Quick Recipes and Easy

Hosting An Elegant Cocktail Party with Friends

You know those perfect fitting black pants and that really cute and expensive top you just bought? Or wait… What about that sexy black dress that just hangs in your closet? I know you know what I am talking about. Well what if I told you that I found the perfect excuse for you to show off those fabulous abandoned clothes? It’s really simple really. All you need to do is host an elegant cocktail party at your home. If you do this the right way, then it shouldn’t be that expensive but it will look it.

For starters you need to know what your guests like to drink and come up with some sort of cocktail theme. For example, flavored vodka’s seem to be well loved, why not do a theme around that and have a martini night. Then you can easily pair up some appetizers that go well with this theme. The Tomato Vodka Aspic appetizer is a perfect pairing with Vodka martinis. Not only is this elegant looking but it’s one of the most unique appetizers I have run across.

Tomato Vodka Aspic
Ingredients

4 C. fresh or canned tomato juice
1/2 C. lemon juice
1/2 C. vodka, or substitute 1/2 C. additional tomato juice
1 Tbs. horseradish
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. hot red pepper sauce
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 envelopes ( 1/4 oz. each) unflavored gelatin
1/4 C. minced celery
1/4 C. minced green onion
2 Tbs. minced fresh basil, tarragon or parsley
1/4 C. thinly sliced olives, optional

Directions

In a large bowl combine the tomato juice, lemon juice, vodka, horseradish, celery salt, hot red pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 C. of the tomato mixture into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the juice gently, scattering it evenly so it does not clump. Let the gelatin bloom in the bowl, about 5 minutes. Place the remaining tomato mixture in a non-reactive saucepan and warm it gently. Do not boil. Add the bloomed gelatin to the hot tomato juice and stir to dissolve it. Remove it from heat. Cool to room temperature. For a fun presentation, serve the aspic in martini glasses. Evenly divide the celery, onion, herb of choice and olives, if you use them, into 6 or 8 martini glasses. Pour the cooled aspic mixture over the top of the vegetables and refrigerate until its firm. The aspic also may be chilled in a 6-C. mold or bowl. If you use one mold, chill the aspic mixture in the refrigerator until it has a slushy texture, and then fold in the vegetables and herbs. Pour the mixture into a mold and chill until firm. Turn out the mold to serve.

If you choose to go for more of a Hawaiian themed party with frozen or iced mixed drinks, then something like the Hawaiian Sweet and Sour Meat Balls appetizer would work. For a cocktail thought try the Black Mango Screwdriver, this will surely impress your friends.

Hawaiian Sweet and Sour Meat Balls
Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
2 eggs
4 Tbs. cornstarch
1 onion, minced
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder or grated garlic
2 Tbs. salad oil
1 1/4 C. pineapple juice
1 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. wine vinegar
1/3 C. water
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 C. fresh pineapple and papaya chunks
2 green peppers, cut bite size

Directions

Blend together beef, eggs, 1 tsp. cornstarch, onion, pepper, nutmeg, salt and garlic. Form into 1-inch balls. Heat oil in skillet and brown meat balls on all sides. In a large saucepan, add remaining cornstarch to pineapple juice along with soy sauce, vinegar, water and brown sugar. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add meat balls, fruit and green pepper and cook 5 minutes or until fruit is well heated. Sprinkle with chopped Hawaiian macadamia nuts or slivered almonds.

If you choose to serve wine then the best pairing for this would be cheese. The Gouda Cheese Fondue would be perfect with wine.

Gouda Cheese Fondue
Ingredients

1 large clove garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 C. dry white wine
5 oz. mozzarella, shredded
5 oz. aged Gouda cheese, shredded
1 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. Kirsch
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 baguette or sourdough loaf, cut into 2-inch cubes
Crisp breadsticks
Assorted vegetables, cooked ham, and cured sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set a fondue pot stand with a heat source, or an electric warming tray, in the middle of your dining table, and arrange around it individual serving plates accompanied by long fondue forks for dipping.

Rub the inside bottom of a fondue pot or enameled cast-iron casserole with the cut sides of the garlic halves, then discard the garlic. Place the pan over high heat and immediately add the wine, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to dissolve the garlic residue.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, use your fingers to toss the two cheeses together with the cornstarch, until evenly combined. Reduce the heat under the pot or casserole to low and add the cheese-cornstarch mixture. Stir continuously until the mixture is thoroughly melted and smooth. Stir in the Kirsch and season with a small freshly ground black pepper and just a small pinch of nutmeg.

While the fondue is cooking, spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet. Place them in the preheated oven and bake just until they are lightly toasted, 5-7 minutes, taking care that they don’t turn too brown or burn.

Carefully transfer the pot or casserole of fondue to the table, placing it above a gentle tabletop heat source that will keep the fondue warm during eating. Serve the fondue immediately, accompanied by the bread, vegetables, and meats, offering long fondue forks with which each person can spear bites of bread, vegetable, or meat and dip them into the cheese.

Yield: 4 servings

Even though this is suppose to be an elegant cocktail party, there is nothing incorrect with having beer and what could be better then serving Beerballs to complement the beer?

Beerballs
Ingredients

3 slices dried bread
1 tsp. salt
3/4 C. warm water
1/4 C. olive oil
2 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 egg
1 12 oz. can beer
2 garlic cloves
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 C. sour cream

Directions

Soak bread in water; combine meat, egg, garlic, onion, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and soaked bread in a bowl. Blend and form into small balls (about 30). Heat oil and brown balls on all sides. Sprinkle soup mix over balls, add beer, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add sour cream, mix and heat until well blended and heated through. Serve with rice or noodles.

Yield: 6-8 Servings.

For more fun and fabulous appetizers, visit Recipe4Living.com

Now that this is accomplished there are still some other things you need to reckon about and prepare for before really hosting this party.

Food Preparation
When it comes time to prepare the appetizers make sure they are all bite sized. This is a cocktail party, not a formal dinner so your guests will be walking around or sitting in your living room. None of your guests are going to want to spill anything on their dressy clothes nor do you want any of them to spill on your furniture.

Decorations
As far as decorating goes, the only thing you will really need to spend money on are candles. Since this is an elegant cocktail party you should dim your lights and place candles where ever you can., just don’t over do it. If you choose to play some music, keep it low so your guest can have conversations with one another.

Invitations
Send out some fancy home made invitations and make it be known that the dress code is formal, but the party will be a night to unwind and have fun. You can find many homemade invitations on craft web sites.

All you ladies out there better take advantage of hosting a party like this. You need to dress up every once in a while and now I have given you the perfect excuse to! Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures. It is not an everyday occurrence that you have all your friends in one place dressed up and smiling.

© 2007 Ampere Media LLC, All Rights Reserved Recipe4Living features more than 11,000 user submitted recipes, thoughts and recipes from Wolfgang Puck, reference guides, healthy living advice, tips for kids, and much more. All of the recipes mentioned in this article can be found at recipe4living.com recipe4living.com

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