Whether for a small soirée or big bash, here’s our blueprint for entertaining with elegance and ease.
There’s an art to throwing a holiday soirèe that really sparkles, and it’s easier than you think to master. Whether you want to gather friends for spirited drinks and good bites or host a big open house, here’s our blueprint to partying like Martha.
Kick It Off with Chic Cocktails
Pour an intimate round or mix a whole pitcher of these modern variations on classic sours. Just follow our foolproof formula: 2 parts spirit, 3/4 part sour, 3/4 part sweet. Our infused simple syrups are just that—a cinch to make—and lend sips a sophisticated, je-ne-sais-quoi quality.
Rosemary Gimlet: A fresh herbal syrup gives gin and lemon juice a floral finish.
Bitter Bee: Add dimension to tequila on the rocks with honey and grapefruit.
Cinnamon Sour: This sweet-and-spicy bourbon drink can be topped with red wine.
Complement a Big Cheese
A gorgeous hunk of blue deserves a better sidekick than a basic cracker. Here, creamy, mildly sharp Bayley Hazen finds a fruity counterpart in our apple-membrillo tart, which layers jammy Spanish quince paste (membrillo) atop a savory, rosemary-flecked crust. Marcona almonds—another Iberian specialty—add salty crunch, and juicy green grapes keep things fresh.
Make a Grand Gesture
There are crudités, and then there is le grand aioli, the Provençal feast of raw and steamed vegetables, hard-cooked eggs, and chilled seafood served with a side of garlicky, homemade mayonnaise. Our version takes some liberties with Grandmère’s egg, oil, lemon juice, and garlic recipe; we doctored jarred mayonnaise with anchovies and oil-packed tuna. We also supplied a vegan avocado-based green-goddess dip. But the end result sparks that same convivial feeling of clustering around an overflowing platter.
Do a Double: This clever system, using two metal bowls (with a smaller vessel of ice centered inside a larger one), prevents soggy shellfish and makes replenishing a snap.
Polar Express: A quick bath in icy water crisps sliced raw vegetables and gives leaves an alluring curl.
Roast, Then Play Host
This pomegranate-glazed ham with jammy cipollinis needs little more than a mouthwatering glaze and an hour and a half in the oven to achieve caramelized nirvana. While the meat heats and develops its stunning sheen, the tiny onions around it soak up all its smoky drippings, melting into a sticky-sweet condiment for ham and mini-pickle-biscuit sandwiches.
Dry Idea: Pair this spread with a crisp white that has just a hint of sweetness. We like Hofgut Falkenstein Riesling, from Mosel.
Zing Fling: Tangy with a pleasant pop, whole-grain Dijon cuts the mustard—and the meat’s richness. Our pick: Trois Petits Cochons Moutarde a l’Ancienne.