How to Host the Perfect Wintertime Soiree
It’s cold outside, and there’s no better way to celebrate the season than inside, with your nearest and dearest, dressed in something gorgeous.
It’s time to drift classic, romantic songs through your home, create a few seasonal, stunning dishes, mix a few fabulous cocktails, and enjoy the glitter of life and love.
Here, our guide to hosting elegant, laid back, and endlessly sophisticated parties. Hosting can be a bit exhausting—but these tips will make it an enjoyable, mellow to do. Bonus? You can leave the soiree decor up for the entire season and re-create the recipes any time that you want a clean, delicious, celebratory meal and/or cocktail. Light a fire, pile on some jewlery, and enjoy (almost) effortless, totally glamorous evenings with those who you adore.
Photo: Benjamin Wong / Unsplash
Set the Scene
First things first. Make your home gorgeous for yourself and your guests by creating a winter wonderland in your home. Select a color scheme—be it deep, winter maroon and emerald or a gorgeous metallic palette—and find long, elegant candles around your home. Choose linens that pair with the color story.
Bring elements of the outdoors—tree branches and pine cones that you can coat in glitter, elegant arrangements of calla lilies, jasmine, orchids and other winter flowers, bowls of bright citrus, and branches of evergreen—into your home and arrange them with love and care.
Photo: Micheile / Unsplash
Create handwritten name cards on cardstock and place them at each seat with a pomegranate or a pine cone. Create a gorgeous centerpiece for the dining room table using branches and golden stars.
On your coffee table, place bowls of gorgeous seasonal produce, such as clementines and pomegranates.
It’s a season for celebration and no soiree is complete without a few fabulous, clean signature cocktails. Be sure to have a selection of sparkling water and red, white, and sparkling wines so that your guests have options.
Photo: Sunorwind / Unsplash
Here are two recipes that your guests will adore. Prepare your bar cart with the necessary ingredients and select sophisticated glasses and personalized cocktail napkins to make each cocktail shine with brilliance and flavor:
The Snowy Margarita
Ingredients for two cocktails:
● 4 1/2 ounces silver tequila
● 2 1/4 ounces elderflower liqueur
● 2 1/4 ounces fresh or bottles organic lime juice
● 2 1/4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice, options;
● Pomegranate, optional
● Chile or ginger flaked sea salt
● 2 fresh lime wheels for garnish
● Rosemary sprigs for garnish
1. Combine the tequila, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, and grapefruit juice (if using) in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
2. Place a few pomegranate seeds in each cocktail, if using.
3. Strain over fresh ice into chilled rocks glasses rimmed with chili or ginger salt. Garnish with lime wheels and rosemary.
The Winter Aperol Spritz
Ingredients for one cocktail:
● 3 ounces Aperol
● 3 ounces Prosecco
● 1 ounce cranberry juice
● 2 ounces sparkling water
● 1 orange, lemon, or grapefruit wedge
● Citrus zest twist
● Green olives
1. Combine the aperol, prosecco and cranberry juice in a wine glass with ice
2. Add in a the citrus wedge and a twist
3. Garnish with green olives on a toothpick
To make these drinks even more amazing, consider sprinkling gold leaf flakes in each. They’ll glisten and please the palate and eye even more.
Set the Menu
If you don’t already have a few ideas for dishes that you’d like to serve, we’ve selected a few gorgeous, seasonal, Asian-inspired recipes that you and your guests will adore. Buy as many of the ingredients as you can from the Farmer’s Market—dishes comprised of local treasures are even more exquisite.
Photo: Ryan Stone / Unsplash
Each of these dishes is easy to make, filled with incredible winter spices and flavors, and will pair beautifully with your woodysy indoors decor scheme.
Slip into your favorite apron, pour yourself and cocktail, and prepare these with love:
Miso Cod with Spiced Cauliflower Rice
● Fillets of fresh Black Cod/Chilean Sea Bass
● 3 tablespoons/fillet of brown miso
● 1 tbsp/fillet of great Japanese Sake
● 1/2 stalk green onion
● Stevia to taste
● Powdered ginger
● Garlic salt
● Onion powder
● 1 teaspoon Mirin or apple cider vinegar/fillet
● Cauliflower rice
● Pickled ginger, optional
● Umeboshi, optional
1. Pat dry black cod/Chilean sea bass fillets with a paper towel
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine miso, tamari, ginger, mirin or apple cider vinegar, and sake.
