Fireside Cocktail Party

DAVID TSAY PHOTOGRAPHY
Blogger and entertaining expert Erin Gleeson shares her secrets and recipes for the coziest fireside cocktail party. It's time to say so long to summer, hello to fall.

The Scene

Getting your deck party ready is as simple as bringing the indoors out. Lay out a rug, top benches with fluffy pillows, and drape plenty of blankets for cozy evening cuddling. A blazing fire brings the whole party together.

Fresh Flowers

Moroccan tea glasses serve as vases for blazing fall arrangements. Stick to in-season colors like rich reds, yellows, and oranges.

Erin's Entertaining Tip: Go for a mix of purchased flowers and from-the-yard foliage. It's the best way to showcase the natural beauty of fall.

Fabulous Fire Pit

Cozy up to the fire with comfy blankets and a warming bourbon-spiked cocktail.

Erin's Entertaining Tip: There are two fire-pit musts: Keep it covered, and be sure to have an extinguisher close by.

The Food: Endive Bar

Skip the silverware and plates -- a DIY endive bar is a delicious (and easy!) way to feed guests. We love a combination of butternut, ricotta, and thyme, or Gorgonzola, sunflower seeds, and onion.

Erin's Entertaining Tip: Keep your party food on trays for moveable feasting. As party-goers hang out by the fire, no one has to get up to refill their plates!

The Food: Spiced Nuts

This super simple appetizer comes together in an instant. A pinch of smoked paprika gives it bold flavor.

Erin's Entertaining Tip: Mix up this whole batch in a plastic bag, shake, and serve. It's that easy -- and cleanup is a snap.

The Drinks: Hot Pear Toddies

This warm spiked drink hits the spot as the sun goes down. To make, simply fill your slow cooker with a totally seasonal blend of pear nectar, bourbon, and cinnamon.  

Erin's Entertaining Tip: Set out mugs and a ladle so guests can help themselves. Gorgeous garnishes like cinnamon sticks, pear slices, and star anise let guests customize each glass.

The Food: Grab-and-Go Desserts

No need for over-the-top desserts at this boho-chic party. Chocolates and caramels are easy-grab nibbles.

Erin's Entertaining Tip: Set a mini flower arrangement in the center of a plate and surround it with a pile of candy.

Meet Erin

"I like to keep things simple and self-serve so I can enjoy my guests," says Erin. She, a California foodie, photographer, and artist, is the blogger behind The Forest Feast.

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