with some prosciutto with a slice or wedge of smoked Gouda tucked in. For the drink Prosecco or this drink which has become our favorite.

      http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/1990s/...

      1. re: natewrites

        how spicy is this? i love spice but am not sure about the 20 other couples. great suggestion!

        1. re: Harters

          I'm not sure that an appetizer that requires a bowl and curlery can be a winner at a cocktail party.

          What will you do with your cocktail while you are trying to eat soup?

            1. re: gourmanda

              I've served gazpacho in cucumber "shot glasses" before. Used Japanese or Persian cucumbers, cut them about 1-1/2" long then hollowed them out to form a cup. Guests liked that they could eat the whole thing.

              1. re: AntarcticWidow

                this is so creative!! sounds like a lot of work hollowing our the cucumbers.

                what kind of cocktail would you serve with this?

              2. re: gourmanda

                Exactly. Shot glasses or tiny coffee cups - much as you'd get a soup as a restaurant amuse bouche.

              3. re: Harters

                I really like the gazpacho idea, but I think I'd go ahead and make that the cocktail. We do this occasionally, and it's delicious. Strain the pureed gazpacho (no bread for thickening in this case, and I omit any olive oil as well) to get out the pulpy bits, spike with vodka, and garnish with a pick of, say cherry tomato and cucumber and maybe some sweet onion or a cocktail onion. Some combination of Serrano ham, manchego cheese and bread fits very well for the appetizer half of the combo.

                1. re: cayjohan

                  mmmmm this sounds like a Caesar. i was toying with the idea of serving a tomatoe based cocktail, but couldn't decide on an app that would compliment it. for some reason my head kept on going back to the idea of a grilled cheese. Oh childhood memories.

                  1. re: chalenegirl

                    If you can manage a grilled cheese type appetizer within the time/kitchen constraints, I'd say go for it. It's a great combination with the gazpacho cocktail. Tough for forty people, but delicious.

                    1. re: chalenegirl

                      along the lines of cayjohan's app suggestion: cut a bocconcini ball in half (or similar size chunk of manchego, or chunk of other fresh mozz if bocconcini isn't available), wrap in a basil leaf, then wrap that in proscuitto (or serrano), and spear the whole thing on a toothpick. They travel pretty well and are great at room temp. For travel, you might put paper towels between layers to minimize weeping, and don't stack them more than 2-3 deep or they'll mush the ones below.

                      1. re: sweethooch

                        sweetH - this sounds really good. i'm going to try this with fresh basil from my garden. thank you!

                2. How about truffled cauliflower soup topped with a seard bay scallop served in a shooter glass paired with a chilled sancerre? I have made the below recipe and it is delicious. (i did skip the caviar).
                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/mem...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ctfoodie

                    great recipe. thanks for the link. can i ask though why you would pair it with a sancerre? what qualities of the sancerre make it the ideal choice? also is the choice of sancerre based o the texture of the dish, over dish, or a particular flavor (cauliflower or scallop)? Thanks in advance!

                    1. re: CDouglas

                      I was going to suggest deviled eggs - they are VERY budget friendly and so delicious! I found a recipe recently for blue cheese and bacon deviled eggs that sounded AMAZING, or there's this one with steak from CHOW: http://www.chow.com/recipes/26660-hor...

                      Either way, a spicy bloody mary would be a nice compliment. I also love eggs with champagne, so you could either go with straight bubbles or create a champagne cocktail...

                      1. re: CDouglas

                        Yes to CDoug and Biondanonima! Also have enjoyed deviled eggs with both very cold riesling and alternately Gin and (Diet) Tonic Water. Also works with ice cold sparkling water with lime.

                        1. re: pinehurst

                          Another nice deviled egg variation is to add wasabi to the usual recipe. Pair 'em with iced sake, mebbe.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            I like the sound of that. Next time for sure.

                          2. re: pinehurst

                            these are great ideas! i'm going to make a few testers right now and try them out. are those your favorite recipes for deviled eggs?

                            1. re: chalenegirl

                              My other current favorite is Crab-Stuffed Deviled Eggs: http://www.runningwithtweezers.com/da...
                              I substitute 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning for the cayenne and use fresh picked blue crab meat.

                              These go great with the Bloody Marys as well.

                          3. re: CDouglas

                            You can even use quail eggs - which make the cutest little bite sized deviled eggs!!! Not sure if this answer is too late

                            1. re: rakeypakey

                              oh my gosh. that is such a cute idea! hmm....i'm going to have to go on a search for quail eggs now.
                              Nope not too late, the party is in a couple of weeks so my kitchen will be a tester station for the next 2 weeks. if you come up with anything else. please share. i'd really appreciate i!

                              1. re: rakeypakey

                                pink pickled deviled quail eggs! http://www.chow.com/recipes/30256-pic... (don't use vacuum-packed pre-roasted beets, or the pink is muddy) The pickling really is great with a deviled egg..

                              2. re: CDouglas

                                That was exactly my first thought! I would poke a hole through a slim jim with a bamboo skewer and stick it in the bloody mary to use as a straw.

                              3. I once had a dinner at a restaurant that does seven courses with cocktail pairings. The amuse course was a simple homemade spiked lemonade served with a salty, dried ham slice. Maybe it was proscuitto? If you could get the dried ham conquered in your oven, it would be simple enough to wow people. FYI: They made the lemonade sweeter than normal, so when you nibbled and sipped, it all balanced out.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: katecm

                                  great suggestion. this is easy enough to try a couple of testers out at home. thanks! if you think of any other great ideas please post! TIA