3. Mix well and then the pour marinade into a pan
4. Place the fish in the pan to marinate for as long as possible
5. Cover pan with tinfiul and place the pan in the oven
6. Cook at 425F for 8-10 minutes, until the meat is flakey and tender
7. Finely slice green onions and set aside
8. Prepare cauliflower rice—cook until tender and season with garlic salt and onion powder
9. Once black cod/Chilean sea bass is cooked, garnish with slices of fresh green onions and serve on a bed of cauliflower rice
10. Serve with pickled ginger, tamari, and umeboshi if desired
Ginger Garlic Soy Shishto Peppers
● .25 tsp sesame oil, optional
● 1 lb shishito peppers
● 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
● Stevia to taste
● 1 tbsp lime juice
● 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
● Onion and garlic powders
● Sea salt
1. Add sesame oil, if using, to a large skillet or wok on the stove over medium-high heat.
Add the shishito peppers and sauté them, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until blistered
2. Whisk the tamari or soy sauce, onion and garlic powders, stevia, lime juice, and ginger together in a small bowl to form the sauce
3. After the shishitos have sautéed for 10 minutes, pour the ginger sauce over the shishito peppers
4. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 7-10 minutes or until peppers are tender and blistering on the outside.
5. Garnish with freshly grated ginger and a sprinkle of flakey finishing sea salt, if desired
Winter Treasures Miso Salad
● Roasted vegetables—artichoke hearts, asparagus, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, turnips, garlic, and onions
● Salad greens such as butter lettuce, spinach, and arugula
● Miso paste
● Stevia to taste
● Apple cider vinegar
● Sea salt
● Freshly ground pepper
● Minced ginger
● Chile flakes
1. For the vegetables, place a selection of preferred vegetables on a sheet pan and roast until caramelized
2. Combine warm roasted vegetables with salad greens
3. To prepare the miso dressing, whisk all ingredients together and toss with salad ingredients just before serving
4. Serve on a large plate with warm vegetables and miso dressing drizzled over the top
5. Sprinkle each plate with flaked sea salt and freshly ground pepper
The Perfect Playlist
Create a perfect playlist—a mix of classic wintertime oldies and newer songs—that will float through your home and make the scene endlessly romantic and gorgeous.
Photo: Deniz / Unsplash
Here, a few of our favorite songs for wintertime entertaining:
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm by Frank Sinatra
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! by Frank Sinatra
December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) by The Four Seasons
California Dreamin’ by The Mamas and the Papas’
Urge For Going by Joni Mitchell
This Magic Moment by the Drifters
Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers
Let's Stay Together by Al Green
God Only Knows by the Beach Boys
Be My Baby by the Ronettes
Cold Cold Ground by tom Waits
If We Make It Through December by Merle Haggard
Looks Like a Cold, Cold Winter by Ingrid Michaelson
January Hymn by The Decemberists
Mix these in with your favorite songs and voila, you have a wintertime playlist that will season any party with a sprinkling of vintage romance and joy.
Select beautiful little luxuries to send your guests home with. Each gift should represent your adoration of your inner circle, and should also be something very you. Each is a token of affection and celebration that will bring your guests joy for a long time to come.
A few ideas?
● If you’re just having a few guests, an amazing pair of sunglasses for each is an incredibly thoughtful, generous, and amazing gift. They’ll wear them every day and will be ever grateful. As these are luxurious tokens for a party favor, they can and should serve as your primary holiday gifts for your guests.
● An orchid is a stunning, long lasting gift that can serve as decorative elements for the party and will elevate the homes of your guests.
● Fabulous imported tamari—this gift will remind your nearest and dearest of the fabulous
evening that you shared (oh my god, those shishitos!) and will also enhance the umami
in meals that they make at home. Find a great imported bottle that’s beautifully packaged in paper.
● A fragrant candle—this is a classic. Everyone loves an amazing candle, and the flame will bring them a glowing sense of warmth and comfort all winter long. Look for a stunning wintery scent such as red currant, pomegranate, sandalwood, or jasmine.
● Silk or cashmere eye masks are sleep game changers. They’re totally luxurious and are also great for travel.
● A clean cocoa elixr kit. Create kits for a clean, adaptogenic warming hot cocoa and print the instructions on a note card. This is a warming, delicious, tonifying wintertime dessert that your guests will love.
Beautiful mug or cup
Brass spoon, optional
Small bags, tied with ribbon, containing:
● 1 Tbsp unsweetened cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
● 1/2 tsp Ashwagandha
● 1 tsp Reishi mushroom powder
● 1 tsp Maca
● 1/8 tsp cinnamon
● Rose petals and cinnamon sticks for garnish
● Recipe card:
○ Mix all ingredients with boiling hot water, sweeten to taste with stevia, and then use unsweetened plant based milk of choice (almond or cashew preferred)
Use any of these elements to concoct soirees that are as beautiful and transporative to a place of holiday joy and ease as the clean, stunning cocktails.
Tag us on Instagram to show us your stunning holiday party scenes, cocktails, recipes and gifts.
Written by Alexandra Malmed for SALT.