With the holidays fast upon us, we all have the added stress of shopping for gifts and getting our homes ready to entertain guests. The last thing we need to worry about is adding cooking and preparing food for a cocktail party! That’s why we asked our in-house culinary and entertaining experts at Summerhill Market to share some time-saving and stress-free tips to help you host a cocktail party like a pro.
As your one-stop-shop for all of your food needs, Summerhill Market has been testing recipes and preparing food for more than 50 years. So, we have you covered with foodie gift baskets, in-season floral assortments, and ready-made prepared foods to take you through the holidays. We intend to always ease the burden of shopping, cooking, and entertaining, especially during the holidays, so that you can relax and enjoy quality time with friends and family.
TIP #1 – Calculate Appetizer Quantities & Selection
As you get started preparing for a cocktail party, consider how much food you should have and what kind of assortment you’d like to offer by asking yourself who’s attending and what they like to eat, especially if you have vegan or special dietary need friends. A straightforward calculation to consider for what kind of quantity of food to serve is: if you have 20 guests for 2 hours, you’ll want to serve 4-5 pieces per hour, per guest, so you’ll need approximately 200-250 appetizers and assorted items of 8-10 items per guest. You’ll want to offer a wide assortment of hot & cold appetizers with a mixture of flavours and textures to satisfy the tastes of all of your guests.
Try our new wild mushroom and truffle risotto cakes, cilantro ginger shrimp fritters with lime sriracha mayonnaise and Gougères (French cheese puffs) that are perfectly paired with wine. You can also serve a few snacks like marinated olives, Summerhill’s Own new root chips, truffle popcorn along with crackers and dips. Don’t forget kid-friendly must-haves like mini pizzas, chicken tenders and house-made potato chips in a variety of flavours.
TIP #2 – Prepare A Modern Vintage Buffet
Don’t be afraid to style your table to depart from the traditional by modernizing the palette with wintery hues of greys, burnt orange, and enhancing the whole theme with the warmth of gold and wood. Use branches of eucalyptus and winterberries to add a floral touch, along with some votive candles or mini string lights. Start at one end of the table with plates, and end with cutlery and napkins; this allows guests a free hand to serve themselves. Present an assortment of cheeses (at least three types: soft, semi-soft, and hard), and don’t forget our superb selection of plant-based nut cheeses for your vegan guests. Offer more substantial items like ready-for-the-oven, prepared appetizers and pies at the other end of the table, keeping things organized.
TIP #3 – Include A Sweet Table
Towards the end of the party, you’ll want to revive the table with our selection of our Summerhill’s Own holiday-inspired sweets. It’s always nice to offer some traditional favourites like gingerbread, shortbread cookie platter, and mince tarts along with something for the chocolate lovers.
TIP #4 – Set Up A Bar
Create a bar that is easily set up but also is appealing for your guests to enjoy. You’ll want to make sure to have a selection of wine and beer along with a specialty cocktail and non-alcoholic cocktails made with Seedlip, a zero-proof spirit for those who choose not to consume alcohol. Fresh pressed juices, Fever-Tree tonics, and Kombucha are a great addition and are available in our stores. When selecting quantities to purchase, a great rule of thumb is 1-1½ drinks per person per hour. A bottle of wine renders five glasses, and a bottle of spirits (gin, vodka, etc.) gives you 20 drinks. For 20 guests at a 2-hour cocktail party, you’ll need 12 bottles of wine (half red, half white is an excellent rule of thumb), two bottles of spirits, and a dozen beer.