The normal rule for appetizers is cold appetizers if a hot meal is served. Forget it. You are impressing your guests, not boring them. Epicurious has great suggestions for creative appetizers. Two that I have used in the professional capacity, yet that are cost-effective for home events, are Shrimp with Dill Butter and Fennel Soup served in espresso cups. (Hint: put the kids to work and have them butler pass this, or all of the appetizers, as guests arrive.)
Tip 5: Have a signature drink. Alcohol costs money. Don’t spend money buying expensive wines and high-end liquor. Save cash by offering only a few alcoholic choices. Of course, keep a fair amount of coffee and regular and diet soft drinks on hand as well. A signature drink is something you can offer directly to the guests and they won’t be so ready to ask for hard liquor. One great example of a signature drink is a Ruby Port Cobbler. It is easy to make, cost-effective, and the perfect holiday color. Of course, you change the name to “Tanya’s Cocktail” or “The Jones Family Punch," etc. It personalizes the drink and, again, makes it harder for the guest to turn it down and ask for a double shot of your best liquor. Just in case, keep beer on hand, too — but keep it domestic to save money.
Need help planning your event? Leave me your questions in the comments section and I will answer them in my next blog.