Dinner Parties & Entertaining

Cocktail party: A gathering held to enable forty people to talk about themselves at the same time. The man who remains after the liquor is gone is the host. - Fred Allen Origin The origin of the term “cocktail” itself is rife with rumor and speculation, so we’ll leave that to the drink historians. We are far more concerned with putting the cocktail into practice. However, for reference, the term was included in the magazine The Balance in May 1806: "Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters - it is vulgarly called bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion." Description Ah, the cocktail. It is the introduction to “happy hour,” the ice-breaker, the way to finish a long day and start a magnificent evening. Cocktails can be as simple as scotch on the rocks or as complex as one’s imagination will allow, so it is the one type of beverage that allows for utter creativity. Some cocktails have fallen strictly under the umbrella of “girlie,” i.e. the Cosmopolitan, sweet martinis (chocolate et. al.) and fruit-laced concoctions, while others are very “masculine.” Think of the dry martini, gin and tonics or any kind of strong spirit. We tend to stay away from lines of gender demarcation and bring all varieties of cocktails together for our favorite type of gathering: the cocktail party.

If you have family gathering 'round the table for an Easter feast, might we suggest taking full advantage of spring's bounty? The flavors and colors arriving to market right now offer a refreshing change to our dulled winter palates. This month's wine pairings were inspired by the book from our friends Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, What to Drink with What You Eat. Fresh peas, lamb, beets and rhubarb...the flavors of spring. Colorful and bright, this month's dishes are perfect for Easter dinner or any spring celebration. APPETIZER Mascarpone and Beet Napoleons with Walnut Oil Suggested pairing: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (See pairing notes below) SOUP Spring Pea Soup Suggested pairing: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc MAIN COURSE Roman Roast Leg of Lamb with Orzo Suggested pairing: California Zinfandel or Cabernet DESSERT Anise Panna Cotta with Spiced Rhubarb Suggested pairing: Moscato d'Asti or Late-Harvest Riesling