An Elegant and Easy Holiday Cocktail Party

The holiday season is all about getting together with family and friends.  Have guests over for a no fuss – no stress cocktail party.  Serve a festive cocktail and a couple elegant but easy to make appetizers for a memorable party for you and your guests.






I have added a video so you can cook along with me because cooking together is so much fun!

I like to welcome party guests with a festive Poinsettia Cocktail to set the mood for a merry evening.  Prosecco, a close cousin to champagne, is mixed with cranberry juice, a dash of triple sec, and garnished with fresh cranberries for a bubbly start to the party.  Substitute sparkling apple cider and grenadine for the Prosecco and triple sec for a nonalcoholic version of the drink.

By using premade puff pastry for the Sausage and Puff Pastry Bites with Creamy Honey Mustard Sauce, the prep time is only about 15 minutes.  The homemade dipping sauce has only a few ingredients and comes together quickly and adds a creamy, sweet and spicy addition to the appetizer.  This showy version of pigs in a blanket will be a crowd favorite at the party.

The Roasted Spicy Shrimp on Cucumber Rounds are a satisfying appetizer without being heavy like many holiday hors d’oeuvres.  Smoked paprika seasoned shrimp are roasted and cooled.  They are served on top of crisp and cool cucumber rounds with a chipotle mayonnaise and a sprinkling of chives and sesame seeds.

By having a special cocktail to toast the holidays and a couple out of the ordinary yet easy to make appetizers, you can enjoy your party with your guests without spending all day in the kitchen.

The Poinsettia


photo by Daniel Freel

Makes 6 drinks

1 (750 ml) bottle Prosecco

12 tablespoons cranberry juice

Triple sec

18 fresh cranberries

Fill each of 6 wine glasses three-fourths full of Prosecco.  Add 2 tablespoons of the cranberry juice and a dash of triple sec to each glass along with 3 fresh cranberries and serve.


Sausage and Puff Pastry Bites

sausage and puff pastry

photo by Daniel Freel

makes 36

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut in 36 (one-half inch) slices

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat add the sausage slices.  Cook for about 3 – 5 minutes a side or until it is browned and crispy.  Remove from pan and place on a large baking sheet; set aside.  The sausage does not to be cooked all the way through as it will finish cooking in the oven.
Place puff pastry on a large work surface that has been dusted with flour.  Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash.  Use a mini cookie cutter (any shape such as a circle, star, or flower are good choices) to cut out 36 shapes from the pastry.  Place pastry cutouts on top of sausage slices and secure with a toothpick.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.  Remove from oven and serve with Creamy Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce.

To make the dipping sauce, in a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard and honey.  Serve the sausage and puff pastry bites while warm along with the dipping sauce.


Roasted Spicy Shrimp on Cucumber Rounds

Makes 36

36 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon olive oil



1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ cup mayonnaise

½ teaspoon (or more) chipotle

1 English cucumber cut in ¼ inch rounds

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Black sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.  Place in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 5 – 6 minutes or until shrimp are just cooked through.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and chipotle, set aside.

To assemble, place cucumber rounds on a large serving platter.  Top each round with a small dollop of the chipotle mayonnaise, 1 shrimp and a sprinkling of chives and black sesame seeds.  Serve chilled.


All rights reserved.  Recipes by Amy Casey

© 2013 – amycaseycooks


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