The Essential Holiday Season Party Primer

The Essential Holiday Entertaining Primer By Rebecca Gordon Editor-In-Chief BUttermilk Lipstick Culinary & entertaining Brand Practical Culinary Techniques For Everyday Cooks Cooking & Baking Tutorials Editorial Director Digital Culinary Photo Journalist Pastry Chef Writer Food Stylist TV Cooking Personality Modern Southern Socials Game Day EntertainingHoliday Entertaining

Southern Socials

The Essential Holiday Season Party Primer

As your calendar begins to fill with holiday parties & open house gatherings, gracefully navigate proper etiquette & the planning portion of lovely socials with a few gentle reminders. From being a gracious guest to hosting fabulous parties, you will be well prepared for any event no matter your role. Keep these thoughts at the forefront to ensure the season is festive & memorable.

The Gracious Guest

If you have received an invitation to a holiday party, respond in a timely manner so the hostess can plan accordingly. Répondez, s’il vous plaît. Please reply. Make certain to RSVP well before the requested deadline. Take special notice of the event arrival time. The host has given special care in planning the celebration so be respectful to her by being punctual & refrain from arriving too early as she may be attending to a few last minute preparations, in many cases, getting herself ready. Best practices are to arrive within 8 to 10 minutes of the designated time. Additionally, be certain to dress the part to respectfully show your appreciation for her efforts. If you have multiple engagements throughout the season, consider a classic shift or A-line dress as it is appropriate for many gatherings. Lipsticks in a variety of hues, nail color & accessories are simple ways to hone your signature style for each gathering. Upon arrival & once pleasantries have been exchanged, ask the host what you can do to help. It’s all about being respectful and engaging to one another.

The Hostess

The ring of the doorbell is your signal to switch from party preparations to extending gracious hospitality. After all, the purpose of entertaining is to focus your attention on the comfort & pleasure of your guests. As the host, it’s always appropriate to offer a signature beverage to guests right away. A warm Bourbon Mocha is the ideal way to set a festive tone to any reception during the holidays as it highlights several key ingredients pleasing to many such as coffee & chocolate plus the addition of lively spirits. Once beverages have been offered, make introductions to one another but if you need to politely slip away to attend to several last minute food preparations, appoint a close friend to help out as the party gets livelier so that the event runs smoothly. Learn the logistics of holiday entertaining & hosting guests in your home. Follow my pointers for planning a beautiful, gracious gathering.

Holiday Entertaining. Bourbon Mocha By Rebecca Gordon Editor-In-Chief Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Brand Practical Baking & Pastry Techniques For Everyday Cooks Baking & Cooking Tutorials Editorial Director Digital Culinary Photo Journalist Pastry Chef Writer TV Cooking Personality Game Day Entertaining Modern Southern Socials

rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickBourbon Mocha
makes 6 servings

Offer a bowl of sugar to guests for a sweeter coffee beverage.

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate morsels
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups hot strong brewed coffee
3/4 cup bourbon

Place the chocolate into a 2-quart glass measuring cup. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over Medium just until steamy & small bubbles appear around the edges. Do not walk away from it as it will bubble over the pan sides if left unattended. Pour the cream over the chocolate & let stand 1 minute. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Blend the coffee & the bourbon into the ganache mixture. Serve warm.

The Recipe Box. Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern HostessFROM THE SOUTHERN HOSTESS OF BUTTERMILK LIPSTICK

{helpful advice}

How To Properly Plan For Holiday Socials

Every great gathering begins with planning & logistics. From the invitations to the provisions, many tasks must be taken care of ahead of time. Create a timeline well in advance & mark items off as you go. Once the menu has been prepared & carefully arranged for guests to enjoy, the hostess takes the lead in orchestrating the memorable occasion. 

The Essential Holiday Entertaining Primer By Rebecca Gordon Editor-In-Chief BUttermilk Lipstick Culinary & entertaining Brand Practical Culinary Techniques For Everyday Cooks Cooking & Baking Tutorials Editorial Director Digital Culinary Photo Journalist Pastry Chef Writer Food Stylist TV Cooking Personality Modern Southern Socials Game Day Entertaining

rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickThe Essential Holiday Season Party Primer

Holiday socials are an opportunity for the hostess to honor family & friendships as well as share their good taste so choose the decor, tabletop design, invitations, provisions & cocktail selections accordingly. Here’s what you should know.

No. 1

The Tabletop Style

Invest once in serval white tablecloths that can be used for years to come & for a variety of gatherings throughout the year. Make a few burlap table coverings to use as accessories for a pretty, layered table. Neutral elements will always look the best & give you an opportunity to tuck in swags of fresh greenery & garland for a pretty finish. This is the moment to polish a few heirloom silver pieces such as serving spoons, trays & cake servers. White platters, small bowls, plates & freshly pressed neutral linens will allow for a little cheery Christmas color to set the tone in good taste. A few mercury glass ornaments strewn about the refreshments or cocktail bar add whimsy instantly. Wooden boards can ground spaces & offer a practical element while blending with heirloom china to lend a fresh, modern look. Once you are ready to pull it all together, layer the pieces in a variety of heights for interest. Have a set spot to organize plates, napkins & flatware. 

