Capturing the Holiday Spirits
Do you long for holidays past when the simple joy of connecting with friends was the highlight of the season? You can recapture that magic by inviting your cherished friends to an intimate cocktail party. We’ve consulted our experts in party planning, and they’ve come up with a mix of dazzling cocktails and hors d’oeuvres that will create an evening to remember. Dim the lights, stoke the fire, and let the party begin.
As your guests arrive, greet them at the door with an aperitif - something light and bubbly, fun and festive. We’ve chosen one of Italy’s most iconic cocktails, an Aperol Spritz. This refreshing mix of sparkling wine, sliced orange and Aperol, a liqueur with both sweet and bitter notes, is guaranteed to get the party started.
“And it’s a favorite with the ladies,” says Ivars Spons, owner of Sovereignty Wines.
To accompany the taste of bubbly, offer prosciutto, mozzarella and melon on skewers and your guests will be transported to a piazza on the Italian Riviera.
As your guests mingle throughout the evening, choose one of the following signature drinks to serve with accompanying hors d’oeuvres.
If your partygoers enjoy martinis, delight them with our Holiday Cosmos. Prior to the party, infuse your vodka with berries and an orange peel. When you’re ready to serve your cocktails, simply add a splash of cranberry juice and lime.
“What’s great about infusions,” says Luis Rodriguez, Beverage Manager at The Famous, “is that you never have to mix a drink, so anybody can be their own bartender.”
And, since you’ve already infused your vodka with orange peel, you can eliminate the need for Triple Sec, thus offering guests a lighter calorie cocktail without sacrificing the flavor.
A delightful accompaniment to your Holiday Cosmo would be a tangy Goat Cheese Crostini with cranberry cassis relish.
If you’d prefer a “serve yourself” beverage that’s a cinch to prepare, we recommend a Blood Orange Punch - a bright, flavorful mixture of blood orange juice, sparkling orange soda and your choice of gin or vodka. If you wish, simply eliminate the spirits for a refreshing non-alcoholic version that both children and adults will love.
The richness of sea scallops, seared and served with a spicy orange jalapeño marmalade, would complement the sweetness of your Blood Orange Punch.
On a snowy Colorado evening, the perfect finale for your holiday gathering would be an Aspen Snow. A mixture of Spring44 Vodka, made from artesian springs in Loveland Colorado, coffee liqueur, cream and cinnamon, this showy drink will pair beautifully with your pièce de résistance, a flaming Pot de Crème.
As you say farewell to your guests, give them a festively-wrapped snowflake ornament. A small gift to cherish from an evening to remember.
3 parts Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1-4 parts club soda, to taste
• Pour Prosecco into a large wine glass with ice. Add Aperol then finish with club soda to taste. Stir gently and top with an orange slice.
3 parts infused citron vodka*
Add 1 to 2 oz. cranberry juice, and half a lime squeeze
For extra flair, top with 1 or 2 oz. of Champagne or Prosecco for a Champagne/Prosecco Float.
• To infuse spices into your vodka:
• Add peel from one orange and 25-30 berries of your choice to a 1-liter bottle of citron vodka. Let sit for 5-7 days. Leave fruit in the bottle for the party. But if you’re not using it all that evening, strain out the fruit. Just before serving, add mixers.
• Decorating Tip: serve with a crushed candy cane rim.
Luis Rodriguez, Beverage Manager, The Famous
BLOOD ORANGE PUNCH
2, 20 oz. bottles of blood orange juice
4 cans San Pellegrino Blood Orange Sparkling Beverage
Squeeze of 2 limes
1 to 2 cups of your preference of spirits - vodka, or gin
• May leave spirits out for a non-alcoholic punch.
• Mix and place in a punch bowl. Garnish with the tops of basil leaf stems and blackberries to resemble mistletoe.
• For a flavored ice block, freeze a portion of your juice with sliced oranges in a decoratively-shaped ice mold. Remove from mold and add to your punch. Keep extra spirits on hand to add to the punch as the juice will dilute the mix as it melts.
• Decorating Tip: Serve with brûléed blood orange wheels and coat rims with Demerara-sugar (also known as Turbinado sugar).
Luis Rodriguez, Beverage Manager, The Famous
1 oz. Spring44Vodka
1 oz. coffee liqueur
1 oz. cream
Pinch of cinnamon
• Place all ingredients (except cinnamon) in a mixing glass with ice. Shake and then strain over new ice into a rocks glass or serve straight up.
• Decorating Tip: Set a snowflake stencil on top of the drink and dust with a mixture of confectioners sugar and cinnamon.
Hors d’oeuvres, garnishes and decorating tips graciously provided by Barry and Becky Dunlap, Summit Catering, Colorado Springs.
Ice molds and snowflake stencils available at Sparrow Hawk Gourmet Cookware, Colorado Springs.