Party Down

Watch out for eyes. Photo: iStockphoto

All in the FamilyWhat to serve:When all the fam’s around, Joe Bastianich and Jeff Zalaznick of the private-dining reservation site suggest good-luck foods like the Italian cotecchino, a sausage made of pork meat and rind.
Available at Florence Meat Market ($7.99/lb).

What to do: Celebrity stylist and TV personality Robert Verdi suggests a cookie-baking party. Prepare all of the ingredients in the afternoon, then over the course of the evening, bake and decorate several kinds of cookies. It’s all-ages, and the house will end up smelling delicious.
For baking supplies (including cookbooks, if you’re really starting from scratch), try Broadway Panhandler.

What to drink:For mixologist Jason Kosmas of Employees Only, the coziness of mulled red wine laced with citrus and spices is not only a good metaphor for family, it also produces an amazing holiday aroma. (View Recipe)

What to toast with: Rosemary Gray, manager of Chambers Street Wines, suggests the Champagne Brigandat NV Brut Réserve ($29.99) for its forward, generous style and ample red fruit quality.

Be creative with your own caviar spread. Photo: Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 via Wikimedia

Dinner for Two
What to serve: Joe and Jeff suggest Tsar Nicoulai Caviar “with all the appropriate fixins.”
Try with sour cream, capers, chopped onions, and buckwheat blinis. (View Blini Recipe)

What to do:Verdi suggests keeping things close to home with a couples massage.
For at-home spa services, try Spa Chicks on the Go. Services start at $250/hr.

What to drink:The experts agree: Rosé = romance. For your cocktail, Kosmas suggests the Secret Crush, made with Angostura bitters, Campari, and Rosé Champagne, served at Employees Only. (View Recipe)

What to toast with:Gray suggests the Soutiran NV Brut Rosé Grand Cru ($62.99), “an elegant Champagne with a delicate berry” that is “very dry and has exceptional finesse.”

This could be your party. Photo: Dan Goodwin's Flickr

Celebrating With FriendsWhat to serve: For a bit of nosh to soak up the booze, Joe and Jeff suggest keeping it to simple foods you can eat with your hands, like sandwiches or wings.
Try Atomic Wings for party platters starting at $73.99.

What to do:Save money by making the party a potluck, says Verdi. Give guests a theme to go by, like “Everything has to be green” or “Mexican food.” Guacamole, anyone?

What to drink: Because citrus is typically a wintertime fruit, Kosmos suggests a grapefruit gimlet, made with Charbay ruby red grapefruit vodka (available at Park Avenue Liquor Shop, $41), fresh lime juice, and agave nectar. Batch it in advance, or make a table tent with instructions, and leave the ingredients out with shakers and a jigger for guests to make for themselves. (View Recipe)

What to toast with: For something festive and unconventional, Gray suggests the Font I Jordana NV Cava Reserve ($19.99), emphasizing its nutty and complex flavors. Added bonus: It’s cheap!

Party Down