Holiday Punch…it is Sparkling!

For a great signature cocktail this holiday season, do a punch.  There is no better way to gather people ‘round in a festive way than around a delightful alcoholic concoction in a large bowl…intriguing!  And, better yet, it is “serve yourself”!

Many of us have memories of that crazy uncle lingering at the punch bowl amongst the tinseled tree and granny gowns of yore…don’t our offspring deserve those memories, too? The key is to keep little paws out of the bowl…and I promise, they will try, as it is just that appealing to the eye. What could it be? So magical.  And, there will be a crazy uncle when the punch bowl arrives, I am sure of it.

Punch is experiencing a renaissance … it is a lot less work for the hostess, is very elegant (if your punch bowl is not the party store variety…check online…here is one that I found, and I also own a real silver punch set!) cost effective for a group and delicious. Antique stores are fun places to look for punch services. Mixing and matching the cups is also a fun way to do it, but punch is also great in wine or martini glasses!

103482 Grape Punch bowl_md

For the sparkling touch, spumante, prosecco or any other bubbly wine lends itself to punch.  Similar to champagnes but not as strong, many sparkling wines are beautiful pink shades that make your punch not only lovely in taste but beautiful in color, adding just that touch of sweet-dryness and effervescence we associate with sparkling wine.

The grape varietals of these wines can be found from any region of the world. I have a wine collection coming out soon, and my Winter Sparkling is actually from Italy.  I chose the Campania region of Southern Italy for my sparkling wine (boy am I a lucky girl! And you can be, too…The Aglianico grape produces wine that is coral pink, with an elegant stream of fine bubbles…a perfect addition to any punch!

Winter Sparkling Wine

Here is my recipe: 

Lolita’s Holiday Punch

I bottle Chilled Lolita® Winter Sparking Wine
1 Pint Strawberry Sherbert
1 half cup Rum
16 oz. Cranberry Juice
Sliced Strawberries
Lemon Wheels
Serves 6

Lolita’s Winter Sparkling wine is coming soon, check back for more details. However, any sparkling wine will do!  Combine all about 30 minutes prior to your party for flavors to combine. You can add ice but remember ice will dilute flavor.

I love my Holiday Bouquet wine glasses or Winter’s Cup glasses as part of a punch set. Check them out at my online store, www.designsbylolita.com

Enjoy your celebration!

Your Fabulous Holiday Table

I believe a little extra effort will pay off when it comes to your Holiday table, especially if you decorate your table right after Thanksgiving with your tree and leave it out until after New Year’s Eve.

Think color palette, texture and elements, not crafty. And, you can take this direction to the tree and mantle, too, for something different!

Not only will your lovely table balance your holiday decorating, it is also very practical and you can enjoy that impromptu dinner party for a change (or it may inspire you to invite people over!)   Instead of eating in front of the TV with your love, use the 2 corner chairs at the table instead. Have a Holiday Girls’ Night In with little effort. Just bring the wine!

No sewing is necessary, I promise!!! It’s all about buying and placement.  And, tape for frayed edges never hurts once in a while. Having floral wire on hand can’t hurt, either.

Of course I have my fun Lolita Holiday Wine glasses and use a different one at each place setting. This picture is a beautiful table with our Holiday Bouquet Lolita Holiday Table_2Wine Glass

ELEMENTS
There are five basic elements to any Holiday table decor.
1. Color Palette
Pick only 3 main colors for balance (a design trade secret!)  I love choosing a color palette every year that is different from the last. Here are some ideas:

Regal:  Red, Gold and Pearl (shown here)
Winter: Silver, Blue and White
Radio Style: Metallic Greens, Reds, and Blues
Tone on Tone Magical: Gold, Ivory, Silver or Pearl
Natural/Woodsy:  Metallic greens, silvers, and natural browns/beige

Your foundation for your chosen palette will be your table coverings.

Sewn “tablecloths” are not necessary here. You can use lengths of fabric of all colors and textures from fabric stores, antique stores….A length of silver velveteen; a baroque remnant; a metallic gold sheer curtain found at a discount store… grandmas lace table runners….it is fun to play. This will be the foundation of your color palette, and sets the tone for everything else.

2: Textures/elements

It is fun to look around your cupboards for items that can go with your special holiday color palette, or you can shop at bargain/discount shops, craft stores, antique stores to compliment your look.

Regal:  Silver/pewter cups; strands of pearl tree trimmings; red/gold chargers, red velveteen table covering with gold runner

Wintery:  Anything silver, beads, tinsel, frosted plates; antique etched anything, white ceramic or porcelain; white tablecloth with lace overlays

Radko style: Primary colors with glitter will do! Complimentary red plates/chargers, green antique water goblets, midnight blue mini salt and pepper shakers; cobalt blue serve ware

Tone on Tone Magical: Gold or silver chargers; silver serve ware; ivory and gold candles, white ceramic or porcelain.  Gold table coverings, silver metallic runner

Woodsy:  Wood chargers; evergreen linens; bamboo place mats; real branches; pine cones; pussy willows; natural baskets. Earthenware and or wooden serve ware, burlap runner, handmade ornaments/place cards
 

3. Centerpiece
LOW AND LARGE OR HIGH AND STUNNING ARE MY RULES FOR CENTERPIECES.  My pet peeve is not being able to see the person across from you. So fuddy-duddy, and not necessary for a beautiful table!  Do not use fake flowers (branches are an exception) if you can help it. Use your imagination! Here, I have used an extra-large clear martini glass and filled with red, ivory gold and pearl ornaments and accents. Almost anything goes.

