Christmas Entertaining: Bloody Mary and Hot Chocolate Bars

Hot Chocolate Bar

Hot Chocolate Bar

Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be difficult, it just has to be festive and fun. A couple of years ago I had a Christmas Brunch complete with a Bloody Mary bar and a Hot Chocolate bar for the kids, (and adults too, just add some Baileys’).

For the Hot Chocolate bar, have hot water in a carafe, packets or a container of hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, chocolate chips, whipped cream, festive sprinkles, and candy canes for stirring. Let the guests make there own favorite concoction, this was a big hit with the preteens.

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For the Bloody Mary Christmas Bar, make pitchers of Basic Bloody Mary’s 3parts tomato juice, to 1 part vodka (have regular tomato juice on hand for those who don’t drink alcohol) Then set up the bar with ice, ¬†Worcestershire, celery salt, hot sauce, old bay seasoning, picked vegetables, lemon and lime wedges, celery, cooked shrimp, olives and any other topping or garnish you desire. Again let the guest play bartender, set out some pastries, breakfast casseroles and a salad and the party is complete.

Bloody Mary Christmas Bar

Bloody Mary Christmas Bar

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Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and a Ramona Shandy

Nothing says Summer like fresh squeezed lemonade. I had a bunch of left over lemons from my son’s graduation I need to use so I decided to whip up a batch. I am also trying to find a drink I can make for a crowd and thought this would be a good mixer for alcohol. You could mix it with a flavored vodka, berry , vanilla ¬†etc… Mix it with a wheat beer for a traditional Shandy or go out on a limb and make a drink worthy of Ramona from Real Housewives of NYC, yes it’s turtle time somewhere. Mix 1/2 lemonade and 1/2 Pinot Grigio and you’ve got a Ramona Shandy. This drink is refreshing and light and economical for a party or a large group of housewives. Maybe even serve it at book club if you are reading Most Talkative by Andy Cohen. I apologize for the picture quality, I made this spur of the moment and used my phone camera, but you get the idea.

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade with Mint

4 c water

2T fresh mint leaves

2 c sugar

1 c fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 c ice

1 lemon sliced for garnish

Mint sprigs for garnish

Put 4 cups water in a sauce pan with mint leaves, add sugar and stir, bring to a boil stir making sure all sugar is dissolved and remove from heat and let cool, remove mint leaves.

In a large pitcher add lemon juice, cooled mint and sugar mixture and ice, stir until combined.

Serve over ice, garnish with mint and lemon, or mix with Pinot Grigio for a Ramona Shandy