Friday, December 10, 2010

Hostess with the Mostess

Photograph: Martha Holmes; LIFE Photo Archive
With the holidays upon us it seems a perfect time to blog about that bygone get together known as the cocktail party. Lately I've come across many articles and internet sites that offer up classic cocktail party fare, such as pigs in a blanket, shrimp cocktail, canapes, deviled eggs, and coconut shrimp, to name a few.  What I love about the cocktail party is the idea of converging in someone's home, mingling, enjoying a few cocktails, some hors d'oeuvres and basically getting treated to a night out without really going any where. People dressed up, they made an effort to be a great hostess and host and they opened up their homes to friends, family, and even work associates in order to celebrate the season.

I'm thinking the following would help any hostess with the mostess in perfecting their holiday cocktail party.  For example these handy dandy crib sheets for making cocktail party conversation will help you get the conversation started with a short list of literary and historical anecdotes: Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets from

Also, here are some classic cocktail recipes to get the party started:
Old Fashioned
1 Sugar cube
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 tablespoon Club Soda
1 oz. Bourbon
1 Lemon Peel
How to: Muddle sugar cube, bitters, and club soda in a rocks glass.  Stir in the bourbon and the ice.  Garnish with the lemon peel.

1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
1 oz. Campari
How to: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

2 oz. Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Maraschino Cherry
How to: Swirl all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry.

For a good 'ole Martini, see my previous post here.

Finally, some helpful articles and sites that list classic cocktail hors d'oeuvres:
Cocktail Party Invitation from

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