As temperatures drop and people huddle inside with the heater blasting, indoor winter parties can sometimes feel cramped. Why not embrace the chill of the season? This winter, think about hosting an outdoor party with warm décor, appetizer recipes and drinks.
Warming it up
Please let your guests know that this will be an outdoor party so they can dress appropriately. There are also things that you can do to keep your guests feeling cozy.
- Cover chairs with blankets so no one’s sitting on a chilled seat.
- Have a stack of blankets, wraps, or even pieces of fleece fabric available as an extra layer of warmth for guests.
- Rent propane heaters and place them around the patio, deck, or any outdoor space.
- Serve hot drinks like hot toddies, or hot cocoa.
- Have a bowl full of hand and foot warmers available.
- Fire up the grill. Yes, that’s right – they generate lots of warmth and make it easy to keep a supply of hot appetizer recipes on hand, like this one for Appetizer Pizzas from Taste Of Home:
- 9 flour tortillas
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- ½ cup chopped seeded tomato
- 1/3 cup sliced black olives
- ¾ cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
Brush one side of each tortilla with oil. Place oiled side down on grill rack. Grill, uncovered, over medium heat for 3-3 minutes or until puffed. Brush tortillas with oil, turn and top with other ingredients. Can be served with hummus.
Keeping it warm
If you’re going to keep people warm, the food and drinks you serve need to stay toasty. Use chafing dishes, hot trays, and crock pots for the food. Have a large thermos for storing cocoa, or other hot drinks, like this mulled wine from Ina Garten:
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 4 whole cloves
- 3 star anise
- 4 oranges, peeled – for garnish if desired
Combine the cider, honey, wine, cinnamon sticks, zest juice, cloves, and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Pout into mugs, add orange peel to each.
The look of winter
Create a festive winter wonderland by stringing many strands of white lights. Decorate in white and silver – even add a touch of blue or forest green. Use branches in vases to decorate tables and serve all drinks in mugs. Serve your appetizer recipes on plates that have a winter-themed design. Or, if you like the more rustic, ski-lodge look use plaid tablecloths or plaid pillowcases on chair backs.
Make sure that you have access to an indoor space to give folks a quick break from the chill. Good friends, and good food, warm drinks and a festive atmosphere will create a party anyone will warm up to.