Throw a Chic Holiday Cocktail Party

DAVID TSAY PHOTOGRAPHY
Want to enjoy your own party? This season, celebrate with friends stress-free. The key is to keep it simple: a make-ahead buffet, a stocked bar cart, and one stylish cocktail. It all starts with the bubbly.

Party On: Stocking the Bar Cart

A well-stocked bar cart is the heart of this holiday party. Our picks? Plenty of champagne on ice, liqueurs, and garnishes like cinnamon sticks and fresh fruit.

Styling Tip: An oversize floral arrangement keeps the cart looking party-ready.

Essential Tools

The key to this cocktail party? Champange cocktails. It all starts with the bubbly -- from there, mix in flavored liqueurs for craft cocktails without the hassle. Use a handy jigger for perfect pours every time.

Impress the Guests: Champagne Tower

The ultimate party trick! Pour a champagne fountain and prepare for the oohs and aahs. Simply arrange coupe glasses so the bowls touch and the feet cover the spaces between the rims of the layer below. This display will take about three bottles of bubbly.

The Drinks: Champagne Cocktails

Keep things easy: All it takes is one bottle of champange and three liqueurs.

If you like the flavors of fall, add a splash of spiced pear liqueur and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

If you like baked goods, try adding a splash of vanilla liqueur and a twist of lemon.

If you like fruity drinks, try creme de cassis and a ripe blackberry.

Set the Table

For an impressive (but super easy) centerpiece, fill an ice bucket with flowers. Keep the arrangement loose, and add textured foliage such as dusty miller, seeded eucalyptus, or cuts from your Christmas tree.

The Food: Warm Brie with Fig Tapenade

Rethink a basic cheese plate! This baked Brie is topped with a sweet honey, fig, and pistachio tapenade. Serve with sliced baguette, crackers, and fresh fruit.

The Food: Sriracha Deviled Eggs

These eggs are hot, hot, hot! Dress up deviled eggs with spicy sriracha sauce, curry, and crisp bacon. Pipe the filling for a fancy, party-ready presentation.

The Food: Dill-Shallot Marinated Feta Cubes

This tasty make-ahead appetizer gets most of its flavor while it marinates in the fridge. Serve in individual cups, and garnish with fresh lemon and dill.

The Food: Marcona Almonds

Who says you have to make everything for a party? Our favorite shortcut appetizer: purchased marcona almonds. Top them with fresh rosemary and black pepper.

Party Favors: Recipe Book

Send guests home with the cocktail party essentials -- a jigger and our handy booklet of recipes.

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