Nice Spread: Throw A Holiday Party – Snowe

Holiday Handbook for Homebodies

Nice Spread

Throw A Holiday Party. 

A great holiday party feels like the ultimate open house—an elevated version of your raucous youth with a bounty of impossible-to-resist snacks like our revolutionary cheeseboard ideas, easy party cocktails, and no tacky tinsel in sight. But it can feel like a lot of effort to look that effortless. We’re here to make sure hosting a cocktail party at home doesn’t have to be a hassle. So mix up a few drinks, turn on the tunes and prepare to eat copious amounts of charcuterie.



Mix It Up

Here’s the thing—a gathering of all your regular friends isn’t really a party. Make sure you are shaking up your invite list. Intermingle former coworkers with college buds, neighbors with new pals. Tell people to bring plus ones. If it’s the usual suspects, guests might skip for the other game in town. 

 



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Nice Spread

You don’t need a full buffet. Wine and cheese is cocktail-appropriate, easy, and what most smart people want to eat for dinner anyway. Here’s how to make a cheeseboard that will have everyone thinking you should give up your life and become a professional monger: You want flavors that both complement and contrast. Think: hard vs soft cheeses, funky vs mild, cow vs goat, etc. Then make it feel more like dinner and less just dairy by adding colorful extras like:

  • Sweets: Chocolate, honeycomb
  • Snacks: Marcona almonds, pickles, olives
  • Fruits: Dried fruits, figs, Champagne grapes
  • Carbs: Breadsticks, toast, crackers
  • Meat: Prosciutto, sopressata, etc.

 

 

Tools of The Trade

When’s the last time you saw a bartender reach for an olive pitter? You don’t need a host of fancy gadgets. Skip single-use tools in favor of the essentials—a paring knife, a juicer, a shaker, a bar spoon, a jigger. With that arsenal, the only limit is your mind.

 

 

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Fully Stocked

Plan to replenish. Stash extras in the fridge (or in your pantry) in a place you can sneak to during the party so the cracker supply is always stocked. Imagine the delight on their faces when a second round of little apps comes out hours into the evening?  Be that hero.

 


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Don't Overserve

Quality over quantity. You don’t need 20 different cheeses, 10 different dips, or oodles of options for cocktails. No one thinks you are running a full bar and restaurant. Curate to only the most delicious hits (1 dip, 2 types of red, your edited cheeseboard, the very best popcorn).


 

Crack Up

Make sure whatever cheese you serve can actually be served. Face the wedge out so they can get to it. Put out knives for hard cheeses. For soft cheeses, the crackers need to be tough (or they need a spreader).

 

Light Right

There’s a reason they call it mood lighting. Parties live and die by the dimmer. Turn off the overhead, switch on the lamps, light a candle. If your friends look good in daylight, they’ll look even better in low light. Consider your apartment brightness the night before. Adjust as the evening goes on if you find the lighting makes you feel exposed.

 

 

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Open Sesame

Not everyone will arrive at once, so make sure latecomers aren’t punished. Put out plenty of plates so folks can serve themselves later (or OG guests can get seconds). If your friends have manners, wine or champagne will most likely appear as the evening goes on. An out-in-the-open-opener keeps you from being a literal bottleneck. 

 

 

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Scent Sational

You don’t want to overpower your food with an odor that feels too cloying, but since you aren’t cooking you can’t count on the oven to keep things fresh. A larger candle with a nice, light scent can double as both a centerpiece and mood-setter. The smell of your shindig is as important as the cocktail party music playlist (which we made for you on Spotify).

  

Zone Defense

The best parties have tons of food—and tons of places to eat them. Avoid a party pile up by sprinkling snacks throughout the space, a bowl of nuts here, some candies there. If you’re making a cheeseboard, make a mini version to put in another area. You’ll create little convo clusters and keep the whole party from ending up in your kitchen (at least right away).

 

Party Favors

Guests don’t expect a gift, but ‘tis the season: homemade granola, local coffee beans, or even a small mints gives them something to remember your shindig by. Or go analog with a polaroid. Have a sharpie nearby so they can jot notes or new friends’ numbers on their pics.

 

 

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Over The Top

Go above eats. Make your space feel extra welcoming. Give people a place to put their stuff that’s not just an unruly coat pile on the bed. Put clean towels in the bathroom. Have a phone cord they can plug into as they map the rest of their night. Borrow a coat rack or at least snag empty hangers to put in your closet.


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