Are you salivating? This is what I think heaven looks like. Pink and gold and pretty and sweet.
In my heaven there is rose champagne. And nobody judges when a pregnant woman takes a sip. ;) Since I am much more gluttonous when it comes to food than my party partner in crime, Lauren (she took only one small dainty bite of fried mac and cheese one night at dinner whilst I devoured the rest of the plate) it makes sense that I tell you about the food and drink for our New Year's photoshoot/ par-tay. While we realize that your New Year's Eve entertaining is over for this year, this theme could easily be changed in to another type of celebration (hullo - it's going to be Valentine's Day before we know it).
Along with rose champagne, the rest of our beverage options contained tiny bubbles. Lauren mentioned Almond Champagne and I thought it would be an awesome compliment to the desserts we served. And it was. For those non-drinkers, we had some sparkling lemonade and Segura Viudas Spanish sparkling wine for those who wanted their bubbles straight up.
For the last few holidays, I have gotten emails with cocktail recipes using Lucid Absinthe. But Thanksgiving just didn't seem like the time to try a cocktail with a dark reputation. Grandma, can you please pass the gravy and the absinthe? Uh, no. But I was very interested to see what they had in the way of a girly cocktail. They sent a recipe called the Cherry Sparkler and I couldn't wait to try it.
Lucid Cherry Sparkler:
1 1/2 oz. Lucid
3/4 oz. Almond Syrup
1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
3-4 pitted sour cherries
In a mixing cup, muddle cherries in lime juice and almond syrup. Add the Lucid and ice and shake well. Strain in to a chilled flute and top with champagne. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg and cherries.
My heaven smells like the muddled cherries, lime juice and almond syrup. YUM! But Lucid has a very licoricey flavor to it. It's quite strong in taste and alcohol - so be warned. The champagne adds a little bit of lightness to the drink but overall the Lucid takes over. If I were to make this again, I would use less Lucid and double the cherries, lime juice and almond syrup, or even add a little cherry juice (which you see pictured above) to give it a bit more cherry flavor. The finished drink is sort of a milky pink and is very pretty. And I love how we served it in mismatched glass bottles with Lauren's hand written labels. I know it is kind of hard to see in the photo above, but I am in LOVE with her writing. Not quite calligraphy, but fun and fancy. We used Freixinet Cordon Negro Brut as a mixer in this cocktail but it is also remarkably easy drinking on its own...(tipsy alert).
Lest you think we just gorged ourselves on sugar all night (don't be fooled, I've done it before and I'll do it again) we did have an awesome meal. You may remember Amy, my soon to be food contributor. She put this whole meal together for us and it was phenomenal. We started with Cracker Jack soup, a peanuty bisque-like soup with a touch of heat from Bob Blumer's Glutton for Pleasure (recipe to follow as soon as Amy can dig the cookbook out after her move). We then enjoyed a Flakey Mushroom and Gruyere Tart and delicious green salad tossed with a simple vinaigrette. The mushroom tart and salad recipe came from the January Real Simple issue and fit this party perfectly. It was light enough to leave ample room for all the desserts, but meaty enough with the mushrooms that it more than satisfied. Check out the recipe here.
One of the easiest ways to add color to your table is with candy. In the weeks leading up to the party I scoured all kinds of stores to find interesting candies. How cool is that caramely colored licorice?! I found that at Ikea, I think it's called the Florg or something (side note: not tasty). And I am addicted to colored rock candy. I never eat it but I die over how it looks. It can't be on a stick, it has to be the string kind that you can snip in to whatever size pieces you want. Look how cute it looks hanging out by the placecard (above photo, bottom right corner)! As if there wasn't enough sugar on the table, I used sugar to anchor the placecard and in the light it had a wonderful sparkle.
And now can we talk about the brilliance that is Meringue Bake Shop? Once again, she nailed the desserts. We discussed theme and look and what she put together was truly remarkable. Lauren and I added a few treats to the mix to really take it over the top but the stars of this table were Kristin's treats. I was bummed she couldn't be with us at the shoot but she had tons of orders to make because that is what happens when you do awesome work. Meringue Bake Shop is known mostly for the cupcakes. But Kristin is really way more versatile than that as you will see. Check out the homemade vanilla marshmallows (2nd tier from the top in photo above) and the pink sugar cookies (bottom tier). Delish!
How awesome are these chocolate suckers! I think this might be one of my new favorite things. So simple but the visual impact is amazing. And don't think that popcorn was just for show. It was cherry flavored and scrumptious. Like, seriously addicting. I've ordered this for my son's birthday next weekend. I can't quit this stuff!
The cherry vanilla mini cakes. I'm not sure I have the words to do these justice. I heart them, everything about them. The fact that they were topped with flaked gold made them even more wonderful. And check out the strawberries and cream cake. Moist, simple and delicious.
Ok, hold on to your hats and glasses. I'm sure that you've noticed that salt has popped up everywhere lately. I think salt may be the new black. These were Salted Rice Krispy treats and they were beyond delectable. I've had Kristin's basic Krispy treat before and they are way better than any I have ever made. Add salt to that and you have a flavor explosion in your mouth. These are totally in my heaven.
Big, big thank you to Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop for being so willing to collaborate with Lauren and I on this shoot!!!
On Tuesday, Lauren will be posting about the DIY projects we did for this project so be sure to check it out!!
All images courtesy of Up Imagery
*We received samples of the Lucid, Freixinet and Segura Viudas. These opinions are our own.