A Holiday Cocktail Party Menu

There are so many cocktail parties this time of year. Even if you don't host one, you may well be asked to bring a platter of finger foods to, say, an ugly sweater party or a New Year's Eve party. Try something new from this selection of perfect cocktail party dishes.

Sichuan Peppercorn Peanuts: Start it off with some spicy nibbles -- these will get people headed over to the bar right on schedule.

Goat Cheese Guacamole: Not only does this twist on guacamole taste great, it also naturally contains Christmas colors. So thematic!

Roasted Sweet Potato and Harissa Dip: Sweet potatoes are an unexpected ingredient for classic dip, but it turns out they work beautifully for it. And, if you serve it as pictured, it too is a notably attractive dish.

Carrot Hummus: Another unexpected dip twist! Carrots, when roasted and mashed and fancied up with tahini, are a great substitute for chickpeas. You'll be surprised how quickly this snack goes.

Chestnut Hummus With Pita Chips: And as long as we're messing around with hummus, we might as well add a second variotion: chestnuts! There's a recipe for spiced pita here, too.

Baked Feta with Honey, Walnuts, and Thyme: This is easier, and more interesting, than the traditional baked Brie.

Sweet Pea Bruschetta: Peas aren't in season in the winter, but there are abundant in the freezer section. And it's perfectly green in color, which is, of course, seasonal.

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Mascarpone, Gorgonzola, and Pear Finger Sandwiches: For something a little more substantial, try finger sandwiches. These incorporate winter fruit and cheese ... that's all you need to know.

Lobster Ceviche: If you'd like to class up the joint, do something with seafood. This time of year, you'll want to sub in mango and/or papaya for the melons -- serve with taro chips and you'll have a hit on your hands.

Poached Shrimp, Fennel, and Meyer Lemon Salad: Serve something light and a little more delicate (this salad is great without the shrimp, too) for a well-rounded buffet table.

Grilled Pork Meatballs with Snap Peas, Pecorino, and Bitter Greens: And for something that's the opposite of light, these meatballs with all kinds of garnish. Make a lot.

Hot Tropical Punch: This one's made with tequila.

Mulled Wine: There are plenty of variations on this classic (just don't turn it into an omelet).

Spiced Apple Cider: Another great freestyle recipe.

4 Holiday Cocktails: Here's a collection of our favorite winter beverages, in both hot and cold varieties.

3 Sparkling Wine Cocktails: This is the champagne season, after all.

About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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