Cocktail Parties, Entertaining, Holidays

How to Create the Perfect Place Setting

Perfect Place Setting

Easter is right around the corner and you may be wondering how to properly set your dining table.  Because you know there is always one guest who is going to judge (probably your mother-in-law). Seriously though, setting the table in an eye-catching way will make a beautiful presentation for your Easter dinner or any other gathering you may have in the future.

If you are like me you err more on the casual side when it comes to setting the table for dinner.  Actually, we are really relaxed around here…with our busy schedules we barely get 1 or 2 meals a week together as a family and alot of those are just grab it off the stove and go sit at the table type of affairs.  However, every once in awhile I will properly set the table for a basic everyday dinner.  Just follow the guide in the picture below and you will be all set!

Basic Table Setting

Now, if you are having a little dinner party you can go a bit fancier than what is pictured above.  And adding a nice centerpiece will accent your table beautifully.  Below is pictured a step above the casual table setting.

Casual Setting

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Ok, now on to the fancy schmancy table setting.  I don’t think I would ever need anything as complex as this one, but then again most of our meals involve paper plates sooo….Ha! Ha!  But just in case you decide to channel your inner Martha Stewart below is the Formal table setting.

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To be honest, if I am eating a meal that requires that many utensils and plates had best be served to me rather than me serving it.

If you are in the mood to add some cool retro high-quality wine glasses to your table setting you should check out these beautiful aqua wine glasses.  The etched detail is stunning and will look fabulous for Easter dinner or any spring or summer dinner party.

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Wow!  I may just set the table for dinner tonight.  And I think I will skip the paper plates and go for the everyday dinner plates that are in my kitchen cupboard somewhere.

Until Next Time,

Kathie

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Cocktail Parties, Entertaining, Holidays, Mid Century Modern, Uncategorized

5 Hangover Remedies from Years Gone By…

 

 

So, was your New Year’s Eve quiet and tame or rowdy and full of good cheer?  If you had a bit too much celebration and are feeling the effects of the dreaded hangover here are 5 hangover cures from years gone by that may just still work!

1.  Hangover Heaven

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Ok, this looks more like a scary Halloween costume than a hangover remedy, but famous makeup man, Max Factor, created this face mask in 1947.  When first created, this mask was meant for actresses to use between takes on movie sets to cool their faces from the hot studio lights.  However, a few hard-partying Hollywood types soon took it over to use as a hangover cure.  The plastic ice cube shaped squares were filled with water and it was kept in the freezer until use.

2.  Onion Soup Hangover Remedy

 

The onion soup hangover remedy was all the rage back in 1935.  In the above video you can see step by step how to cook this stuff up and it’s pretty yummy to eat too! It’s hydrating and the vitamin B in the onions is good for you.

3.  Tarrant’s Seltzer Aperient

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Tarrant’s Seltzer Aperient was popular back in the 1840’s right into the 20th century. It was described as an effervescing powder containing bicarbonate of soda, tartaric acid, and potassium.  And while it did probably help get some fluids and minerals back into the body, it wasn’t a full proof cure, obviously, or we would all have it stocked in our cabinets today.  However, back then it was still being “kind to men who have tried to drink the town dry in one night.”

4.  Quaff-Aid

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Quaff-Aid was the hangover cure in the 1950’s.  The perfect hostess was encouraged to have these on hand so that you could “assure yourself and friends a pleasant time and a pleasant tomorrow…”  Basically, these little “Mighty-Mites” as they were called were brewer’s yeast that was rich in minerals and B-complex vitamins. It was so popular it even came in a convenient party pack.

5.  Brenda Frazier’s Hangover Bar Cure

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Brenda Frazier, the original celebutante, had a bar dedicated to hangovers at her 1938 coming out party at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City.  The head banquet man Adolphe Jeantet created the cure that guests clamored for.  A bottle of chilled Coca-Cola was shaken and then squirted into a glass of cold milk.  One sip and a nice long nap and you were good to go!

So, there you have it a look back at some of the old-timey hangover cures from years gone by.  What’s your favorite hangover remedy?

Until Next Time,

Kathie

Christmas, Cocktail Parties, Entertaining, Holidays, New Year's Eve, Recipes, Thanksgiving

15 Fabulous Cocktails You Must Make This Holiday Season

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By now you probably have your Christmas dinner menu planned, but have you thought about what cocktails to have?  If not, don’t sweat it! I’ve compiled some of the most delicious and unique cocktails for you.  Because let’s face it…sometimes the only thing that gets you through dinner at the in-laws is a steady supply of alcohol!

Christmas Cocktails

1. Blackberry Ombre Sparkler from thecookierookie.com

This festive cocktail is perfect for the holidays and I just love the name!  Sort of like a mimosa, this would be perfect for sipping while opening gifts on Christmas morning.

