Along with decorative gourd season comes anxiety-producing holiday parties. But throwing a successful Thanksgiving dinner or Xmas shindig is a cinch if you heed a few pro tips. We talked with entertainment guru Mark Addison, author of Cocktail Chameleon, about how to successfully navigate party drink-making:
First, the big question every host or hostess who serves cocktails at a party wants answered -- How do you get out from behind the bar at your own party?
A signature drink and batching in advance. A signature drink is like a calling card. It becomes part of your entertaining experience, an extension of your personality. Cocktail Chameleon helps you find that signature for yourself, a kind of personal brand. Experiment until you find it!
How important is glassware?
I like to say that a glass is a drink's cocktail attire. It reflects the cocktail's personality. A margarita in a rocks glass is different than one served up.
What makes a signature cocktail -- or any cocktail, for that matter -- successful at a party?
A good recipe. Understanding classic proportions is key. A good recipe is fundamental.
Do you have a no-fail holiday recipe?
Yes! I've had great success with a Pom Pear Sangria -- especially paired with Thanksgiving --- which uses green tea-infused vodka [RECIPE BELOW].
A lot has been made of low-proof cocktails recently. How important is it to offer a mocktail at a holiday party?
If it's a small group you know, you may not need to offer a specific no-proof option. But if it's a bigger gathering, the mocktail has arrived for the holidays in the same way that you'd offer a vegetarian food option.
POM PEAR SANGRIA
- 1 bottle dry white wine, such as chenin blanc
- 20 oz pomegranate juice
- 20 oz chilled pear nectar
- 1.5 oz Lemon-Ginger syrup (see below)
- 8 oz vodka
- 4 green tea bags
Combine the wine, pomegranate juice, and syrup in the pitcher. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-8 hours. Place the vodka and green tea bags in the jar. Seal and steep at room temperature for 4 hours. Combine the two mixtures and stir well.
To serve, fill the glasses with ice and divide the sangria among them, garnishing each one with a pear slice and a tablespoon of pomegranate seeds.
Yield: 5 oz
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp coarsley grated fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp grated lemon zest
In a small saucepan, boil the water, sugar, and ginger until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest. Steep for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, without pressing on the ginger and zest. Funnel into a 5 oz bottle and refrigerate.
To follow Mark Addison through the holiday season, visit @mark_addison