A Christmas Cocktail Idea

Santa’s Little Helper
Christmas Cocktail

Christmas cocktail

It’s the holiday season, time to take a break and celebrate with friends and family. Last night I went to a fun Christmas party and discovered this festive Christmas cocktail, aptly named a Santa’s Little Helper. Totally yummy! This recipe comes courtesy of Ronny, the amazing bartender at the Multnomah Club in Portland, Oregon. Enjoy!

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How to make a Santa’s Little Helper

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Stoli Vanilla Vodka
  • .5 oz. Chocolate Liqueur
  • .5 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
  • Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • 1 Small Candy Cane
  • Crushed Candy Canes (for sugar rim)

Directions:

1. This drink is served in a martini glass. To start, crush some candy canes and place the small pieces on a small plate. Wet the rim of your glass and spin it in the crushed candy to form a holiday themed sugar rim.

2. Next, drizzle Hershey’s syrup in the shape of a star in the bottom and up the sides of the glass.

3. Mix vodka, chocolate liqueur, schnapps, and bitters with ice in a cocktail shaker to mix and chill your drink. Pour into your glass.

4. Add a finishing touch by hanging a small candy cane off the side of your glass for an extra treat!

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Gift Wrapping Party

wrapping party

Have you been busy holiday shopping only to find yourself now staring at a pile of unwrapped presents? Why not invite over a few friends for a gift wrapping party! Here are some suggestions for turning this holiday chore into a fun day of catching up with friends while you check one more thing off your to-do list!

The Invites:

It’s best to limit your guest list for a gift wrapping party to 2-3 friends so that everyone has room to spread out and get creative. Consider using a free online invitation such as this one, available from Evite.com.

On your invitation, ask each guest to bring their gifts to be wrapped, along with 3 rolls of wrapping paper, 1 roll of tape, 1 pair of scissors, 2+ varieties of ribbon, and any other fun decorative items they may have to contribute.

The Set Up:

This party is about wrapping, chatting, nibbling, and getting into the holiday mood. Here’s how to set thing up…

Start by creating a festive atmosphere in your home. Light a fire or some holiday scented candles, and play some classic holiday music to get everyone in the spirit of the season.

Set your wrappping stations up in a room with a big table (or a cleared floor area) so that everyone can spread out a bit. On a side table, create a gift wrap supply station with all of your supplies, such as:


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  • A variety of wrapping paper
  • Tape (you might include some colored tape or even duct tape)
  • Scissors (or pinking shears)
  • Ribbon (twine and raffia also work well)
  • Colored pens
  • Decorative tags
  • Ink stamps
  • Any other embellishments you might have, such as small bells, pine cones, candy canes, or whatever strikes your fancy.

In the kitchen, create a buffet table with a few of your favorite nibbles and drinks. It’s a good idea to keep the food mostly separate from the wrapping to avoid spills. Here are a few easy menu suggestions:

As everyone completes their wrapping, assign them an area to stack up their gifts. Then at the end of the day everything will be organized and ready to go.

Looking for some more fun holiday party themes?
Visit our Christmas Party Themes page at Creative-Party-Themes.com!




Great Cocktails for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving drink ideas

Well, the leaves are falling and the weather is turning nippy. It must be getting close to Thanksgiving! Is it your turn to host the big dinner this year! Here are some options for great cocktails for Thanksgiving (or anytime, really!) Cheers!

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1. The Pumpkin Pie–tini

Yes, we’re bringing tis one back and putting it at the top of the list because it’s so dang delicious!

Here’s how to make it:

  • 1 oz. milk
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ oz. Vanilla vodka
  • 1 ½ oz. crème de cacao

Using a small amount of honey, rim martini glass with graham cracker crumbs.

Shake milk and pumpkin puree over ice to combine. Pour in remaining ingredients and shake well. Strain into the martini glass.

 

2. Cranberry Hamiltons

These are a party favorite around the holidays in our house. Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmastime!

  • A shot of tequila
  • Half a shot of Rose’s lime juice
  • Three shots of cranberry juice
  •  A slice of lime.

Serve over ice.

 


 

3. Apple Pie Spiced Cider (with or without alcohol)

Mmm…apple pie. We adapted this cozy warm drink from a Martha Stewart recipe.

1 1/4 quarts apple cider

  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 7 whole cinnamon sticks, (6 sticks for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Ground cloves
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup Calvados, or other brandy (optional)

Mix together all of the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add the brandy if you want it in there. Pour into a large pitcher, straining out the solids. Serve the drinks in mugs garnished with cinnamon sticks.