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2.  CRANBERRY LIMONCELLO SPRITZER COCKTAIL from thesnappygourmet.com

Quick and easy to make this cocktail will wow your guests!

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3.  White Chocolate Snowflake Martini from Lulus.com

This cocktail looks so yummy and will add a touch of sophistication to your cocktail display!

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4.  Christmas Punch from sugarandsoul.co

This Christmas Punch recipe can be made with rum or vodka or keep it kid friendly and skip the alcohol!

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5. CRANBERRY CLOVE SPARKLING MARGARITA from suchthespot.com

Both tart and sweet this holiday cocktail will soon become part of your holiday traditions!

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6. Sparkling Christmas Cosmo from happyhealthymotivated.com

Light and flavorful, this cocktail will please everyone – even those guests who aren’t big drinkers.

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7. Santa Claus-Mopolitan from BlueRibbonKitchen.com

Oh my this cocktail looks so gorgeous!  And it’s the perfect signature drink for your holiday parties.

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8. Jack Frost Cocktail from theblondcook.com

Sweet and tropical this cocktail adds a yummy twist on holiday drinks.

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9.  The North Pole Cocktail from halfbakedharvest.com

Vodka, Kahlua, and chocolate syrup?  Um yes, please!

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10.  Cranberry and Cinnamon Whiskey Sour from Bakerbynature.com

A yummy twist on an old classic.

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So, these should get you through Christmas, but what about New Year’s Eve you ask?  Don’t worry we have you covered!

New Year’s Eve Cocktails

11. Tart cranberry gin sparklers from hollyandflora.com

 

 

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12. Sparkling Holiday Flirtini from Thecookierookie.com

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13. New Year’s Eve Champagne Punch from sugarandsoul.co

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14.  Cake Batter Martini from thenovicechef.com

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15.  New Years Eve Champagne Cocktails from Suziesweettooth.com

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There you have it!  15 fabulous cocktails to take you through the entire holiday season!  Let us know which ones you tried and which ones were your favorites.

Until Next Time,

Kathie

Christmas, Cocktail Parties, Entertaining, Holidays, Mid Century Modern, Recipes

6 Steps to a Fabulous Retro Holiday Cocktail Party!

Holiday Cocktail Party

‘Tis the season for awesome Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties! If you love the 1950s and 1960s, can’t get enough of Mad Men, and would love to show off your Mid-Century Modern decorations, you should throw a Mid-Century Modern Christmas or New Year’s Eve cocktail party. Here are some suggestions on how you can throw a Mid-Century modern themed party:

  1. Set the tone right away with the invitations you send.

Here are some e-vites that will help set the tone for the party. Be sure to mention on the invitation that it will be a themed party. Since it is close to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, here are some e-vites you can send out quickly from paperlesspost.com

2. Decorate for the holidays and within your theme

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Since you are having a cocktail party, guests will be using barware and glasses, so consider updating your glassware and buy new items that will fit in with your theme. Here are some beautiful ideas for toasting at midnight on new year’s eve.

3. Serve drinks, appetizers, and desserts in the theme

photo credit: classic_film via photopin cc
photo credit: classic_film via photopin cc

Find some fabulous themed recipes online that will take your retro party up a notch! Here are some Mad Men-style retro cocktails that will be perfect.  And here are some recipes that you can make to accompany the cocktails you serve from Food Network.

And here are some tips for creating perfect cocktails from a previous post. Oh and this is a must read as well.  Tips on how to style your bar cart!

4. Play music in the background that fits your retro theme

photo credit: classic_film via photopin cc
photo credit: classic_film via photopin cc

Music is amazing for helping to set the mood for a party. Play songs like “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “The Chipmunk Song,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and “Christmas.” Make a playlist on iTunes, Spotify, or YouTube so you can start the music and keep the music going all night.

5. Play a classic Christmas movie

photo credit: tom-margie via photopin cc
photo credit: tom-margie via photopin cc

If you want to add extra ambiance, you could also have a Christmas movie from the 1950’s or 1960’s playing in the background. White Christmas (1954) and Babes in Toyland (1961) would be great choices. This will help put people in a holiday mood, and it will also give your guests something to do and to talk about.

6. Play some games

photo credit: freeloosedirt via photopin cc
photo credit: freeloosedirt via photopin cc

When the mingling dies down, create some excitement by playing vintage games. Pull out a deck of cards and play a good ol’ fashioned card game. Or look on eBay for classic board games like Yahtzee, Battleship, or Dominoes.

We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season full of good cheer and vintage merriment!

Until Next Time,

Kathie

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Entertaining, Holidays, Organization

Epicurious Drinks Basics

I was wasting time on youtube the other day – come on now, you know you waste time on there too! Seriously, you can loose hours on there.

