holiday cookie & cocktail party

sss-absolut-holiday-2sss-absolut-holiday-105 Holiday entertaining has to be my favorite kind of entertaining. For some it might feel like there’s added pressure, but I think it actually takes the pressure off! Throw a few wreaths on the wall and you’ve got yourself some instant festive decor and what other time of year is more fitting to throw a cookie party? This year I did both and gathered a few friends to say SKAL (or “cheers” for you non-Scandinavian folk) to the holidays with Absolut Elyx.

While cookie noshing and cocktail sipping I came up with a few tips and tricks to take the stress out of holiday entertaining (to make sure I am able to enjoy a party along with my guests) while still pulling together a few instagram worthy moments, of course.

christmas cookie and cocktail party // sarah sherman samuelchristmas cookie and cocktail party // sarah sherman samuel

1. Simplify the Decor:
First, I like to clear away any clutter and start with a clean slate. Then, one easy way to make a big impact is to replace your year-round art with a simple seasonal piece (or pieces). I took down the two large art prints that hung in the space and replaced it with 5 simple wreaths, which I DIYed in almost no time using wood embroidery hoops and fresh greenery. Just wrap individual pine boughs and leafy branches around the hoop with floral wire and you’ve got yourself a modern little wreath. I used the same greenery to make a tabletop garland which anchors the cookie buffet. Using just greenery is a lot easier than attempting a complicated floral arrangement and it brings a seasonal touch… win/win.

sss-absolut-holiday-63sss-absolut-holiday-13sss-absolut-holiday-932. Streamline the menu by creating a food based theme:
Cookie party! You can’t get much easier than a cookie party. I love baking so I made a few batches from scratch but to make sure I wasn’t stretched too thin, I mixed them in with a boat load of store bought ones as well. Execute a beautiful cookie buffet by utilizing serving dishes or cake stands at different heights. Stick with one cookie type per cake stand to keep it from looking cluttered.

sss-absolut-holiday-70sss-absolut-holiday-42For added ambience, save one batch of dough in the fridge and bake them as guests arrive to fill the space with the fresh baked cookie scent and if your friends are the crafty type you can have a cookie decorating station as a fun activity. Find those cute reindeer cookie cutters in the Elyx Boutique.

Another way to simplify the menu is to offer one (or two) signature drinks. You certainly don’t have to offer a full bar. Choose your favorite cocktail and make a batch right before guests arrive.

sss-absolut-holiday-84sss-absolut-holiday-48sss-absolut-holiday-79 I made two cocktails for this party because I thought one paired with the cookies well and the other was just too pretty not to! The first is the cookie’s best friend, called the “snow bunny” (pictured above).

SNOW BUNNY RECIPE:
2 parts Absolut Elyx
1 part Kahlua
0.5 part white crème de cacao
2 parts half and half

Combine ingredients together in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake hard until ice cold. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with freshly ground nutmeg.

Next up is the “holiday cosmo”…

sss-absolut-holiday-100sss-absolut-holiday-90sss-absolut-holiday-55sss-absolut-holiday-94See, I told you… SO PRETTY right? p.s. I substituted the redcurrant in the garnish for cranberries.

HOLIDAY COSMO RECIPE:
2 parts Absolut Elyx
1 part Triple Sec
1.5 parts Mulled Spiced Cranberry Juice*
0.5 part Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

Combine ingredients together in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake hard until ice cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a string of redcurrants dusted with powdered sugar

*mulled spiced cranberry juice- There are many recipes for creating a ‘mulled’ juice or wine. Based on using a 1litre carton of cranberry juice I suggest a combination of 1 sliced lemon and 1 sliced orange plus the zest from 2 additional fruits combined with fresh grated ginger, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon-all to your taste. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer for around 45 minutes. Be careful not to boil. Strain and chill well before use. Store in the refrigerator and the juice will last for around 1 week. For best results prepare mulled spiced cranberry juice at least 24hrs in advance

sss-absolut-holiday-52sss-absolut-holiday-46sss-absolut-holiday-443. And finally… cheers! have a drink and relax. Remember you’re not striving for perfection but concentrate on having fun and showing a bit of yourself in the decor. Spend the time laughing over cocktails, not fretting over too many details.

Shop the Post:

Absolut Elyx can be purchased at https://www.reservebar.com/vodka/absolut-elyx // Copper Coupes, Rocks Glasses, Copper Jiggar, and Copper Cookie Cutters can all be purchased at www.ElyxBoutique.com

My dress by Self Portrait // Shoes // Copper Vases // Tray from West Elm // Measuring Cups // Napkin // Rolling Pin by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Images by Nicki Sebastian

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