The holidays are the most beautiful time of year. I think we all can agree that the schedule is on overload and time is precious, am I right? If you want to throw a party for colleagues, friends, or family but have limited time, I have a great alternative….
Throw a holiday cocktail party! I found that it’s all of the festive-fun and none of the stress.
In all my years of hosting, my parties have been dinner/food focused. This year, I wanted to try out an approach that offered up drinks as the highlight. The party was such a success. Hours in, we decided to order food from one of my favorite restaurants a few blocks away and had an impromptu takeout dinner party. Totally meant it when I said “none of the stress” : ) .
Since my place was so cozy and warm with all my new holiday pieces from Crate & Barrel, everyone wanted to extend the evening by the fire and under candlelight.
As the host I could not have been happier. It was definitely a night to remember.
All you need to get started is Crate & Barrel and your living room, coffee table and bar. Over on the C&B blog, I’ve provided the simple steps I took to plan the cocktail party. Make sure to check it out here! Below you’ll find the drink recipes.
Holiday Spiced Mulled Wine with Infused Rum
Yield about 2 liters OR 8, 8 oz servings
Think warm, cozy and all things holiday. A cup of this mulled wine by the fire will surely help you settle into the beauty in the season.
- 1, 1.5 liter (2, 750-ml) bottles Merlot
- 3 cups fresh apple cider
- 2 pears, one halved, the other quartered
- 1 orange, rinsed and peeled (minimal white on peel)
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon juniper berries
- 2 cinnamon sticks plus 8 for garnish (garnish optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon whole pink peppercorns
- 2 green cardamom pods, in shell
- 2 cups infused rum (see recipe)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 bottle (750 ml) (unspiced) aged rum
- 2 tablespoons allspice berries
- 1 tablespoon cloves, whole
- 6 cardamom pods, in shell
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Combine rum and spices in a glass jar. Cover jar tightly; shake lightly once or twice. Set in cool dark place and infuse for 1 day.
- Strain mixture through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bottle; discard spices. Will keep indefinitely if sealed tightly and stored in a dark, dry place.
- Over medium heat, add merlot, cider, orange peels and spices in a large dutch oven. Bring mixture almost to simmer.
- While liquid is warming, rinse and halve pears. Remove visible seeds but retain stem (for presentation). Add to liquid as you go.
- When wine reaches a “near simmer”, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer lightly for 10 minutes to infuse spices further.
- Add sugar. Stir.
- Just before serving, add rum. Stir and garnish in mug with cinnamon stick.