This year, what’s old is new again, especially as we count down to New Year’s Eve. When it comes to entertaining, tradition is the trend for the holiday season—only with a modern twist. We all know that cocktail parties are a festive way to bring friends together. So how can you make yours both fun and memorable this season? In other words, how can you throw the best cocktail party your friends have ever had the pleasure of enjoying? All you need are a few insider tricks from an Executive Chef. And we’ve got ’em. Read on for all you need to know about entertaining this season—and making yours the party house of the year.
YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST COCKTAIL PARTY ON THE BLOCK — a la Marcus Monteiro, Executive Chef at The Kitchen at Brassaii
1. GET SHARING
Sharing platters can be both easy and fun. At restaurants, they’re a big hit, and there’s no reason that you can’t offer the same at home. If you set out a variety of finger foods mid-table, you’ll offer something for every palate, all while creating interaction amongst guests.
2. CREATE VARIETY
Here are some food choices that will make a delicious and varied canapé table:
- Mini grilled cheese sandwiches are delicious and easy options. Add a new twist to an old classic by adding bacon, sundried tomatoes, or caramelized onions.
- Charcuterie and cheese boards are easy to put together yet bring a big wow factor. Choose some hard and soft cheeses, and add a collection of spicy and mild cured meats.
- Marinated olives and pickled vegetables are big crowd pleasers, both on their own and paired with cheeses and cured meats.
- As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to serve about 4-6 canapés per guest, per hour.
3. THINK DIET
Dietary considerations are becoming more and more prevalent, with a huge increase in those following a gluten-free, vegan, or Paleo diet. When meal planning, keep the guests and their tastes in mind. Consider some lower carb, protein-rich options to add to your menu.
4. GO WHITE
There’s a reason that in restaurants, your apps, entrees and desserts arrive on clean white plates: the food looks better! Feel free to add colour to your table with charger plates, decorative tablecloths and centerpieces. But if you want your food to be the star of the show, make it pop with white platters that are just background.
5. THEME DRINKS
We all know that great parties feature great cocktails. Festive drink options are endless and you can bet your guests will love them. Create a signature cocktail for the evening, such as bourbon spiked hot apple cider, mulled wine (with your own blend of spices), or fun chocolate mint martinis.
Insider Tip: Don’t be afraid to try new things over the holiday season. With just a little planning and effort, you can give your guests a party to remember without slaving over a hot stove and missing out on your own party.
Chef Marcus Monteiro is the Executive Chef at The Kitchen at Brassaii Upon graduation from the Niagara Culinary Institute, Monteiro put his skills to work traveling and spending time in some of the world’s best kitchens, including Noma, The Fat Duck and Azurmendi in Spain. 25 countries and 100 cities later, he packed his knives and returned to his homebase, Toronto. Monteiro brings an uncompromised approach to Brassaii’s culinary vision and aims to elevate the menu beyond borders to highlight a variety of unexpected Mediterranean cultures.