Appetizer, Drink

Bourbon Goodness.

Bourbon Station

Beethoven had a birthday yesterday. What to do on Beethoven’s birthday? Have a bash complete with bourbon, fabulous food, and fantastic people…duh!

My bourbon love affair all started when I found an old bottle of bourbon from a party from year’s past. What to do with this bottle of bourbon? I started baking with it…adding it to peanut butter banana bread and various other cooking projects. And then the real trouble began.

When cooking with wine they say that you shouldn’t cook with something you wouldn’t drink. Well why is bourbon any different. So I started tasting it. On the rocks, room temperature, with cider, and seltzer. I was HOOKED! Who knew? The girl who loves wine loves bourbon? Really?! Really!

I had to share this goodness with others. So…a party date was set. A little menu was drawn up and signature cocktails were tested. Oh the testing..such fun! I didn’t have to look very far though. Tracy from Shutterbean had me covered! The two cocktails of the evening:

Mulled Vanilla Bean Cider…with a splash o’ bourbon

This was well received and I simply mulled together some spices, fresh vanilla beans, fresh orange slices and let it simmer away. People could add in bourbon to taste if they chose to.

Cocktail number two was a do it yourself mixing. I originally was going to make a pitcher of these up and then thought..why? Isn’t it more fun to try your hand at being a mixologist for a night? I wrote out the recipe card with the details:
Maple Bourbon Cider
from the fabulous Tracy @ Shutterbean
3 oz. bourbon
2 t. lemon juice
1 T. maple syrup
1/2 c. cider
Fill the shaker with ice. Add the goods. Shake (& dance). Pour into 2 glasses. Dash of cayenne pepper, optional. I had helpful hints for people everywhere…

You should do secret party rules. My secret party rule? Anyone who didn’t dance while shaking didn’t get another cocktail! There was a lot of dancing going on!

I had helpful hands that brought tasty appetizers…crab dip in tres chic round cups, sweet potato hummus with homemade corn chips, bourbon chili, cornbread muffins.

Not your Mamma’s Chili

Earlier that week I made up a bourbon chutney pineapple cheese spread, bourbon spiked blondies (with nuts, dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and espresso dark chocolate chunks), a salmon dip, and those cute pear cranberry walnut breads to give away as party favors.

Yes I know that is a lot of cooking in a short time period. And, sure, I was up late broiling salmon and making a dip, and making those cute pear breads after conducting my fabulous high school kids through their first concert of the year. This is real life..and I am oh-so- lucky!!! Of course it helps to find a balance for yourself. To eat healthy and stay hydrated…

Always test out your cocktails pre-party…

So…go take a break, grab a cocktail, relax and remember what the important things in life are. For me this is cooking up food with a heart full of love, calling up a few people, sharing laughs, memories and time together. Cheers to a beautiful, joyous, peaceful and love-filled holiday season!


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