Anyhoo, I came across this video from Epicurious that has some fabulous ideas on how to stock and set up a home bar for your next bash.

 

Until next time,

Kathie

Entertaining, Holidays

Happy Cinco de Mayo

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Copyright: nadezdagrapes / 123RF Stock Photo

Happy birthday to my daughter Linnea!

Wait.  What?

Yes, my newly 14 year old daughter shares her birthday with the Cinco de Mayo celebration.  Which is kinda cool don’t you think?  I’m pretty sure she will enjoy it more as she gets older (21 and older).  It’s like a built-in party on your birthday!

Cinco de Mayo means the 5th of May.   The holiday commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory in 1862 over the french at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican war. And while it is celebrated in Mexico it isn’t a federal holiday.  Actually it’s a pretty minor affair for our neighbors to the south.  It is celebrated in Puebla with parades, speeches and re-enactments of the battle.

Within the United States Cinco de Mayo has taken on a much broader meaning.  This is the day we get to celebrate the Mexican culture and heritage.  The day is celebrated with parades, mariachi music, parties, fabulous Mexican cuisine, and of course cocktails!

Chicago has one of the larges Cinco de Mayo celebrations with events and an abundance of Mexican restaurants dishing out their yummy food.

You can have your own Cinco de Mayo celebration right in your own backyard.  Mix up some margaritas, make some tacos and enjoy the evening with good friends.

Christina on the It is a Keeper blog has some fabulous easy to make Cinco de Mayo recipes.  Oh and she has cocktail recipes too.  Be sure to check it out. Best Cinco de Mayo Recipes.

So go ahead and have a margarita today – it’s the least you can do to help celebrate Mexican heritage!

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Until next time,

Kathie

Entertaining

20 Tips on How to Mix A Perfect Cocktail

Armanetti Liquors or Armanetti Beverage Marts as they are now known are one of Chicagoland’s leaders for providing fine wine and spirits.  I came across an old Mixology booklet from them at a local flea market a few months back.  I’m guessing it to be from the 50s or 60s as the phone number on the back contains a 2 letter extension before the numbers.

Of course there are tons of fabulous cocktail recipes, but there is also a section of Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Mixing.

I thought I would share them here!

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

 

Cocktail Do's and Don'ts

 

  1. Do use a jigger (1 1/2 ounces) when measuring your liquor.  Don’t rely on your eye

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2. Do Measure all ingredients exactly.  Don’t guess, you may spoil the drink.

3.  Don’t shake when you should stir and don’t stir when you should shake.  Each has it’s own meaning.

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4.  When possible, do chill your cocktail glasses before serving.  Serving drinks ice cold will improve their taste. A perfect way to do this is find some freezable glasses like these:41bQub6h2mL

Or if you really want to chill all of your glasses and add some professionalism to your home bar you could get a glass chiller:

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5.  You can frost your glasses by wetting them before putting them in the freezer.  Sugar frosted glasses should be rimmed with a slice of lemon and dipped in a saucer of fine sugar, then into the freezer.

6.  Don’t change your order of ingredients.  It should always be ice first, then whiskey, then mix.

7.  Slice or squeeze fruit just before using.  Fruit and juices go stale when left to stand, even when refrigerated.

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8.  Fresh fruit juice always makes a drink better than canned juice.

9.  For small parties, you can make enough of your own juice by emptying your trays well in advance, into clear plastic bags.  The bags should then be placed in the freezer.

To add a little fun to your parties include a themed ice tray or find a spherical ice tray such as these I found on Amazon.

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These Tiki Ice molds are perfect for parties with a beach or luau theme!

Or try these spherical ice trays to make round ice!

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10.  Ice should be taste free and crystal clear.  Avoid using ice that has been exposed to foreign odors.  For larger parties it is best to obtain ice from and ice machine or ice company.

11. Don’t make the second drink with the same ice cubes.

12. Do strain your cocktails, unless otherwise indicated, but don’t use silver, use a wire strainer.

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13. Don’t keep drinks in your cocktail shaker. The drink will taste flat if the ice is allowed to melt in it.

14. Don’t fill cocktail glasses more than three-quarters of the way.

15. Don’t let spirited drinks sit in metal containers for any length of time.

16. Don’t stir carbonated drinks vigorously or you will encourage them to go flat.

17. Do soak lemons in cold water to get more juice and for easier squeezing.

18. Don’t stir a drink containing a lot of ice too much. You might dilute it too much.

19. Do dissolve sugar in a little water before mixing it in the drink.

20. Do – enjoy the fruits of your labor!

How do you mix a perfect cocktail?  I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

Until next time,

Kathie