Holiday Sips & Apps
This holiday season I decide to do a cute little gathering, where I offered Sips & Apps. My theme was a trip around the world in one night.
While I chose to host this little celebration for my birthday, this would be a perfect way to celebrate Christmas Eve or a New Year’s Eve gathering this season. Imagine offering several small bites perfectly paired with shots from around the world. Such a cute little theme for a holiday gathering, don’t you think?
I have to tell you one of may favorite thing about the holidays is going to all the fancy parties and getting to try pretty little Hors d’oeuvres and fancy cocktails. There is just something that makes you feel special about these hand crafted artful creations filled with an unexpected fusion of flavors.
As of late, my husband and I have been on a healthy lifestyle change and portion control has been a huge part of that for us. These little flavorful bites also allows you to partake just a small bite version and have many flavors in one evening without the fear of over eating.
My Worldly Pairings
So, I started my trip around the world right here in our on back yard with a pint of a dark logger and a mini bacon barbecue cheese burger slider. Nothing says Americana more than that!
Then we move along to our Pan Asia section where we have a green curry chicken and a pan seared dumpling paired with a shot of warm Saki. Then a second appetizer that consists of a small cup of ramen noodles topped with a Coconut Sweet Chili Shrimp Purse.
Then we will move on to our Latin American features with a single serve 7 layer dip served with a chicken taquito dipper, which has been paired with a tequila sunrise shooter, served in a Himalayan Salt shot glass.
We have a festive Cuban selection of black beans in rice in fried plantain cups with a Cuba Libra shot. Next we have Creole Shrimp Toast served with a zesty Bloody Mary Shooter which is garnished with a cocktail shrimp.
As we make our way around to the Greece we have fresh Spanakopitas with a traditional Sambucca shot. Then we end our feast in Italy with a Fried Ravioli and Lemoncello.
I wanted to go into a little more detail regarding the prep on these appetizers to show you how easy they really are to make as a semi-homemade version, with help from your freezer section, of remade items, paired with a little creative plating.
These are a Private selection brand Coconut Sweet Chili Shrimp Purse, available in the frozen food aisle, placed on top of a microwaveable shrimp flavored cup of Ramen noodles, garnished with spring onions and drizzled with Bakloute Chili Oil and peanut sauce.
This can be any variety of frozen potsticker or dumpling that is pan fried and served with dumpling sauce and fresh sliced spring onions.
The 7 layer dip is the same 7 layer dip you make for all the the big game day parties, just in a single serve format. A clear tall glass is best to showcase the pretty layers. Then add your choice of a taquito for a fun dipper, instead of the traditional chips.
The plantain cups are available in the frozen food selection of your grocery store and can be filled with a variety of items. I picked black beans and rice, since it could easily be stored for another meal later in the week. Garnished with fresh cilantro and a small fork for eating.
Creole Shrimp Toast are created by adding Old Bay seasoning to a basic shrimp toast appetizer from your freezer section. When paired with a spicy Bloody Mary the rest is history. The same is true for toasted Ravioli, you are just heating and serving with a splash of sauce and cheese to garnish.
Saki may not be a regular item that you have in your liquor cabinet but you can pick it up at any liquor store and it is a real conversation starter. The nice part is you can serve it hot or cold, both is acceptable.
The tequila sunrise shooter, is so easy you can use fresh lime juice or orange mixed with tequila. I used the fun Himalayan Salt shot glasses to add a little more visual interest and add the salt rim flavor like a mini margarita.
The mini Bloody Mary’s or Maria’s are just that. If you want to save on buying a bunch of alcohol, you can do a Bloody Maria and use Tequilla instead of Vodka and these can be made with a small can of zesty V8 juice or Clamato juice, you can than add heat and spice if you like. I personally loved the idea of adding a little horseradish to mine and playing up the cocktail version, while adding an Old Bay crusted shrimp for garnish.
Cuba Libras are an old school version of Rum and Coke, with a hint of lime. They are a nice option for guests that are not really into the whole dinking scene, and tend not to pack to much of a punch, so I have put them in the middle as a kind of palette cleanser of sorts.
The Samabuca Shots are an acquired taste. These are a greek based drink and taste just like anise or black licorice. Samabuca is traditionally served with toasted coffee beans on top and lit on fire, so this one is a show stopper for sure. I personally love it, but I also love black jellybeans and licorice, so just know that I am “that person” and probably considered a weirdo by most.
Lemoncello, anyone that has ever been to Italy or t0 Provino’s for a free birthday dinner is probably familiar with this drink. This is a staple in Italian culture, it is a very sweet lemon flavored liquor, the perfect way to end the evening.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed our Holiday Sips and Apps party and that it has given you some inspiration for your holiday gathering this year. See, it does not always have to be the same old Ham or Turkey; you can do some fun party appetizers and small bites for your friends and family over the holiday season in order to avoid the over eating we are all guilty of this time year. Happy Holidays everyone!
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