It's all about the booze and the bites.

By Sara Tane and Sara Tane
Updated November 10, 2017
Credit: Sara Tane

As we enter end-of-year territory, that means one thing and one thing only—it’s entertaining season. From Friendsgiving to potlucks to cocktail parties, you’re going to want to have some easy starters, snacks, and big-batch cocktails lined up for all of the upcoming festivities. Of course, easy, low-effort recipes that are sure to impress are the name of the game. We’re not interested in breaking the bank or our literal backs to get a sophisticated, exciting appetizer on the table. Here are our favorite seasonal bites and drinks that I have every intention of serving up this holiday season.


Spicy-Sweet Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Spicy-Sweet Bacon Wrapped Shrimp image

Spicy-Sweet Bacon Wrapped Shrimp image

With only 6 simple ingredients and requiring less than 30 minutes to make, this is the kind of appetizer that I can definitely get behind. It’s fun to serve, makes your home smell delicious, and, I mean, who doesn’t love something wrapped in bacon?

Everything Cream Cheese Jalapeno Poppers

Everything Cream Cheese Jalapeño Poppers image
| Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Blakeslee Giles; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Everything Cream Cheese Jalapeño Poppers image Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Blakeslee Giles; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Everything spice is still a thing, and it’s not going away anytime soon. That said, your guests are sure to love it in this savory, highly-addictive finger food. Topped with bacon, smoked salmon, and crispy fried onions, this starter scratches every itch, so what more could you need?

Baked Brie with Pumpkin Maple Sauce

Credit: Sara Tane

Sara Tane

There’s nothing that feels quite as festive during a holiday party than a wheel of baked Brie wrapped in puff pastry. Honestly, it’s probably an essential. Guests can dunk crackers, shortbread cookies, or chips into the ooey-gooey masterpiece, and finish off their scoop with a drizzle of fruit jellies or toasted nuts. BOOM.

Roasted Figs with Goat Cheese, Honey, and Pepper

Credit: Photo: Romulo Yanes; Styling: Megan Hedgpeth

Real talk—if your guests weren’t at your cocktail party they’d definitely be at home, wrapped up in a cozy blanket. Eating this warm puddle of melty, savory-sweet happiness is probably the closest your guests can get to feeling like they’re cuddled up in bed. The best part? All you need to do is gather the ingredients in a cast-iron, and toss it in the oven. You got this. Now, where the baguettes at?

Smoked Salmon Dip

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Jan Gautro

Listen to me, and listen to me very closely. Everyone loves dip. And anyone who dislikes such a party staple, frankly, shouldn’t be at your shindig. Okay, that’s kinda harsh, but every good cocktail party should definitely offer some type of dip situation. I love this sophisticated smoked salmon dip because all you need to do is dump all your components into the bowl of a food processor and give her a whirl.


Cran-Raspberry-Vanilla Punch

Credit: Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

You know what’s a really great thing? Raspberry sorbet. In this simple yet elegant holiday punch, let the magic of the freezer aisle’s best kept secret do its thing. This is a super easy nonalcoholic option, but we’re not opposed to the idea of adding some hard liquor to it either… #Just #Saying

Rosemary Collins

Credit: Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Remember, people... We’re going for simple and seasonal, here. This easy gin mixed drink definitely fits the bill. Not to mention, that rosemary sprig garnish is fresh and festive AF, you bartender you.

Whisky Sour Punch

Credit: Photo: Marcus Nilsson; Styling: Robyn Glaser

Bourbon drinkers, we hear you and we salute you. Served with some fresh citrus juice and bubbles, this simple cocktail punch is an easy drink to scale up for a big batch, and tasty enough for a crowd to enjoy. Happy sipping!