Home bar styling ideas for a chic cocktail station go stylishly beyond a portable card table or kitchen counter space. The home bar serves up more than just cocktails when the spirits, wine, glassware, decor finds and beverage accouterments are displayed on a styled cart, cabinet, accent table, bookshelf, inside an antique armoire or atop a mid-century modern credenza.
Let me expand on that thought. A stylish home bar can begin atop a portable card table, kitchen counter or patio wall. The mix and the marvel is in the decorative details, proportion and placement. Styling a home bar works off the same principle applied to styling a coffee table. X marks the center spot- the prime location for a medium or low height object placement. The “outer” areas balance the method with graduated heights to continue the flow, theme and visual engagement.
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Before many of us became smarter and healthier and the laws of the land changed, the ash tray was part of the cocktail bar landscape. A vintage ash tray repurposed as a cocktail spoon holders or cocktail stirrer discard bowl makes a great conversation piece.
Southern entertaining and the home bar go together like Tabasco and tomato juice. A proper Southern Bloody Mary bar is well stocked with silver trays, bowls and containers to house and hold the sauces, seasonings and spicy garnishes that kick up the flavor with just the right amount of c’est si bon zing.
Memorial Day signals the beginning of the summer entertaining season. That’s ninety some odd summer days and nights brimming with opportunity to gather together with family and friends. Is there a summer is here big party blowout in your Memorial Day weekend future or is the plan for something in the neighborhood of quality over quantity for just you, yours and a few close friends? Here are five tips to help you master the summer entertaining season.
Regardless of the numbers involved, the ultimate party favor you can give to you and your guests is an enjoyable and relaxing time. Endless hours of planning and preparing does not a successful party guarantee. However, what does come very close to guaranteeing a successful party is setting an at ease example. Guests usually take the party lead from the attitude of the host and/or hostess which sets the tone for a comfortable let the good times roll atmosphere.
Popular points of culinary and entertaining interest set an inviting place at the summer table. I like to take my tablescape in a casually elegant direction. I know there is quite a bit of considerable thought put into achieving the anything but uptight, stuffy finished result through the right accents, lighting, selected place settings, serveware and flowers, but I want the memo to read effortless chic. This look is achieved with simple finds from my usual haunts- antiques shops, new to you shops, dollar stores, arts and crafts stores and the always handy in-house treasures, trinkets and trash closet. Visually impressive table settings need not be an expensive or exhausting endeavor.
Kick off the summer sippin’ season with the unofficial official fruit of summer, the watermelon.
Watermelon Lemonade Slushies anyone? Click on the link for the recipe from Life in the Lofthouse. Watermelon Punch looks summer yummy too! Click on the video for instructions.
Dazzle the thirsty through sight and taste. Nothing says welcome to our summer soiree quite like a cool summer appropriate beverage.
Summer just isn’t summer until something is basted, marinated or smothered in a stellar Southern BBQ sauce. In Louisiana we don’t need an excuse to jazz it up, fire it up and kick it up, but if we did, summer would be all the excuse needed. Good barbecue is what we call summer stock. We aren’t afraid to turn up the heat, spice or seasoning, but when entertaining we dial back the kick to a respectable c’est si bon level to accommodate the taste bud timid. Good cooks and even better hosts know a little goes a long way in the flavor department and account for all tastes considered.
Balance is key. Entertaining mirrors interior design and decorating in regards to balance. When selecting the music for the party playlist, I aim to keep the types, styles, genres and decades balanced somewhere between current hits, grooving to the oldies, what movie is this from, smooth and easy jazz, lounge lizard standards and the soundtrack to high school and college days gone by. Balance the bar to the standard rule of party planning with help from the handy drink calculator from Total Wine & More.
Pop a good time for New Year’s Eve with casual fair and flair. These New Year’s Eve soiree suggestions center around hosting a great get together that is as simple in prep and serve as it is in style and taste. I think host and hostesses shy from the concept of simple thinking simple translates to open bags of chips tossed about with a if you want it get up and get it yourself party vibe, not that there’s anything wrong with that. No, simple entertaining is the first cousin to comfortable times spent at home with friends over good eats and drinks mixed with great conversation, music and merriment. Simple takes the lead of the evening setting the tone, the feel and the mood. It’s a perfected manner of entertaining that should appear to be exactly what it is intended to be- a casual and comfortable gathering of friends with the emphasis on let’s have fun.
I love the casual glam look created by pairing a denim shirt with the sparkle, glitz and glamour of holiday appropriate jewelry and accessories. Apply that same philosophy by pairing up otherwise ordinary goodies with serveware befitting an all that glitters New Year’s Eve celebration.
For example, these porcelain dip bowls in gold and silver from Target retail for $2.99 each. I also noticed a Nate Berkus serving tray on clearance for under $10. Make new and affordable entertaining friends while ringing out the old, a few in silver and a few in gold.
Cocktails & Mocktails refreshingly go with ringing in the New Year. Presentation draws ’em in! Who doesn’t love to sip a cocktail or mocktail from a salt or sugar-rimmed glass?
Cheers to my very favorite unleaded drink of choice. A good- no, a great Shirley Temple takes me back to Southern summers spent sipping sparkling Shirley Temples served in tall frosted glass tumblers poolside at The Broadwater Beach Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi. Delicious mocktail memories, y’all!
