This season try something different and host a Winter Bubbly Bar!
This luxurious and festive party idea is actually an easy, inexpensive and stress-free way to entertain. Consider it a “time-out” for the grown-ups to toast life.
Plan To Party
Free time on the weekends is rare for most people these days, putting the squeeze on home entertaining for both hosts and guests. Modern living, which includes work and family commitments create busy schedules for all, diminishing the hours we can get-together. If you are finding it hard to host a gathering this season, try a new approach: plan a party from 3pm – 5pm instead of an full afternoon or evening affair. Create the opportunity to catch up with family and friends and toast the season together instead of passing on seeing each other until post-holiday season. This is also a great way to kick-off the New Year!
How To Host
If time is an issue, but you still want to entertain, forego the big sit down meal. Of course, the hour you are hosting and duration of your party will dictate what’s appropriate. If you serve snacks only for Christmas Dinner you may hear some loud complaints. However, if your party is safely outside the dinner hour and doesn’t span several hours – opt for party snacks. Call it a get-together instead of a party and cut the duration down from 4hrs to 2hrs. Ask guests to join you for some bubbly, lite bites and great conversation as a break in the day. If you haven’t had friends or family over in years, try it – it may be the style of entertaining that works best for you!
Our twist on the Bubbly Bar is to take it outside. Simply dress up a table on the patio with fur, diamond, gold and nature-inspired items! Use a faux fur throw as your table covering and display bubbly and glasses. Introduce an additional fun element and tell guests to wear a faux fur item (coat, vest, hat, scarf, etc.) in honor of the Fur Bar that is your focal point. If you have a patio heater, fire it up so guests can enjoy a burst of bubbly in the fresh air.
Dress up your Bubbly Bar with fur, diamonds and gold! (Faux Fur Bottle Wraps and Owl from Pottery Barn & Gold Trees and faux fur blanket from Home Goods.)
The perfect accompaniments with for your Bubbly Bar!
Figs Stuffed With Gorgonzola
Toss the soaked pecans, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg together and spread them on a Paraflexx sheet. Dehydrate pecans at 105°F for 12 hours or until they are crisp in an Excalibur dehydrator. Enjoy as a snack or salad topper, or use in desserts, like the Black Bottom Pecan Pie. Store Candied Pecans or other flavored nuts in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
- 16 medium figs, dried – about 8 ounces
- 1/2 cup port
- 1 tablespoon vinegar, balsamic
- 1/4 cup cheese, crumbled Gorgonzola – 2 ounces
- 1/4 cup cream cheese, reduced-fat – softened
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, fresh – chopped
- 2 ounces prosciutto – sliced and trimmed of fat
- pepper, black, coarsely ground – to taste
- Snip the stem off each fig and make a crisscross cut two-thirds of the way down to partially open the fig. Trim the base of each fig so it will sit upright when finished.
- Place the figs, port and vinegar in a small saucepan; cook, uncovered, over low heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the figs are plumped and softened and most of the liquid is reduced, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, combine Gorgonzola, cream cheese and rosemary in a small bowl; blend with a fork.
- Cover and refrigerate until the figs are cooled.
- Cut prosciutto into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.
- Using a teaspoon, melon baller or small spoon, place a dollop of cheese mixture in the opening of each fig.
- Garnish each appetizer with a ribbon of prosciutto. Dust with a grinding of pepper.
Candied Bacon atop Honey Drizzled Cheese
- 6 slices uncooked bacon
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- ½ lb. wedge Manchego cheese
- 2 tbsp. honey
- Plain crackers (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix brown sugar and chili powder together in shallow rimmed dish.
- Dip each bacon strip in brown sugar mixture fully coating both sides. Lay in disposable aluminum pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until crispy (keep careful watch to ensure they don’t burn).
- Allow to cool slightly. Remove from pan and place on paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil. Allow to completely cool and cut into bite-size pieces.
- Cut wedge of cheese into bite-size pieces and arrange on serving dish. Drizzle lightly with honey in zigzag pattern. Top with piece of candied bacon. Cheese should be room temperature and not cold when served.
(Note: wrap and refrigerate any leftover Candied Bacon – it’s great for late-night snacking!)
Mini Sausage Cups Appetizer
(Makes 30 bites)
- 5 hot chicken sausage links (you can substitute any type of sausage)
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium cloves garlic, finely diced
- 2 pkgs. (15 shells/pkg.) mini fillo shells
- 1 cup monterey jack cheese, grated
- Remove sausage from casing and crumble into sauté pan. Cook on medium heat until browned and cooked through. Remove sausage from pan and allow to drain in paper towel lined bowl.
- Empty peppers, onion and garlic into sauté pan you cooked sausage in – there should be enough grease from the sausage to sauté the veggies. Season with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat until onions are translucent. Stir in sausage. (Note: you can prepare up through this step ahead of time and refrigerate).
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° and remove shells from package, place them on a rimmed baking sheet (before careful if using a non-rimmed baking sheet that they don’t slide of the sheet when you’re moving them from the counter to oven and vice versa).
- Using a spoon or a 1½” mini ice cream scoop, fill each mini fillo shell with sausage mixture.
- Sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake in oven for 5-8 minutes.
- Serve hot