It’s hard to believe the holidays are right around the corner, but they are, and they’re coming fast! As we start to plan our holiday entertaining, consider skipping the formal dinner party and doing instead a themed Happy Hour…its easy, relaxed and can generally be thrown together in a pinch. Adding a theme gives the party some cohesiveness that can sometimes be missed when there’s no formal sit down and makes it much easier for planning or having your guests participate.
I of course like the southwest theme, it’s always a crowd pleaser and is easy to decorate….have the kids help make Luminaries (paper bag, sand, tea light) for the drive, throw a few brightly colored cloths on a table and add some rustic candles and a bowl of limes and you’re set! Following are a few of my favorite tips and easy recipes for a great holiday happy hour with an Arizona twist!
- Stock up on nice clear plastic wear when it’s on sale, it goes with every theme and guests really don’t mind disposable service.
- Plan on about 12 appetizer servings per guest for happy hour; three varieties for parties of 8-10, four or five for 12-18 and six to eight for anything larger. A serving might be three cocktail meatballs, a handful of chips with salsa, 2-3 crackers with cheese, etc. Remember, this isn’t dinner, so make sure your invite clearly states a start and end time
- Allow about 2 drinks person and provide plenty of water; a glass dispenser with cucumber and melon water is tasty and attractive
Happy Hour Menu
Various tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
Cream cheese and pepper jelly with crackers
Homemade beef or turkey chili in mini tortilla cups
Veggie tray with chipotle ranch dressing (include jicama, scallions and bell peppers)
Tequila Lime Shrimp Cocktail (seer shrimp on high, add a shot of tequila and squeeze of limeand simmer for 5 minutes, chill)
Green chili cheddar mini corn muffins
Fill blender with ice and add
1 cup of gold tequila
1/2 cup of orange liqueor or triple sec
1/3 can of frozen cranberry juice concentrate
1 T sugar
Handful of fresh cranberries (found in the produce section)
Fill to the top with margarita mix and blend well
Serve in a sugar-rimmed glass with lime garnish