A Holiday Cocktail Party

Candy Cane Cocktail

©Evan Sklar 2009

Evan Sklar 2009

Nothing brings people together around the holidays quite like good food and drinks. Whether you’re hosting a Saturday night cocktail party, an after-work soiree or a casual get-together with your friends, a few festive cocktails, bite-sized snacks and good cheer are all you need to ensure your gathering goes off without a hitch. Food Network Magazine caught up with Chopped host Ted Allen and asked him what makes his Holiday Happy Hour such a success.

Instead of sweating it out over the stove, Ted suggests making simple dishes that can be cooked in the oven instead. "And serve a few dishes that work at room temperature. You'll spend less time in the kitchen and more time eating and drinking with your friends," he says. As for drinks, Ted prefers crimson-colored Due Campari Nuovo cocktails from Food Network Magazine, complete with bubbly prosecco and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Go behind the scenes at Ted’s party and read more about his secrets to holiday entertaining. Then check out below some of our favorite holiday-themed cocktail recipes and easy appetizers for a stress-free celebration.

A slightly sweetened cocktail, this Candy Cane Cooler (pictured above) features a crush candy cane, mint-infused vodka, a mix of Benedictine, brandy and a splash of half-and-half for extra creamy indulgence. Garnish with a peppermint stick for tasty stirring.

Similar to a pina colada, this Coconut Snowball Martini from Food.com combines coconut-flavored rum, vanilla vodka and silky cream of coconut to make a white and snowy sipper.

Food 2 mixes a simple Pomegranate Holidate Cocktail, boasting Pama (pomegranate-flavored liqueur) and cranberry and pineapple juices. Leave out the Pama to make it a virgin drink and share with your youngest guests.

For a warm glass filled with fragrant seasonal flavors, make this Spiced Cabernet (pictured above) from Cooking Channel. Dave Lieberman gently simmers Cabernet Sauvignon, cloves, cinnamon and a juiced orange to create this cozy cocktail.

Easy Party Appetizers:

Browse Food Network’s Holiday Central for more seasonal eats.

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