Dress Up Your Bubbly With 5 Quick and Easy Champagne Garnishes
When it comes to hosting, I’m all about making the party look like a million bucks without putting a significant amount of effort into it. Your company is likely coming because of you and those around you, so the food and drinks are just a bonus. Hence, today’s post: dressing up a store-bought bottle of champagne with tasty garnishes … in seconds. I’m serious. I prepped most of these the night before, then popped them in the glass right before our holiday party shoot. Voila! You’ll basically have five fun drink options for your guests right from one bottle.
Our Five Garnishes:
- Star Fruit
- Gold Sugar Sprinkles
- Candied Cranberries, Raspberries and Blueberries on Skewers
- Rosemary Sprigs and Pomegranate Seeds
- Rock Candy
Jason Kisner, 2013, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Keri sips on champagne garnished with rosemary and pomegranate, while Kristen drinks the party’s signature cocktail.
For the Star Fruit Garnish: Slice the star fruit while on its side into 1/2-inch thick slices, and then cut a slit halfway down the middle so the star can sit on the rim of the champagne glass.
For the Gold Sugar Sprinkles: Sprinkle gold sugar onto a plate. Wet the rim of each champagne glass, then dip into the sprinkles so the rim is entirely covered.
For the Candied Fruit Skewers: Skewer assorted fresh fruits (cranberries, blueberries, raspberries) on a small wooden stick. Rinse with water, then generously sprinkle with sugar. Freeze until ready to use.
For the Rosemary and Pomegranate: Sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds into the champagne, then top with a fresh sprig of rosemary.
For the Rock Candy: Put a rock candy stick or rock candy crystals (any flavor you desire) into a champagne glass. Pour champagne over the rock candy in the glass. Watch the drink fizzle and the color change. Soon, the drink will take on a sweet, candy-like taste.
Get more ideas from our holiday bar:
Make a List
Perhaps the ultimate way to create a stress-free holiday is to live by a list. Plan ahead, and don't be afraid to delegate. "Know what you're capable and comfortable doing and give other people things to do," says Kathy Gunst, culinary expert and author of Relax, Company's Coming! and co-author of Stonewall Kitchen Harvest. Asking guests to help with a party-related task makes them feel more involved, so never be afraid to ask.
You'll never run out of nibbles if you shop with an aim to entertain. Stock your pantry with a selection of cookies and crackers. Consider purchasing nuts in bulk — which can be mixed together, tossed with maple syrup and cooked in a pan until they caramelize, Kathy says. Serve them with drinks or chop and scatter around a cheese platter. Long-lasting jarred tapanades and pestos make an impressive dip when mixed with fresh sour cream.
Deck the Halls
Monica Gullon, former caterer, food editor and frequent entertainer, suggests going with the unexpected. "Bowls of vintage ornaments (from your family's collection or a flea market) grouped by color or glass bowls filled with white twinkle lights can both look striking. Or place a bare branch in a vase and hang small ornaments from it."
As for your exterior, you don't need a house encrusted in twinkle lights to make an impact. Try a single stand-out wreath, potted evergreens, or a big bow on the front door.
Keep It Tidy
The best holiday host isn't necessarily the one who lives in the world's cleanest house. Got one messy room? Just close the door and turn off the lights and guests won't go in. A touch of clutter? Consider keeping one bin or drawer empty to sweep papers into when unexpected guests arrive. You can save your filing for when the party is over.
For a casual holiday party, don't feel compelled to seat guests around a dinner table. If you've got a lot of company, a buffet may be a better way. "Buffets are the most efficient way to serve a lot of people, but be sure to pull the table away from the wall so that there are four sides available to people, otherwise lines form and people can't get to the food easily," Kathy says.
Add Joyful Sounds
Set the mood with a homemade CD or computer playlist of holiday songs. It's easy to make and you'll get to hear your favorite mix of seasonal tunes. Remember to keep the music low — conversation is what counts at any celebration, writes caterer extraordinaire Sheila Lukins in her party-themed cookbook Celebrate.
Try to avoid musical selections with lyrics during the dinner hour, which causes competition between the lyrics and the scintillating dinner conversation that could go unheard.
Open Your House
Too many friends and family to host at one time? Have an open house and let them know they can drop by any time between certain hours on one special day. Your guests will appreciate the flexibility and you'll gain quality time with the ones you love.
Gunst says the secret is preparing foods that can be done well ahead of time. That way, "When the doorbell rings for the first time, you're ready." Open houses work best when there are lots of smaller dishes to bring out throughout the day or evening as opposed to one huge main course, she adds. That way your buffet is always fresh.
Be a Graceful Giver
Store a few extra gifts in a closet and you'll never be caught off-guard when a friend springs an unexpected gift-exchange; try to collect items for all ages and a few gift bags in holiday colors. If you make a practice of picking up items as you stumble upon them throughout the year, it'll be easier when the season comes around.
Consider buying in bulk — divide one case of good red wine or champagne or prettily wrapped portions of quality tea or coffee. Or do some extra baking. Double that cake recipe or cookie confection and you'll have freshly baked gifts ready to go. While a fruit cake may not be everyone's favorite, no one will turn up their nose at a sweet tin of homemade cookies — an inexpensive gift that never fails to impress.
Wrap It Up
Gullon suggests wrapping all of your gifts in one signature style — saving time and creating a finished appearance. "Any solid wrapping paper will look elegant with fancy satin ribbon or cord." Simple can be chic — and it allows you to add gift tie-ons and tags tailored to the recipient's interest.
And don't overlook the power of a creative container. Everything from Chinese take-out containers to fabric remnants (illusion, organza) can help wrap gifts that are irregular in size or shape.
Your Holiday, Your Way
We all know the value of family traditions and the sense of comfort they impart. However, sometimes breaking from old traditions can save your sanity; living up to Grandma's years of holiday handiwork is hard work. Keep the best, ditch the rest. Going around the room and sharing favorite holiday memories can be just as meaningful as singing every song in the holiday songbook if piano time has grown tedious over the years. "Every holiday season offers a new chance to start your own traditions," Gullon says, so be creative.