4. Hard Cider Sangria

  • 1 cup quartered and thinly sliced unpeeled green, yellow and red apples
  • 1 navel orange—quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup apple juice, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy
  • One 22-ounce bottle hard apple cider, chilled
  • Ice

In a pitcher, combine the apples with the orange, apple juice, lemon juice and brandy. Just before serving, add the hard cider. Serve in tall glasses over ice.   (from foodandwine.com)


5. Mulled Wine

Another warm cocktail favorite for all the winter holidays. This one will also make your house smell fantastic!

  • 1 1/2 cups Port wine
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup Cointreau or Gran Marnier
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • zest of 2 oranges, cut in strips
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bottles dry red wine

Combine all the ingredients except the 2 bottles of red wine in a heavy large pot with a lid. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until reduced to 2 cups, 12-15 minutes. Add red wine and warm over low heat with the lid on the pot. Do not boil.  Strain your drink into glasses or mugs.  Garnish with fresh orange slices.

 

6. Pumpkin Ale served with a cinnamon-sugar rim

This is my (non-cocktail loving) husband’s favorite fall drink. Better than that, it’s super easy! You can find pumpkin ale all over at this time of year. Some good ones include Blue Moon Harvest Moon Ale, Pumpking, Samuel Adams Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, and Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale.

To serve, keep your beer steins in the freezer for a while to get them cold. Pour a mixture of sugar and cinnamon on a small plate. Twist the mouth of your beer stein in the cinnamon mixture to get a nice sugary rim. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Flavored Cocktails

great pumpkin cocktails

October is all about the pumpkins, and what could be more perfect on a fall day than a pumpkin flavored cocktail! Here are some of the best pumpkin infused drinks that we have seen out there. Enjoy!

pumpkin dividerPumpkin Pie Martini

(from Foodnetwork.com)

pumpkin pie martini recipeIngredients:

1/2 oz. Stoli Vanilla (optional to give it kick)
1 oz. Pumpkin Spice liqueur (such as Hiram Walker)
1/2 oz. Kahlua
1/2 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
1/2 oz. half-and-half
Crushed graham crackers
Cinnamon stick (garnish)

Directions:

Add all liquids in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into large martini glass rimmed with crushed graham crackers. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

 

Sparkling Pumpkin Beertail

(from Brit.co)

This recipe makes 4 glasses

pumpkin beertail recipeIngredients:

– 3 bottles of Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
– 1/2 bottle Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider
– 4 cinnamon sticks
– 4 lemon wedges
– a sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

Start with a cinnamon stick. Place one in each glass. Next, pour Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale until the glass is about three quarters full. Next, add your cider. You want a little bit of foam so don’t worry about extra bubbles. Squeeze a little bit of lemon on top and place wedges on each glass for garnish.Finally, add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Spiced Pumpkin Cider

(from Sheknows.com)

This recipe makes about 2 cups

pumpkin cider recipeIngredients:
◦1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
◦2 1/2 cups apple cider
◦1/3 cup spiced rum *
◦1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
◦Cinnamon stick

Directions:

1.In a large pot, mix together the pumpkin puree, apple cider, pumpkin pie spice and the cinnamon stick. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes. If mixture is too thick, add additional cider or water to thin it out.

2.Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove clumps and cinnamon stick. Add rum and mix. Serve warm.

*You can reduce the amount of rum if this is too strong or omit it completely and swap in more apple cider.

 

Spiced Pumpkin Eggnog

(from Yummly.com)

This makes about 2 quarts, serving 12-16

pumpkin eggnog recipeIngredients:

• 8 eggs, separated
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 3 cups whole milk
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 2 cups dark rum or brandy
• Whipped cream (optional)
• Freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:

1.  Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and, watching carefully, beat until they are about the consistency of shaving cream, about 90 seconds. Reduce speed to medium. With mixer running, add half of sugar and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Transfer whites to a large bowl. Do not wash bowl.

2. Add egg yolks and remaining sugar to now-empty stand mixer bowl and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow and ribbony, shutting off machine and scraping down sides with a rubber spatula as necessary, about 2 minutes total. Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and allspice and mix on medium-low speed until homogenous, about 15 seconds. Add milk, cream, and alcohol and mix on low speed to combine.

3. Using a rubber spatula or handheld whisk, fold the whipped whites into the egg yolk/milk mixture until completely incorporated. Serve by ladling into goblets and garnishing with whipped cream (if desired), grated nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick if desired.



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