For some holiday sippers that will set the tone this season, Shirlene Elkins offers up some fabulous recipes for some yuletide cheer.
Both recipes can be doubled, tripled or mixed in a pitcher to serve to a crowd. If you don’t have a measuring cup that gives ounces, 2 Tbsp. = 1 oz.
Perfect Peppermint Martini
- 2 Tbsp. marshmallow sundae topping
- 2 peppermint candies, crushed
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. peppermint schnapps
- 2 oz. crème de menthe liqueur
- Coat rim of martini glass with marshmallow topping and dip in a shallow plate with peppermint candies. Artfully drizzle marshmallow on inside of the glass and place in freezer for at least five minutes (can be done in advance).
- In a chilled cocktail shaker with ice, add vodka, schnapps and crème de menthe. Shake for one minute. Remove glass from freezer, pour drink into glass and sprinkle with extra crushed peppermint.
Toasted S’mores Martini
- 2 chocolate-covered graham crackers, crushed
- 2 large marshmallows
- 4 oz. vodka
- 2 oz. dark crème de cacao liqueur
- Line rim of martini glass with water then dip in a plate with graham crackers. Set aside (can be done in advance and placed in freezer). Toast marshmallows on a skewer or twig.
- In a chilled cocktail shaker with ice, combine vodka and crème de cacao. Shake vigorously. Pour into glass and garnish with marshmallow skewer.
THE CHECKLIST: Countdown to Party
The quintessential checklist for any affair:
Months or weeks in advance:
- Come up with a guest list.
- Figure out a floor plan to see how many tables you need.
- Hire a caterer. If preparing food yourself, contact rental companies and talent and staffing agencies to help with serving and entertainment.
- Send festive invitations (“nothing says the spirit better,” Elkins says) and customize a stamp at zazzle.com.
- Decorate house and buy or make centerpieces.
- Purchase bar materials (but don’t set up bar until day of party because you’ll want it in a prominent location). “Order personalized paper cocktail napkins or try the new tear-off linen napkin rolls for an extra-special touch,” Elkins says.
At least one week before:
- Call and confirm caterer, rental deliveries, staffing and live entertainment.
- Type out a list with important information that caterer or people hired to help at the party should know.
- Polish silverware.
- Move regular furniture to clear out space for party furniture.
Week of party:
- Review guest list.
- Have rentals delivered and arrange all party décor.
- If having a sit-down dinner, set table and put out place cards.
- Prepare food or stock fridge with essentials for caterer (chive, basil, cream, butter and ice).
Day of party:
- Empty dishwasher.
- Pick up fresh flowers, if using them.
- Set-up bar.
- Edit list for caterer and staff; print a copy and review it with them on arrival.
- Have a glass of wine or cocktail—and enjoy