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We recently co-hosted a martini tasting party and it was so much fun!   To begin, we sent out Evites with the following wording announcing the idea:

Join us for a martini tasting!  We’ll provide the martinis. Please bring an hors d’oeuvre you think will complement a martini.  Cocktail attire welcome! (Dressy casual okay)

Originally, we googled martini ideas and chose some of the standards, i.e.,  dirty, chocolate, and a cosmo.   In the end though, we ended up coming up with a few of our own creations and served six martinis (in smaller tasting amounts). We had plenty of appetizers, and included food served in martini glasses, like this Caprese salad.

Our final tasting menu:

Round 1 – Dirty martini or Limoncello martini (for those that don’t like olives).  For the dirty, we used Ketel One vodka and for the lemon martini, we used 360′s Sorrento Lemon vodka.  These were made fresh to order.

Round 2 – The JC, our own creation.  We premixed a batch ahead of time and just added the fresh lemon juice at serving time. The key to this drink is the cranberry vodka.  Deep Eddy’s is smooth and delicious!

Round 3 – Bitter Orangetini, our own creation. We premixed this one too, just adding the bitters upon serving.  We placed one mandarin orange segment in the glass before pouring.

Round 4 – the Citrus Biscuit, our own creation and premixed as well.

Round 5 – a Chocolate Martini.   For the final dessert round, we went with a classic recipe that we also premixed and just added a Hershey’s kiss to the glass upon serving.  This one was a big hit!

  • 2 shots whipped cream vodka
  • 1 shot Godiva chocolate liqueur
  • 1/2 shot half & half

For the three rounds with our own creations,  we asked guests if they could identify any of the main ingredients.  It was a lot of fun to hear their thoughts and ideas and we had a great time serving them.   I look forward to doing it again and coming up with a new set of recipes!

Let me know if you give any of the recipes a try!

Want more cocktail ideas?  See the Projects page for more recipes!


Oh the fun of a surprise party! All the planning and excitement comes to fruition when the guest of honor arrives and truly is surprised!   Two friends and I threw a surprise 10th anniversary party this past weekend for a lovely couple.   We split up the planning, they handled food and I handled decorations and cake.

anniversary cake

Our goal was to keep things simple but elegant along with keeping costs down.  We chose our color scheme, metallics (gold & silver) with black and white, based on what we already had in our arsenals.    For example, I have 16 silver chargers and my friend had a set of gold chargers.

I rented three 60 inch round tables and twenty five chair covers from a party rental company to host 24 guests (8 per table).   We used metal folding chairs we already had and draped the chair covers over them.

For the tables:
I spent $30 on fresh flowers and made three centerpieces for the three tables.  I arranged hydrangeas and roses in the elevated candle holders and then we placed those flowers arrangements on a mirror charger and surrounded with tea lights.

I wanted to do a napkin presentation that didn’t require a napkin ring.  Napkin rings are nice, but if you don’t make your own, they can be pricey, and then you have to store them.   I decided on the pinwheel napkin fold because it’s really easy to do and looks lovely.

I set up a photo area by using polka-dotted craft paper taped on the wall as a backdrop.  For a photo prop, I made a little chalkboard sign (with a wooden sign from Michael’s and a bottle of chalkboard spray paint)  for guests to identify how many years they’ve been married (or any other fun message) in the photo.

When the guests of honor finally arrived, I was so excited I screeched a little too long!   It was so fun to put it together and I am so glad they were truly surprised.  Three cheers to my two co-hosts – we did it!

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