October is here and we all know what that means – hot toddies, apple cider, and mulled wine are back in season!
It also means that, like it or not, the holidays are right around the corner. And whether you are the type to go all out for Halloween or skip it entirely, we can all likely agree that once the ghoulish holiday passes on the 31st, things become a blur through the end of the year.
To #breakfree from the pattern and get ahead of the craziness, let’s take a few moments to prepare a gameplan on how to tackle each event and party that may come up this season. Not only will we feel better prepared, but we will also have more time to enjoy sipping that mulled wine by the fire. A winning argument, no?
How to rule holiday parties & events this season
This time of year has a way of bringing people together. Perhaps it’s the change of weather, the long wind down of the year, or the increase in back to back events. Whatever the reason – it’s heartening to have these moments and times to reconnect. As a host, each of us deserves to enjoy every moment as much as possible, too. Here are some tips to maximize planning now to enjoy stress-free moments this season.
Keep a few themes in your backpocket
No matter if it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas, or in-between, deciding on a few loose themes ahead of time can help us break free from last-minute planning. Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Casual post-dinner evening with friends: Throw together an easy party with snack boards and wine or cocktails. A few candles and a party game or two, and we’re all set to host an evening to remember.
- Group dinner: Food options will depend on the occasion, of course, but if the options are open, consider an elevated pizza party; rustic pizzas and perfect wine pairings always please a crowd.
- Afternoon with kids: Try a themed cookie decorating party that kids will enjoy, and light drink options the adults will love, such as wine spritzers, hard seltzers, or themed mimosas.
Create a checklist
We like to hold ideas and plans close (literally) by creating a checklist on a smartphone that can be easily referenced. Here are a few ideas of what to include:
- Ambience: Candles, holiday themed decor, perhaps some orange & cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove
- Activities: Games and activities can liven up any party
Stash delightful surprises in the pantry
Between now and the end of the year, it’s always easier to pick up food items that can be used for hosting at a later time.
A few items we always make sure to grab from WildPlum are:
- Gourmet jams & jellies
- Olive tapenades
- Compotes or dried fruits
- Rustic crackers or breadsticks
- Chocolate covered pomegranate morsels
We keep a stash at home so we can access it quickly whenever company arrives.
Stock up on libations
No event or holiday is complete without a delicious drink. Deciding on a strategic drink menu helps to keep things stress-free. Wine is always a solid choice, but make-ahead cocktails can also delight guests and they don’t need to be made just before serving, which is a major plus! Here are some of our favorites:
For white wine, a gorgeous Chardonnay that everyone will love, such as the Steamboat Winery Slopeside White Chardonnay.
For red wine lovers, a bottle of Elk Cove Five Mountain Pinot Noir or Steamboat Winery Syrah.
Wine is wonderful, but to mix things up, try this recipe for Scotchy Boulevardiers. It’s wonderfully savory, dry, and peppery – and the best part is, this recipe can be made ahead of time to cut down on last-minute stress!
Scotchy Boulevardiers For a Crowd
Active prep time: 15 minutes, Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes, Yield: Serves 8
- 1 cup whiskey (suggestion: Leopold Bros. Whiskey)
- 3/4 cup Campari
- 3/4 cup sweet vermouth (suggestion: Carpano Antica)
- 1/2 cup scotch (suggestion: Macallan 12 Year Scotch)
- 8 orange twists
Combine whiskey, Campari, vermouth, scotch, and 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. water in a quart-size jar. Seal and freeze for at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks.
To serve, gently turn the jar to mix. Place ice in a rocks glass and pour in the cocktail. Squeeze oils from your orange twists over the glass, then rub the peel around the rim and garnish the glass with a peel. Enjoy!
All ingredients are available at WildPlum.
Have fun & enjoy
It can be easy to get lost in the stress of planning a gathering, but remember – plans typically never go according to plan, and that’s alright. If we forget something, that’s alright, too. Thankfully, when there’s not enough time in the day, there’s always WildPlum grocery and alcohol delivery.