Prepare to welcome the New Year by hosting a few friends for a cocktail hour before you attend a big event, or have an evening in with some yummy appetizers and drinks. Try these winter-inspired drinks and appetizers with flavors of the season. And the great thing about a lot of these recipes is that you can prepare many of the ingredients ahead of time.
We shopped at both the grocery store and local farmers’ market to get the items for these recipes to get everything as fresh and organic as possible. When cooking with just a few ingredients, it’s important that the items are in season since they will take center stage.
Persimmon Champagne Cocktails
Serves about 10-15 people
Toast to the New Year with this unique champagne cocktail. The bright orange is a fun and festive color, and the taste of the persimmon adds a little something extra to basic champagne. Inspired by the blog swoonedmagazine.com.
- 3 bottles champagne
- Persimmon puree (6 organic persimmons, 1 cup organic pure cane sugar, 3 cups water)
1. Wash persimmons with Fruit & Veggie wash, then slice off the tops and cut the fruit into slices. Save a few for garnishing the champagne glasses.
2. Add persimmons, water, and sugar to a pot. Bring to a boil and cover, turning down the heat to medium, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 10 minutes until persimmons can easily be pierced with a fork. Let cool for a few minutes, then puree in a high-powered blender for about 30 seconds.
3. Pour into a heat-safe mug or dish to let cool.
4. Once the persimmon mixture has cooled, spoon a couple teaspoons into each champagne glass. Pour in champagne and garnish with a persimmon slice.
Pear Ginger Cocktails
This cocktail combines the spicy flavor of ginger with the mild flavor of pear.
- Tonic or soda water
- Ginger simple syrup (organic pure cane sugar, ginger)*
- Organic pear puree (organic pure cane sugar, 2 organic pears)**
- Vodka (organic, if possible)
1. Spoon a tablespoon of pear puree into a glass, add 3 teaspoons ginger simple syrup, 1 1/2 shots of vodka, as much soda or tonic water as you prefer, plus a handful of ice. Stir.
*To make the ginger simple syrup: Peel about a 2-inch piece of ginger, slice it into chunks and add it to a saucepan with 2 parts water to one part sugar. We used 1 cup of organic pure cane sugar with 2 cups water. Bring mixture to boil. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. This should result in a medium-thick syrup. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the pan from the stove to let it cool. The longer you boil a sugar syrup, the thicker it becomes, so if you have a heatproof container, pour it into the container to let it cool. Leave the ginger in while it cools to impart even more flavor into the syrup.
To make the pear puree: Wash, peel, and slice pears into 1-inch chunks. Add to a pot with 2 cups water and 3/4 cup sugar. Bring to boil, cover, and turn down the heat to medium. Boil for 5-8 minutes, then let cool for about 10 minutes before blending it in a high-powered blender. Pour into a heatproof container and let cool.
This winter appetizer uses produce of the season, like hearty parsnips, beets, and potatoes. You could also use turnips and other root vegetables. Feel free to mix-and-match the veggies on each piece of bread for an eclectic and colorful plate. This recipe was inspired by the blog Flowersonmyplate.
- Organic rye bread
- 2 organic red beets
- 2 organic yellow beets
- 1 large organic sweet potato
- 1 large organic yellow onion
- 2 organic parsnips
- 8 ounces organic goat cheese
- Rosemary (for garnish)
1. Wash and peel beets, sweet potato, and parsnips. Slice beets and arrange them in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with sea salt and about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat. Cover and roast at 375 for about 40 minutes. Next, slice sweet potato and parsnips. Toss in a small amount of olive oil and sea salt. Roast on a cookie sheet alongside the beets for about 20 minutes.
2. Next peel and slice the onion into large pieces. Saute with about a 1 tablespoon olive oil for 20 minutes until onions become soft and slightly caramelized. Turn down the oven to about 350.
3. Slice bread into about 3/4 inch slices, spread with a generous amount of goat cheese. Top with beets, sweet potato, parsnips, and onion slices.
4. Arrange on a baking sheet and stick into the oven for about 10 minutes until bread and cheese are warm.
5. Serve on a platter. Use rosemary to line tray as a garnish if desired.
Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates
This is a great recipe to make for a large crowd of guests because not only is this combo of flavors absolutely delicious, but it’s a good recipe for a wide-range of dietary restrictions including gluten-free and vegetarian (if you buy vegetarian goat cheese).
Serves about 10-15
- 8 oz. goat cheese
- About 60 Medjool dates, pitted
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Use a paring knife to slice all the dates lengthwise, and place them on a baking sheet.
3. Use a small spoon or cheese knife to fill each date with goat cheese.
4. Bake for 5-7 minutes so cheese can soften.
5. Serve immediately.
What cocktails and appetizers do you make for New Years Eve? Tell us in the comments.