the first in our weekly holiday sips-and-snack combo series
December 11, 2012  |   column: DELIBERATE POLISH

‘tis the season for fancy dinner parties, last minute cocktails and (unexpected) visits from in-laws. if you’re playing hostess for any number of guests, be it for drinks or a four course dinner party, things can get a bit crazed during the flurry of the holiday season.

to feed your entertaining inspiration–and ensure you don’t get stuck serving boxed wine and potato chips–we’re serving up a few easy to whip up recipes to spice up your nights throughout the month.

 these tasty cocktails and appetizers go hand-in hand, adding a memorable touch to your next get together even if your under a time crunch.

just scroll down to see the first delicious duo. (plus, a quick how-to on shaking the perfect cocktail.)

elderflower gimlet


2 parts gin (or vodka, though gin pairs slightly better with the nibble)

1 1/2 parts St. Germain

1 1/2 parts freshly squeezed lime juice

lime slices for garnish


fill a cocktail shaker to the brim with ice and add all ingredients except lime slices

shake vigorously* until condensation appears on the outside of the shaker.

strain and serve in a martini glass or glassware of your choice. garnish with a lime wheel.

*alternatively, you can stir this cocktail vigorously in the shaker with less ice, though traditionally any cocktail involving citrus is shaken, not stirred.

TIP: how to successfully (and gracefully) shake a cocktail in three simple steps:

1.     pour ingredients into a tin shaker that is 7/8 full of ice and cover with a glass, pressing down hard on top to seal.

2. holding the tin tight at the rim to help keep the cocktail cool, shake the tin hard and fast over your shoulder  (like a present you’ve somehow stumbled upon and are trying to figure out what’s inside).

3.  once the tin looks frosty, strain the ingredients into a glass.

mini cheesecakes


1 box vanilla wafers

1 1/2 tsp sugar

3 tbsp melted butter

mini muffin cup liners

8 oz cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

cherry preserves (or raspberry preserves or kiwi slices)


 line mini muffin tray with paper cups and place wafers in the bottom, flat side facing down.

blend the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla and pour batter into the cups.

bake in a pre-heated 375F oven for 10 minutes. remove and chill immediately for 1 hour, or put in freezer for 15 minutes, covered.

top with tiny slices of kiwi, or small dollops of cherry and raspberry preserves.



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