Fun Ways to Warm Up the Winter Months
It’s cold outside. Like, really cold. From last month’s blizzard to this week’s latest snowfall, there’s no denying that we’re officially in the throws of a New York City winter. While the snow and ice may keep us from entertaining outside (for now) the below-zero temps also give us many reasons to celebrate— or at least give us a good excuse to entertain with friends and family. While you may be thinking: how can I throw a successful winter fete after the holidays? We’ve found that some of the most successful and elegant events happen this time of year. In fact, the winter months are a fabulous time to showcase all the food and drinks that make us feel cozy on chilly winter days. As a New York City catering company, we’ve mastered the art of cold-weather entertaining, so have no fear! There are plenty of elegant and easy ways to entertain your guests all season long. Get snowed in with us and check out some fresh new ideas on how to make the most of this winter season.
Winter White Cocktail Party
Our take on a classic winter white cocktail party is a simple, elegant and fun way to celebrate the winter months. To start, here are two winter cocktails that are always a hit with our guests, and add a fun wintry twist on some of our favorite party drinks. Our first cocktail is a sweet and delicious cinnamon White Russian. Take it from us, it tastes so good, you’ll skip the dessert table all together in favor of these. All you need are large ice cubes, four parts vodka, three parts coffee liquor, three parts cinnamon simple syrup and two parts cream. Simply place an ice cube in each glass and then add the cocktail in the order listed. Make sure to swirl your drinks before and after, adding the cream to get everything mixed together perfectly. And viola— simple, decadent, and winter white perfection. In catering for NYC weddings, we’ve found that guests who prefer something on the lighter side love sipping on a Winter White Cosmo. This fun drink is another seasonal twist on a classic cocktail that your guests will love. All you’ll need are 3 oz. citron vodka, 1 oz. white cranberry juice, and 1⁄2 oz. cointreau. For the garnish, we suggest fresh mint, sugar covered cranberries (or frozen) and red toothpicks. Not only is this cocktail really simple to make, but it takes just about five minutes or less to prepare. Once you have your ingredients, simply and combine them and mix well. (Just remember that there should be a fine balance between sweet & tart!) Alternatively, you can also shake up your ingredients with ice and strain into chilled martini glasses for a sleeker look. For the garnish, skewer mint sprigs and sugar covered cranberries (2) onto a toothpick. Place on the rim of the glass (not in the drink) so that the sugar doesn't melt. Let your guests use it to stir their cocktail and enjoy!
For your Winter White décor, play off of the season’s sophisticated, simple and cool ambiance by using a light or white tablecloth across a long farm table and adorned with silver or white decorations. We also suggest placing some white candles on your table in between a pale floral arrangement or a chic blooming branch inside tall silver or metallic vases. For an elegant, sparkling aesthetic, we love the look of warm, white lights strung along a table or delicately around a mirror. Alternatively, for a more rustic vibe that still incorporates outside elements, line a sleek slate tray with burlap and add miniature succulents, filling it in with cranberries. (This centerpiece also keeps it low and long (as to not obstruct everyone's view at the table).
Winter Feast / Potluck
We get it, it’s winter and we all feel like hibernating. If you really feel like staying in and turning your space into the ultimate snow-day retreat, there’s nothing better than throwing a winter feast potluck dinner. Not only will this get-together showcase everyone’s favorite hearty, winter dishes, but there’s no denying how perfect the fare will pair against a roaring, crackling fire. One of the great things about hosting a potluck is that everyone benefits from it: there’s less stress on the host and more time to enjoy time with your guests. Plus, everyone brings something they love. For a twist on one of our favorite dinner party ideas, make the potluck a theme and have everyone bring a dish related to a type of food, (based on a current movie, book or TV show) or make your potluck party a competition and have every guest make a different kind of fare, like chili, for example. You can also have a “culinary region” potluck theme and have guests bring dishes from a specific region or city in the world, such as Spanish tapas or an Italian “pasta cook-off.” Regardless of how you choose to feed your guests, here are some easy entertaining ideas for the the warm, fuzzy, let's-stay-a-little-longer crowd.
For starters, we love a seasonal medley of roasted vegetables including carrots and turnips combined with brussel sprouts, cranberries and some kind of seed to for that added something’ something.’ We love pumpkin and sunflower seeds, but you can also add toasted pecans or walnuts for a decedent, winter crunch. As a main dish, you can never go wrong with an epic winter minestrone soup. It’s savory, hearty and totally flavorful. What you’ll need: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 medium onion, chopped, kosher salt and black pepper, 114.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1⁄2 pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces, 3 medium carrots, chopped, 1 can of navy beans, rinsed, 1⁄2 cup small pasta shells, 1/4 cabbage, chopped. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Simply add the tomatoes and simmer for about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the squash, carrots, beans, 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the pasta and cabbage. Simmer until the pasta is tender. For a little something sweet, look no further than a hot chocolate bar. Simple and sophisticated, a hot cocoa bar is the perfect way to end your winter gathering. In the past we’ve served both coffee and hot cocoa and a variety of toppings, mix-ins and creamers for our guests. All you need is a hot beverage warmer, a few mugs, and whatever toppings you like! Whipped cream, peppermints, alcohol, cookies, chocolate covered espresso beans? The opportunities are endless!
For your winter potluck décor, we love the rural, chic look of birch-bark wrapped around glass cylinders filled with seasonal plants. We also love the look of branches or miniature red or dark-colored roses and parrot tulips with eucalyptus pods, pinecones and pine needles for an elegant, seasonal backdrop. This is an easy, elegant and serene arrangement that will perfectly compliment your cold weather fete and warm up the home. For the look of your hot cocoa bar, transfer your hot chocolate to an insulated thermos or carafe and place on your decorated bar with mugs. Then transfer all toppings and ingredients to individual serving bowls, and place next to the hot cocoa on the bar. For a little whimsical touch, we love a fun having a “Hot Chocolate Bar” chalkboard sign to give your guests the ultimate cozy feeling. These are only of some of the fun ways you can upgrade your seasonal entertaining ideas to help to switch up your winter get-together experience. Get inspired by the cold nights, snowy days and cozy comforts and there’s no doubt you’ll have your guests begging to stay for seconds. (At least there'll be plenty of leftovers from the potluck!) Check our the DMC blog next week for as look forward to the Oscars and how to throw a red-carpet-worthy bash!