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Entries Tagged as 'cocktails'

Hostess Tips for Holiday Party Planning!

November 17th, 2014 · 2 Comments

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The holidays are a wonderful time to catch up with family and friends, and one of the best ways to get into the spirit of the season is to throw a holiday party!  Even if you don’t host friends regularly year-round, everyone’s inner host or hostess comes out as the holidays roll around.  But the trick for entertaining with a smile is to keep things festive but still relaxed — so I’ve pulled together a few of my favorite tips for holiday hostessing!

Set the Tone with a Festive Theme

Holiday parties come in all shapes and sizes: from a fancy catered office party to having a few girls over at home.  If cocktail parties are your thing, go right ahead, but also consider some outside-the-box that your friends will enjoy: anything from a cookie-decorating party, a tree-trimming bash, or a girls night in with your favorite holiday movies. 

Think Beyond Saturday Night

Inevitably, everyone wants to throw their holiday party on the same Saturday night: before everyone goes out of town, but after everyone gets into the feel of the season.  Unfortunately, that means that people get booked for those prime holiday weekends way in advance, and your guests will likely be party-hopping all night.  My solution?  Pick an “off” night — a Thursday or Friday evening or even a Sunday afternoon — to avoid fighting for prime holiday hours and ensure all your friends can be in attendance!

Serve a Signature Beverage

Sure, you can serve wine and beer and call it day… but this is a holiday party, so why not try something a little more creative?  One way to enjoy festive drinks (but not turn yourself into a one-woman bartender all night) is to pick one signature beverage and do the prep work ahead of time.  If you’re serving, say, mulled cider with cinnamon sticks and a splash of Kahlúa (and now that I’ve mentioned it, gosh, doesn’t that sound like the perfect thing to serve?), you can prep it a day in advance and then just warm it up before your guests arrive. 

Get a Helping Hand

And on that note: if you’re having more than, say, twenty people, consider getting a little help.  A helping hand can go a long way, whether it’s some prepared food that you pick up before the party, a bartender to make sure everyone’s glass is full throughout the night, or hiring a cleaning service to swing by the next morning. 

When the Doorbell Rings, Enjoy Your Own Party!

It’s tempting to be the perfect hostess who stays up all night whipping up canapes from scratch, and some of us really enjoy spending time and energy on homemade treats.  But, you know what?  Your guests might oooh and aaah over those fancy dishes you spent hours on, but at the end of the day, what they really want is time with you.  Not the exhausted, up-all-night, can’t-leave-the-table-unattended-for-ten-seconds you, but the you who’s ready to catch up, to ask them how work is going, and to sip a cocktail with a smile.  Sure, parties take work, but they should be fun, too.  Don’t be too busy throwing your holiday party to enjoy it.

You know my favorite part of every party?  When there are a few friends left, at the very end of the night.  When you’re done answering the door and refilling people’s drinks, and you can just sit down, relax and just talk.  And you know what?  That’s the best time for one last drink, that you can sip slowly and linger with over good conversation.  So for that moment, when it’s just a few of your good friends left, when you want to keep the party going a little while longer, I give you: the Midnight Kiss.

The Midnight Kiss

INGREDIENTS

4 parts hot coffee
1 part Kahlúa
1 part vanilla vodka
1 part skim milk
Whipped cream
Chocolate Sprinkles

DIRECTIONS

Stir together the Kahlúa, coffee, vodka, and milk and pour into teacups.  Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles, and serve.

The best cocktails are sipped responsibly.  When you’re hosting holiday parties and all year round, don’t overindulge and never drink and drive!

Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Tags: cocktails · holiday

Classic Cocktails, Remixed: The Pumpkin Parachute

November 8th, 2014 · No Comments

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Everyone loves a classic rum and cola, but do you know what spices things up a little?

Kahlúa and Cola. 

And do you want to know what spices things up a little further?

Pumpkin Spice Kahlúa and Cola.

I know.  It just keeps getting better and better and better.  This cocktail is a little sweet and a little spicy, the perfect drink to mix up when you want to curl up by the fire with your family or friends.  But it’s also a little bit of a novelty, the kind of drink that’s a little bit exciting. 

When you’re entertaining for the holidays, it’s always extra fun to add a seasonal twist to the food and drinks you’re serving.  I’m a sucker for recipes that include peppermint, gingerbread and pumpkin at this time of the year, and any time you can update a classic to make it a little bit seasonal, it’s extra special.  There are so many options for delicious seasonal drinks in the fall: try mulled cider with a splash of Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice, or hot chocolate with a little bit of Kahlúa Peppermint Mocha for a deliciously indulgent treat.

And this recipe?  It takes a classic and makes it even better, a little richer and spicier and more fun.  I named it the Pumpkin Parachute to capture some of that seasonal and exciting spirit, and I can’t wait for you to give it a try!

And when you’re decorating for the holidays, don’t stop at just the typical pumpkin-on-the-doorstep!  Incorporate festive gourds and mini-pumpkins into your table décor, and use holiday ornaments to create festive place settings! 

Finally, I love to stock up on mini poppers for special holiday dinners: they’re a great conversation starter at the beginning of the meal!  Serve your favorite seasonal cocktail, a few small finger foods, and your guests will be in the holiday spirit in no time.

Want more delicious fall cocktails?  Be sure to check out KahulaHoliday.com, or follow Kahlúa on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Pumpkin Parachute

INGREDIENTS
2 parts Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice
3 parts cola
Ice

DIRECTIONS
Pour Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice in a highball glass filled with ice. Top with cola. Stir and enjoy.

The best cocktails are sipped responsibly.  Don’t overindulge and never drink and drive!

Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Tags: cocktails · sponsored

Classic Cocktail Spotlight: the White Russian

October 24th, 2014 · 1 Comment

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I’m a bit of a cocktail purist.  Sure, I love new flavors and variations on the classics, but sometimes, when you really love a drink, you just want that drink.  No bells or whistles.  Just that pure, delicious flavor. 

And that’s especially true with classic cocktails.  Most classic cocktail recipes are easy to make and only a few ingredients, and they’re so deliciously satisfying when you get them right. 

Take this drink: the White Russian.  It’s three ingredients, and it tastes sort of like a boozy milkshake (as in: delicious).  Lots of lists call the White Russian one of the Top 10 cocktails of all time, and for me, it’s the absolute top. 

So, if you’re a purist like me, just mix up a glass, pour it over ice, and enjoy.

And if you want to spice things up (particularly if you’re think about including this drink in a holiday party lineup!), there are so many fun ways to update this classic cocktail for the holiday season.  Garnishes like crushed peppermint, fresh cinnamon sticks and shaved white chocolate will take this classic to the next level, and are beautiful to serve.  Or, if you want a particularly foodie-oriented variation, use a dried star anise or a split vanilla bean for a particularly beautiful finishing touch.  You could even host a make-your-own White Russian bar with Kahlúa, vodka, cream, and garnishes, and let your friends create their own!

Finally, once you’ve tried the classic, think about incorporating seasonal flavors to vary things up — the White Russian is just as delicious with the Kahlúa seasonal flavors, like Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice or Kahlúa Peppermint Mocha. For more ideas for holiday entertaining, visit KahulaHoliday.com, or follow Kahlúa on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Kahlúa White Russian

INGREDIENTS
1 part Kahlúa
2 parts Absolut Vodka
1 part Heavy Cream

DIRECTIONS
Fill a rocks glass with ice.  Swirl together the vodka, Kahlúa and cream, and pour over ice.  Sit back, sip responsibly, and enjoy! 

Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Tags: cocktails · sponsored