4.  Place Settings
After you get your base table covering down and done, I like doing a runner out of a complimentary texture/colored fabric or a sheer overlay. You can gather corners of table fabric and do beautiful bows at each corner if you wish. To do the runner, it will look beautiful if you gather it like a paper fan, and stretch down the length of the table, then adjust here and there for a more natural, gathered feel.

At each place setting:
Charger or place mat
Plate
Eating Utensils
Cloth Napkin with clever napkin ring, place in center of plate
Water Goblet and Lolita Wine glass
Votive candle at each setting

Use, wash, reset and reuse to your heart’s content. The table coverings and centerpiece always remain through the Holidays. Replace serve ware at designated spots as needed.

 
5. Serve ware and Side Items
Keep a glass water pitcher nearby. Pull out all your Holiday serve ware and mix it all in. You can leave what you choose on the table, but less is more here. Set up a nice wine service for that last-minute visit. Your silver will look good with almost any color palette.  You get the picture!
FINALLY:
Voila!

Now you can enjoy your holiday table. Look at it as a necessity in your decorating plan for the holidays.   If you stick to your basic 3 colors and go from there, you will end up with elegant simplicity. Then, by adding some practical textural elements and my festive Holiday Wine glasses, you will see FUN AND EASE written all over the table.

You will see how much it really does add to your joyous season (practically!) And as the Domestic Diva now, you will glide and sachet around your table with holiday glee!

Magical Holiday Soiree: Cheese Tray

I think 3 cheeses is a great number for a dessert cheese tray.  It will give you the right variety and diversity of flavor and texture without being overwhelming.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Brillat Savarin: A triple crème cheese (triple crème is always the way to go for quality and smoothness). It’s sweet and lactic, and amazing with honey. Reminiscent of Brie, but not as earthy. Camembert is also a beautiful replacement here.
  • Aged Gouda: There are so many great options for aged Gouda. Find one that’s aged for longer than two years and you’ll have something that’s sweet like crème brule or flan: caramelly, sugary, and even a little crunchy.
  • Roquefort Blue Cheese: Stingingly strong and salty, but if you find a nice one, the balance of these two traits can be incredibly harmonious and satisfying, especially after dinner. There’s nothing quite like a sharp, assertive blue to end a meal. If you experience it once, you’ll crave it like you do sugar at the end of a meal.
  • I suggest putting out a variety of chips, crackers, nuts and accompaniments:
  • Roasted Almonds
  • Honey (For drizzling over the Brillat Savarin)
  • Fig Spread (excellent on stronger cheeses)
  • Dates (if you can find the coconut crusted ones, even better!)

To view each of Lolita’s Magical Holiday Dessert Soiree recipes, please click the links below:

Magical Holiday Soiree: Coffee Bar

You can have this in your kitchen or in a spot with a plug! I would get some clear glass mugs (I like the ones at Crate and Barrel). Have milk and cream options as well as all the sweeteners in the event a guest wants plain coffee.

My suggested liqueurs:

  • Irish Crème
  • Chocolate Liqueur
  • Caramel Liqueur
  • Triple Sec
  • Cordials like Chambord

Also, have a variety of toppings:

  • Whipped Cream (homemade if possible!)
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Chocolate Sprinkles

To view each of Lolita’s Magical Holiday Dessert Soiree recipes, please click the links below:

Magical Holiday Soiree: Wine Tasting Bar

With a dessert party, you want to offer a variety of wines for a tasting that compliment your desserts. I would keep this simple.

Ask your local wine shop for a few suggestion. I love brandies (apple is my favorite), Port, Sherry and Prosecco as choices. You may also want a nice Malbac or Italian Primitivo on hand for those that prefer something a little drier and less sweet.

Set your table in the same magical color palette. You may use aperitif glasses rather than regular sized wine glasses. I love mixing and matching antique glassware to add a beautiful interest to the setting!

To view each of Lolita’s Magical Holiday Dessert Soiree recipes, please click the links below:

Magical Holiday Soiree: Miniature Lemon Tart Recipe

Adapted from Joy of Baking

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • PRE-MADE MINIATURE TART SHELLS

 

Directions:

  1. HEAT oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the cream cheese and process until smooth. Add the sugar and process until incorporated. Add the eggs and process until thoroughly combined. Add the lemon juice and zest and process until well blended and smooth.
  3. Using a tablespoon, I spooned the mixture into the individual tarts, filling to the top.
  4. I baked the mini tarts for about 10 minutes.  The tarts are done when the filling is set. It took my oven about 10 minutes.

Let cool for about 15 minutes, then gently remove them from the pan.  I sprayed the pan well so the tarts released very easily.

I like topping with homemade whipped cream.

To view each of Lolita’s Magical Holiday Dessert Soiree recipes, please click the links below:

Magical Holiday Soiree: Miniature Berry Trifles Recipe

This recipe is so easy! You may want to make your own vanilla pudding for that oh-so-homemade taste!

Ingredients:

  • Small Martini glasses, appetizer spoons
  • Lady Fingers
  • Strawberry Jam
  • Vanilla Pudding
  • Blueberries
  • Sliced Strawberries

Drop 1 tsp. Of strawberry jam in each glass. Break apart ladyfingers and put ½ lady finger in each glass, pressing down so it stays. Add 2 tsp. of vanilla pudding to each glass, spreading evenly with spoon. Add 6-8 blueberries on top, ensuring blueberries are to the side of the glass (we want these to look beautiful!) Add 2 halves of ladyfingers as your next layer. Finish with a layer of pudding and sliced strawberries. I love doing a “star” with the sliced strawberries and the blueberry in the middle.

You can drizzle a fruit liqueur on top if desired.

To view each of Lolita’s Magical Holiday Dessert Soiree recipes, please click the links below: