It gets so busy and hectic around the holidays, so I like to be able to quickly put everything together when I'm entertaining, while still having it look sophisticated and beautiful (and taste delicious, of course!). I'll show you how to elevate a simple cheese platter and vodka cocktail into an elegant (but easy to make) holiday spread!
Your serving trays don't need to be specifically for the "holidays". I love these elegant vintage Dorothy Thorpe antique trays from Heirloom Decor (a local shop here in Newport Beach that also sells online and ships nationwide) that work for the holidays and throughout the year. The trays' metallic, shimmery look adds a perfect touch of holiday elegance with none of that typical holiday cheese (no pun intended!). I mix the vintage trays with a round acacia wood platter from Target to add a rustic feel.
A cheese platter is always my go-to when entertaining. It's easy and delicious, and there's so many ways to play it up to the occasion with different flavors, colors, and textures. To add holiday flare, I include pops of red and green (scattered dried cranberries, herbed goat cheese, white stilton cheese with cranberries, and green cornichons). Rosemary marcona almonds and assorted crackers round out the platter. On the smaller serving dish, I serve holiday nuts and dark chocolate almond bark - it's never too early in the evening for a sweet treat during the holidays! Finish it all off with sprigs of rosemary to add a festive aroma and look.
Holiday Cocktails featuring Homemade
Cranberry-Vanilla Bean Infused Vodka
Homemade infused vodka is an easy way to really WOW your guests! It's relatively easy to make and can sit on your kitchen counter infusing doing all the work itself. For the holidays, I make a large quantity of cranberry-vanilla bean infused vodka (see recipe below) and use it throughout the season. Simply mix it with soda water and lime or use it to make an elegant seasonal martini! Your guests will be truly impressed when you serve them your homemade infused vodka :)
- 1 Liter of Vodka of Choice
- 1 Pound of Cranberries
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 1 Vanilla Bean, split
- 1 Orange Peel
- Cook cranberries on the stove with sugar and split vanilla bean until cranberries begin to pop
- While cranberries cook, peel orange and place the peel at the bottom of a large container (container to hold vodka while it infuses)
- Let cooked cranberry mixture cool
- Pour cranberry mixture and vodka into container on top of orange peel
- Store in a dark, cool place for at least 10 days to allow infusing to take place
- Once infused and ready to serve, strain the cranberry mixture leaving a clear dark red vodka