With festive parties abundant this time of year, it the perfect reason to celebrate the season and throw a fun cocktail party. The party can scale from half a dozen friends to an extravagant bash for fifty. Honesty by preference is the more intimate affair with 6 to 12 people in attendance. It gives me the opportunity to really socialize, converse and enjoy my guests. The idea of simply serving a signature cocktail as a starter then a variety of new and old world wines along with tasty bite sized delights is pure perfection in my book.
At the moment, I am in the final stages of planning such an event for next week. A long time friend is visiting over the holidays so why not host a celebratory cocktail party in her honor. The invitations have been sent, RSVP’s completed and the menu is nearly complete and now I just need to settle on the signature cocktail. I can hardly wait for next week. Quite frankly, one of my favorite parts of throwing a party is the planning and of course the actual event is the piece de resistance.
Among my favorite appetizer recipes to share with my guests is the Brie Cups with Grape Salsa, which pairs perfectly with the Grgich Hills Chardonnay. With the grape being the common denominator, the compliment of the wine and tartlet was a match made in heaven. These appetizers are super simple to make and pack a lot of flavor. I highly recommend that you make the grape salsa ahead of time, so the flavors have time to marry together. For the tart cups, I purchased Athens brand Mini Fillo Shells since they are simply perfect each time. If you are feeling creative, you could use store bought wonton skins. Simply brush with a bit of olive oil and place into a mini muffin tin. Cook at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes or until crispy golden brown.
If you are hosting a cocktail party soon, would love to hear about it!
Brie Cups with Grape Salsa
1 C. Red seedless grapes, cut in half
1/3 t. Salt
2 T. Green onion, finely chopped
1 T. Balsamic vinegar
2 T. Olive oil
1 t. Rosemary, finely minced
1 Small clove garlic, minced
6 Grinds of fresh ground pepper
30 Pre-made Athens mini phyllo shells
6 oz. Brie, rind removed
Preheat oven to 350.
Place the grapes and salt in to a food processor and pulse until grapes are coarsely chopped. Transfer to a strainer and let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. In a bowl, mix the green onions, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic pepper and strained grapes together. Let sit to marry the flavors together for at least 15 minutes.
To assemble, lay the 30 shells out onto a cookie sheet and place about ½ t. of brie in each cup and then about a half to full teaspoon of the grape salsa. Bake for about 5 minutes, until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.
Adapted from: Cocktail Food by Mary Corpening Barber & Sara Corpening Whiteford