6 Pre-Dinner Cocktails to Wow Your Guests
Having previously brought you our top tips for planning a dinner party and how to cater for picky eaters, today we’re continuing with our hosting tips. You always want parties to start with fun, so today we are giving you some pre-dinner cocktail ideas to help make that goal a reality.
We’ve chosen cocktails that can easily be made in a pitcher to serve many guests if you like, although all of them offer customization options. We know that you love tips that cut down on preparation time and it even more important when you’re entertaining.
1. Aperol Spritz
Aperol Spritz has the taste of summer. It’s a perfect cocktail choice if you’re serving Italian cuisine, or even if you’re just ordering pizza!
Pour 3 parts Prosecco and 2 parts Aperol over ice. Finish with a dash of soda water and garnish with an orange slice.
2. Gin Gimlet
This classic has been served before dinner for many years and it couldn’t be easier to make. You could even have a variety of gins on hand and let guests pick their favourite.
Simply pour 2 parts gin with 1 part lime juice over ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.
A true classic. There are so many ways to serve a martini, but the basic recipe mixes 5 parts gin with 1 part vermouth. This can be shaken or stirred and garnished with an olive or a twist.
This is another drink that you can serve according to your guests’ liking.
4. Champagne Cocktail
Champagne is the perfect way to make sure that your party starts with a pop! The traditional champagne cocktail is very simple. Put a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, add 2 – 3 drops of bitters, and top up with champagne.
Whilst traditionally a brunch option, they can still work well as a pre-dinner cocktail. Serve a selection of fresh juices so that guests can mix up their own. The classic is one part orange juice with one part champagne, but other citrus juices work well. We especially love grapefruit for a real zing. You can use peach juice to make bellinis and even a green juice can be delicious when topped with champagne!
6. Make your own
Instead of creating a batch of cocktails, put out various ingredients with cocktail shakers and plenty of garnishes. Let your guests create their own cocktails. Make sure you have plenty of glassware on hand, the classic spirits and some unusual ingredients to experiment with. You can even make it a competition!
We hope you enjoy our pre-dinner cocktail recommendations. What do you like to serve to guests before dinner? Let us know in the comments.
How to Serve Raclette
If you’re anything like us here at Shisler’s Cheese House, you love entertaining. We’re always looking for great new ways to share food and fun with our friends and family.
If you haven’t had a Raclette dinner party yet, then today we’re here to tell you why this might be your next big hit.
What is Raclette?
Raclette (ra-klet) is a semi-firm, salted cheese made from cow’s milk. It originated in the Swiss canton of Valais, but is today also produced in the French regions of Savoie and Franche-Comté.
The term raclette derives from the French racler, meaning “to scrape”. Raclette cheese is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates.
What is the history of Raclette?
Raclette is mentioned in medieval writings and was then known in the German-speaking part of Switzerland as Bratchäs, or “roasted cheese.” Traditionally, the Swiss cow herders used to take the cheese with them into the mountains. They would cook it by the campfire and scrape it onto bread.
How can we enjoy it at a dinner party?
These days, you don’t have to go into the mountains or start an open fire to enjoy Raclette around the dinner table. Electric table-top grills with small pans make the job of melting the cheese easy and fun. Each guest fills their small pan, known as a coupelles, with cheese and melts it before adding it to their plate.
What should it be served with?
This is where you can let your imagination run wild! Anything that you think might be delicious with cheese could be tried, but there are some classics that are essential for a Raclette party:
- Small boiled potatoes
- Sliced vegetables including carrots, peppers, celery, mushrooms and any other favourites
- Sliced fresh bread
- Meats or seafood
Whilst the cheese is melting in the coupelles, guests can cook their meat or seafood to their liking on the top of the grill. They can even throw the vegetables on to cook them slightly or crisp the potatoes up. The beauty of this is that everyone can select what they would like to eat and how they would like to eat it.
You can also serve apple slices, to cut through the sweetness, and other treats that you might usually serve with cheese.
Could I serve other cheeses?
Certainly! Let guests experiment with Raclette cheese, gouda and gruyere. They can find their favorite combinations.
What drinks should I serve with Raclette?
A white wine is a great choice to pair with Raclette. A Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Pinot Grigio would all work well. You could also serve a light wheat ale or a fruity Pinot Noir for red wine lovers.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab some supplies and you could be hosting the dinner party that will have all your friends hoping for a second invite!
How do you serve your Raclette? What are your top dinner party tips? Let us know in the comments!
How to Throw a Holiday Party Without the Stress
Over the next few days, neighborhoods will be full of parties to celebrate the holidays. It’s a joyous time when we’ll see friends old and new, but we know that it can also be a stressful time for those hosting guests.
That’s why we’ve put together some tips for throwing a holiday party without any of the stress.
Avoid stressing over food
At this time of year, everyone is overindulging! Throw a cocktail party in the early evening or after dinner and you won’t have to worry about catering for a crowd. Instead, grab some cheeses and nibbles, and let the guests help themselves. After all, it’s supposed to be your party too!
If you want to serve a buffet style meal for friends and family, ask people to each bring a dish and it will all come together in no time.
Keep some gifts on hand
It happens to the best of us. Someone hands you a gift and you know that you don’t have something for them. Never fear. Have some gift boxes on hand for when this occasion arises. Any that you don’t give out can be eaten over the festive season.
You might also consider keeping some holiday cards tucked away for anyone who happens to bring you one.
Get guests involved in making drinks
One good option for parties is simply to head to your local wine shop and buy a crate of good wine, then pour it throughout the party. However, if you want to impress with stylish festive cocktails, then you might need to plan a little more carefully. Set up everything guests will need on a bar cart or sideboard, and make or print recipe cards for them to follow. Provide plenty of glasses, shakers, and strainers, and your party guests are sure to have fun. You could even have a little cocktail competition!
Other good options are to make a great punch ahead of time or to ask guests to bring along beverages of their choice.
You might find that the last thing you want to do after a day of party preparation is get dressed up. Why not avoid the stress by encouraging your guests to come along in their favorite festive jumpers?
Unless you are inviting a small group, avoid a formal, sit down meal and go for a buffet or nibbles.
Make it fun for all the family
It’s always the festive season when we notice how much our families have grown. Get ready for your nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or children of friends by grabbing some activities. Simple things like coloring, paper chain making or Lego can keep children occupied and give their parents a break. You could also involve children in the party by asking them to judge who has the best Christmas jumper, or by setting up a scavenger hunt for them.
However you’re celebrating Christmas this year, we hope it’s a happy time for you all.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Shisler’s Cheese House!