Homemade Fortune Cookies
Festive fortune cookie favors carry out the theme of good luck and fortune for the New Year and New Year’s Eve party goer. Della Gossett, executive pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago Beverly Hills, shares her recipe for homemade fortune cookies with the readers of POPSUGAR. Talk about luck!
A midnight black-eyed pea buffet is always a part of our New Year’s Eve party plans. Starting the New Year off in a simple and casual setting with a bang of tradition, a dash of festive ritual and a dish of good luck is resolution number one.
Allow me to entice you with a few favorite recipes old and new for your New Year’s Eve spread consideration.
Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans
1 tablespoon brandy
1 (14-ounce) round brie
Apple wedges, for serving
Pear wedges, for serving
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Crackers, for serving
In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nuts, and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Place the brie on an ovenproof platter or pie plate. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts. Brush the fruit wedges with lemon juice and arrange them around 1 side of the brie. Place crackers around the other side.
Wipe off or wash mushrooms in cold water. Pop out stems, reserving both parts. Chop mushroom stems finely and set aside. Brown and crumble sausage. Set aside on a plate to cool. Add onions and garlic to the same skillet; cook for 2 minutes over medium low heat. Pour in wine to deglaze pan, allow liquid to evaporate. Add in chopped mushroom stems, stir to cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set mixture aside on a plate to cool.
In a bowl, combine cream cheese and egg yolk. Stir together with Parmesan cheese. Add cooled sausage and cooled mushroom stems. Stir mixture together and refrigerate for a short time to firm up. Smear mixture into the cavity of each mushroom, creating a sizable mound over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool at least ten minutes before serving; the stuffed mushrooms taste better when not piping hot.
Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook for 3 minutes. Add spinach; cook for 3 to 5 minutes more or until onion is tender and spinach is cooked, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped artichoke hearts, cream cheese, mayonnaise dressing, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, and hot pepper sauce.
Transfer to an ungreased 1-½-quart casserole. Bake for 40 minutes. Top with pecans; bake for 10 minutes more.
Serve with toasted bread slices. Makes 4 cups spread (sixty-four 1-tablespoon servings).
In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter and salt to a boil. Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.
Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack. Immediately split puffs open; remove tops and set aside. Discard soft dough from inside. Cool puffs.
In a large bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Just before serving, spoon 1 teaspoonful filling into each puff; sprinkle with parsley if desired. Replace tops. Yield: 8 dozen.
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 12 tbsp. cut into ½ ” cubes and chilled
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup Crystal hot sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. Creole seasoning
4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 ½ lb. head-on large shrimp, unpeeled
Kosher salt, to taste
French bread, for serving
Heat 3 tbsp. butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook until soft, 1-2 minutes. Add hot sauce, Worcestershire, juice, Creole seasoning and pepper. Bring to a simmer; cook until sauce is reduced by half, 5-7 minutes. Add shrimp; cook, flipping once, until cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in chilled butter to make a smooth sauce. Season with salt. Serve with French bread.
I prepared these for Christmas dinner and the reviews were rave! The recipe is balanced correctly for a not- too-sweet side dish for baked ham, scrambled eggs, or as dessert.
4 large firm pears
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup pear nectar
2 tablespoons honey
Cut pears in half lengthwise; remove cores. Brush pears with lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon and salt; stir in pecans. Spoon into pears; place in 4-qt. slow cooker.
Combine pear nectar and honey; drizzle over pears. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through. Serve warm.
3 ½ teaspoon unflavored gelatin (measured from two 1/4-ounce envelopes)
¾ teaspoon orange-flower water (optional)
Place raspberries, ¼ cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a medium bowl; toss gently to combine. Let stand at room temperature until raspberries release their juices, tossing occasionally, 20-30 minutes.
Place ½ cup Prosecco in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over and let stand 5 minutes to soften. Bring 1 cup Prosecco to a boil with remaining ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; add gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved.
Transfer gelatin mixture to a large pitcher. Add raspberries with juices, remaining Prosecco, remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and orange-flower water (if using), stirring to dissolve any sugar.
Using a slotted spoon, divide raspberries equally among coupe glasses or other small wide, shallow glasses or cups. Divide Prosecco mixture equally among glasses, about ¾ cup per glass. Chill gelée until firm, about 3 hours.
A perfect spicy alcoholic or non-alcoholic cocktail for New Year’s Eve and/or New Year’s Day!
Creole Bloody Mary Cocktail
1 tsp. celery salt
2 ounces vodka
1 tsp. Pickapeppa sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot sauce
6 ounces Clamato juice
2 lemon wedges
1 tsp. lime juice
Celery hearts, for garnish
*** for an extra spicy garnish, spicy pickled green beans are delicious!***
Run lemon wedge around rim of a glass. Fill glass with ice. Pour in vodka(or delete for non-alcoholic version), Pickapeppa sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce; top with Clamato. Add celery salt, lime juice, and lemon juice from wedges into glass. Stir well and garnish with celery heart or spicy green bean. Serves 1.
In a bowl, toss the cucumbers with the mint leaves. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and puree until chunky.
In a large pitcher, combine the lemon juice, agave and matcha powder with 5 cups of ice water. With the blender on, add half of the lemon mixture to the puree and blend until very smooth. Transfer to a punch bowl. Blend the remaining cucumbers, mint and lemon mixture until very smooth and transfer to the punch bowl. Season the drink lightly with salt and serve in ice-filled glasses.