Saturday, December 3, 2011

Champagne Cocktails and Elegant Appetizers

Preparing Green Apple
Champagne Cocktails
During the holidays we all attend many events and consume too much food and drink.  So when planning my holiday dinner parties, I  like to start by offering each guest a champagne cocktail and a few small but elegant appetizers.  If you provide a full bar instead, you'll spend lots of time making drinks for people and perhaps even serving beer or wine, which really should not be consumed as a cocktail before your dinner.  The last thing I  want is my guest going to the table full, or with a bottle of beer or perhaps even a wine that is not a suitable match for dinner.  So it's important to carefully select your pre-dinner menu and to take away the cocktail glasses before you move your guests to the table.

One of my favorite champagne cocktails is a simple mixture of 1 shot of low-sugar cranberry juice, 1 shot of Grand Marnier (or Cointreau), and champagne or prosecco to fill the glass.  I try to use a smaller champagne flute so as not to provide too large a serving.  A Mimosa (champagne and orange juice) is good if you are serving a brunch or luncheon.  There are many choices but whatever you pick, try to keep it light and small in quantity.
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I suggest serving these cocktails with little tid-bits of food.  Alcoholic beverages should always be served with food, as it enhances the flavor of both the food and the drink.  However you don't want the guest to fill up on these so only make a few bites per person and serve them elegantly.  One of my favorites is shown here.  It consists of a tray of several variations on a similar theme.  This is an olive tapenade and pâté de foie gras, served in combination and solo on a small, thin cracker.  If you want something more simple, you can do a small piece of cheese, a cheese spread with a slice of olive or ham spread.

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