In between the big holiday family gatherings, it’s always fun to host a little something with friends. It’s a great way to kick off the holiday spirit and celebrate friendships. This season, old school fun is trending and is a great theme for holiday parties. You don’t have to spend your Christmas budget on your get together- simply dedicate a bar or table to include some era appropriate food and decor and you’re good to go. We teamed up with BJ’s Wholesale Club to show off some of their fun retro themed offerings, and invited over some friends for a fun swank evening of cocktails and simple finger foods.
To keep entertaining simple, BJ’s offers these 5 Rules for Hosting a Successful Cocktail Party:
1 – Keep it simple. You don’t need a full bar. Just a classic cocktail (like BJ’s Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Nog a cool retro beer and a few era-appropriate soft drinks).
2 – Make sure there’s plenty of finger food. You don’t want guests ending up with lampshades on their heads!
3 – Get out of the kitchen. Cook no more than 2 or 3 easy-to-make dishes. The less you do, the more time you’ll have for guests and fun.
4 – Rock ‘n Roll. Create an oldies playlist that keeps things swinging.
5 – Relax and enjoy yourself. Even the host and hostess should have a blast from the past!
You’re Invited to a Mad Men Themed Cocktail Party….
To start, we went through our own cabinets to find any retro inspired platters or decor. Gold platters, black and gold ice bucket, a silver retro punch bowl, and an olive green runner were perfect. It was then time to head to BJ’s to pick up some easy finger foods to match the theme.
No vintage dishes? BJ’s Wholesale offers
a Premium Heavyweight Plastic Entertaining
Serving Trays with Tongs & Utensils Set ($12.99)
have the look without the price tag. You get 2 large
and 2 extra-large trays, PLUS a Reflections
stainless-look hostess set.
We decided on four fun finger foods that would appeal to everyone at the party:
Wellsley Farms Goat Cheese Bites-
Delish all on their own, these little bites were a big hit with everyone. Simply place a toothpick in each one on a platter, and they’re gone in seconds.
Classic Cocktail Franks-
Using Nathan’s Cocktail Franks, we made a fun sauce on the side in case some people wanted their franks plain. For the sauce:
Classic Cocktail Franks (Serves 24)
HANDS-ON TIME: 5 MIN. TOTAL TIME: 1 HR.
1 (2.625 lb.) pkg. Nathan’s
1 (44 oz.) bottle Heinz Ketchup
1 cup Welch’s Grape Jelly
2 cups chopped Fresh
1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. 2. Heat on LOW until
franks have plumped and are thoroughly hot. 3. Reduce cooker
to WARM or plate to serve. Serve with toothpicks or canapé forks.
Per Serving: 200 cal. • 10g fat • 5g protein
Cantaloupe and Citterio Prosciutto di Parma-
With a pound of prosciutto and a whole cantaloupe, we created these yummy bites. Simply cut small pieces of cantaloupe (can use a scoop to get the rounded shape) and add a piece of prosciutto with a toothpick. Done!
Wellsley Farms Swedish Meatballs-
Again, we opted for sauce on the side in case some guests wanted theirs plain, Swedish meatballs are always a hit at cocktail parties!
Swedish Meatballs (Serves 16)
PREP TIME: 10 MIN. COOK TIME: 15 MIN.
1⁄4 cup Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour
1⁄2 cup Land O’Lakes Half-and-Half
11⁄2 cups Beef Broth
3⁄4 – 1 Tbsp. Kikkoman Soy Sauce
3⁄4 tsp. Morton Table Salt
3⁄4 tsp. McCormick Ground Black Pepper
1⁄2 (5 lb.) pkg. Wellsley Farms Swedish
Meatballs, thawed in refrigerator
1. Add 1⁄4 cup of half-and-half to flour; stir until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan and add remaining half-and-half and broth.
2. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until sauce comes to a boil, 3 to 5 min. Continue cooking and stirring until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 1 more min. Season to taste with soy sauce, salt and pepper.
3. Add meatballs, cover and simmer on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are heated through. If sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water or broth.
4. Transfer meatballs and sauce to a slow cooker set to WARM and serve immediately.
“Could you keep it down, I’m trying to drink”
For the bar area, we framed a quote from Mad Men, took out some of our favorite high ball, flutes, and shot glasses and were ready for a sip. Cheers!
We opted to let our guests bring a bottle to add to our simple bar with champagne and vodka, but here is BJ’s recipe for a delish egg nog:
Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Nog (Makes 6 Servings)
HANDS-ON TIME: 30 MIN. TOTAL TIME: 21⁄2 HR. WITH CHILLING
4 Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs, separated
1⁄4 to 1/3 cup Domino Pure Cane Sugar (to taste)
2 cups Wellsley Farms Organic Whole Milk
1 cup Land O’Lakes Heavy Cream
3 oz. Dark Rum or Knob Creek Bourbon
1 tsp. nutmeg (pantry item)
1. Refrigerate egg whites in a clean metal bowl until needed. With an electric mixer, beat egg yolks on medium until they turn light yellow, 2 to 3 min.
2. Add sugar to taste, reserving 1 Tbsp., and continue mixing until sugar dissolves, 1 more min. 3. Bring milk and cream to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
4. Remove pan from heat. With mixer running, carefully pour about 1⁄2 cup of the hot liquid into the egg yolks. Scrape egg mixture into pan with a rubber spatula, stir and return to heat.
5. Cook, stirring, until a thermometer registers 160. ̊ Remove from heat and stir in rum and nutmeg. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours.
6. Just before serving, warm egg whites to room temperature by placing bowl in large bowl of hot tap water.
7. Beat egg whites with an electric beater until soft peaks form, about 3 to 4 min. Add 1 Tbsp. of sugar and beat until dissolved, about 30 sec. Whisk whites into yolk mixture. Serve immediately, topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
CHEF’S TIP: No time to make it from scratch? Pick up a carton of Egg Nog at the Club. Add whole milk, nutmeg and alcohol to taste and you’re ready
“Make it Simple, But Significant.”
It was so easy and fun to host this 60’s inspired cocktail party- and our friends left happy. It didn’t need to be over the top or expensive to host something fun for everyone. Using what we had paired with some simple finger foods from BJ’s Wholesale Club, the night was a success! For more information about BJ’s Wholesale Club or to plan your next themed gathering, visit www.bjs.com.
We were provided a gift card to facilitate this post and create our own retro themed gathering. As always, all opinions expressed are our own.