No. 2

The Bar

Create a separate beverage location to keep guests flowing seamlessly though the space. Use your lovely glasses received as wedding gifts now & forgo the paper & plastic goods. Assess stock & pick up extras ahead of time. Follow these pointers to learn the traditional types of beverages that are served in these glasses.

The Glassware

 Highball Glass 

Water, sweet tea, lemonade, beer & soft drinks are appropriate drinks served in highball glasses. Be certain to invest in a good stash ranging from 8-oz to 12-oz in size.

Old-Fashioned or Lowball Glass

Short tumblers are always appropriate when whiskey & mixed drinks served “on the rocks” come into play.

Martini or Cocktail Glass

Although optional, a special cocktail does deserve a chic little jewel. If martini’s or cosmopolitan’s beckon, by all means have a few of these on hand.

The Optional Glasses

Stemless wine glasses & champagne flutes come in a variety of mediums so pick up finishes that best suit your lifestyle. If Moscow Mules are a favorite, add the iconic copper mugs to your repertoire.

The Spirits… Etc

Cocktail classics certainly begin with bourbon, whiskey & vodka. Wine & champagne have become increasingly popular in their own right. You know your crowd best so pick up the items your friends & family indulge in. Don’t forget the mixers which also serve as non-alcoholic options. From soft drinks to tonic water & club soda, these staples will serve you well time & time again. Always have a pitcher of ice water on hand for good measure. Add a few lemon slices & cranberries for a festive touch.

The Garnishes

Great handcrafted cocktails deserve a pretty finishing touch that speaks to the libation. Olives, pickled okra & cocktail onions can be dropped into glasses or perched on rims. Fresh citrus, cranberries & cherries are always welcome additions to a variety of specialty concoctions as well.

The Barware 

 Have tools available such as a long-handled spoon for stirring. A corkscrew, a cutting board, a paring knife, a jigger & a shaker get the festivities underway quickly. Always offer a nibble at the bar. A bowl of Cinnamon-Sugar Buttered Pecan halves sets the mood without flaw. Be certain to have a small heirloom silver spoon available for serving.

The Rocks

Fresh ice is a fundamental ingredient when making fabulous cocktails so don’t overlook it. Have an ice bucket filled with cubes & a scoop for portioning into glasses.

Holiday Entertaining By Rebecca Gordon Editor-In-Chief Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Brand Practical Culinary Techniques For Everyday Cooks Pastry Chef Modern Southern Socials Entertaining Etiquette & Effortless RecipesNo. 3

The Provisions

Up to a month ahead of time, select recipes based on the type of function you wish to host. A mixture of hot & cold hors h’oeuvres would set a lovely tone around the dinner hour while dessert & coffee could be a fine idea for a gathering early in the afternoon. A combination of both sweet & savory offerings are appropriate anytime. Once the menu has been set, pull plates, platters & bowls for serving. Label the pieces with the foods that will be reserved for them & set them aside.

The Savory

Prepare as much of the food ahead of time as possible. Rolls can be baked & frozen several weeks in advance then placed in the refrigerator to thaw overnight before warming & filling. Sauces can be prepared up to 4 days before gatherings so that transferring them into serving bowls is all that is necessary come party time while beef & pork tenderloin should be left for cooking on party day. If it will be used for filling rolls & biscuits, prepare & slice up to an hour before guests are to arrive & keep it warm for safe serving.

The Sweet

Many baked goods can be prepared well in advance. Consider preparing drop cookie dough up to one month in advance. Thaw the dough & bake the cookies the day before the gathering. Gingerbread & sugar cookie shapes can be baked & iced up to two days ahead of time. If you are planning to offer a specialty layer cake, bake the cake layers up to two weeks in advance. Wrap them well in plastic & foil then freeze them. Remove the layers from the freezer 30 minutes before you wish to finish them & reserve time for frosting & garnishing the cakes the day before the gathering. 

No. 4

The Event

Social gatherings are carefully orchestrated affairs from warm welcomes to fond farewells. A hostess gently directs guests during the gathering. 

The Greetings

Try to be available to welcome guests at the door. If your attention is needed in the kitchen, appoint a friend to greet them when the bell signals. Have a designated area for placing coats & handbags so guests feel more comfortable to socialize. If a signature cocktail is being served, offer one to guests right away as they are a lovely way to create a festive feel to any party. 

The Mingling & The Refreshments

Give guests a moment to chat & mingle for approximately 30 to 45 minutes after the start time of the gathering so that they can get to know one another through light conversation. When you are ready, direct guests to the refreshments. Allow everyone to make a plate & continue conversation over a few nibbles. 

The Polite Parting

As the gathering concludes, be available for guests to thank you for the invitation. Position yourself close to the door so they can easily find you. Make parting conversation gracious but quick so as not to have other guests waiting too long to say their goodbyes.

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“I’d Like You For Christmas” Julie London

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About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Southern College Football Fanatic * SEC Tailgate Strategist * Southern Recipe Writer & Sometimes Novelist * Half-Hour Hostess * Media Personality * Houndstooth Hound Owner * Small Town Dreamer * Big Idea Doer * 3rd Generation Pimiento Cheese Fixer * Casserole Maker * Budweiser Drinker * Bourbon Cocktail Sipper * Peanut Butter Love Affair * Cookie Monster * Calorie Burner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer but doesn't care * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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