Libation Celebration: Ambrosia…

For the final installment of Libation Celebration, we turn our focus to New Years Eve.  Once again, I turned to our resident mixologist Ronaldo of the Ivy Room for guidance.  I asked Ronaldo for a drink that was a bit lux.  I don’t know why but New Year parties just feel like they should be fancy – suits, long dresses, plated appetizers….you know the stuff of “adults”.  However, me being me, I wanted lux but not stuffy – like wearing Armani but with sneakers…mind you they are fancy sneakers but sneakers nonetheless.  With that in mind, Ronaldo thought it would be fun to play homage to the American dessert that we all knew as children, ambrosia.  In my household it was an odd concoction of whipped cream, jello and frozen fruit cocktail.  Lets just say that it was made every year and every year it always found itself at the bottom of the trash can come the end of the night.

If ambrosia was what the mythical gods of yore ate, then this would have probably been the perfect elixir to wash down their heavenly snack…..

Ambrosia Drink

Believe me when I say  that no one will be declining this Ambrosia at your party!  Forget the jello — this Ambrosia is a heady mix of bourbon, strawberries and vanilla liquor.  The addition of the whipped cream and the unexpected crunch of the sesame seeds elevate this drink to the perfect mixture of fancy and fun…..exactly what you want for a New Years Party!

Ambrosia Drink Recipe

To see the entire Libation Celebration series, visit here, here & here.

[photo credit: photo by adza//food styling: courtney lake//recipe: ronaldo colli ]

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Cocktail Party Nibbles …Keep It Simple!

I have a habit of excess.  The more the merrier.  The bigger the better.  Honestly, it has become a problem from my closet to my pantry.  I love to indulge and to indulge those that  I love.  Parties tend to be exhaustive affairs with plates of food and drinks overflowing – it’s something I love doing so don’t think I am holding a grudge.  But this year, I am holding to my holiday promise of keeping it simple.  However, simple doesn’t mean boring!

I plan on making the three signature champagne cocktails I shared yesterday for my gathering, but otherwise I am going to keep things low-key when it comes to my nibbles.   I turned to my good friend and professional chef Alejandra Ramos of the famed food blog Always Order Dessert for some guidance.  Alejandra agreed with me that since guests are coming after their respective dinners, there was no need for heavy finger food.  “The drinks are the stars of the evening so make everything else easy, quick and delicious. NO COOKING!”  She suggested that I stick with the tried and true cheese plate….

Ramos Quote 1

Cocktail Cheese Plate

But Alejandra stressed that while the snacks can be simple, they shouldn’t be boring……

Ramos Quote 2

Taking her advice one step further, I wanted to up the “wow”factor and do something as easy but even tastier…..herbed truffled popcorn!  Aside from being super easy to make in large quantities, the popcorn is a delicious and unexpected pairing to accompany the cheese Alejandra recommended….

Herbed Popcorn

Herbed Truffle Popcorn Recipe

Last, Alejandra said I should think about presentation when it came to planning my menu…..

Ramos Quote 3

I interpreted Alejandra’s advice as why not have your drink garnish be an appetizer?  Rather than simply dropping one or two raspberries into my drink as a garnish, I skewered them onto rosemary to create fruit garnishes that could also double as an appetizer….

Raspberry and Rosemary Skewers

Thanks to Alejandra I am now fully prepared for my party and not nearly as stressed.  With these quick and simple tips, I can now focus on enjoying my party rather than worrying about running it.  Which in turn gives me more time to drink….and oh…hang out with my guests too!

Wish each of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

[Credits] Styling: Courtney Lake// Photography: Adrienne Aubry

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