Cocktails and canapés are the hottest pair in town
Vitorrio Colacitti, chef and owner of The Good Son restaurant in Toronto, loves canapés as an alternative to a heavy sit-down dinner for entertaining. “They’re more versatile and pair well with cocktails, which are so popular now.”
The sophisticated cocktail is easily translatable to home events and has a festive feel and visual appeal that are perfect for the holidays. Just remember to offer a number of drink options that pair well with your food.
Here are some great party pairings:
Still Dawn Paired With Scallops
1¾ parts GREY GOOSE® Vodka
1 part fresh grapefruit juice
½ part fresh lemon juice
½ part simple syrup
3 basil leaves
Combine the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Tear the basil leaves, drop them in to the shaker, add ice and shake for 10 seconds. Fine strain into a chilled coupe. Float a fresh basil leaf on top of the drink.
Seared Digby Scallops With Bacon Jam and Brussels Sprouts
250g double smoked bacon, sliced 1 cm wide
2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
10g pommery mustard
¾ oz maple syrup
¾ oz sherry vinegar
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Place bacon in a cold pan and cook over medium heat. Once bacon begins to caramelize, add sliced shallots and continue to cook until shallots are softened. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat.
6 Digby scallops, U10 size
1 ½ oz grapeseed oil
¾ oz butter
Season scallops with kosher salt and place on a dry towel until they reach room temperature. Place a skillet on high heat and add grapeseed oil. Once oil begins to “dance” or lightly smoke, gently place scallops in pan. Leave space or they will steam and not caramelize. When they are turning golden brown, add butter to pan and, after 30 seconds, flip them over for about one minute, remove. Scallops should be medium to medium rare.
6 large, firm brussels sprouts
Carefully slice brussels sprouts very thin on a mandoline. Serve scallops with a dollop of bacon jam and garnish liberally with shaved brussels sprouts.
Grey Goose Martini Paired with Raw Oysters
Grey Goose Martini
2½ parts GREY GOOSE Vodka
½ part Martini Dry Vermouth
1 dash orange bitters (optional)
Fill a martini cocktail glass with ice. Add all the ingredients to a shaker with ice and stir to chill the liquids. Strain into chilled martini cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon zest.
Grey Goose VX
Elevate the classic pairing of vodka and oysters with Grey Goose VX on ice and a spicy mignonette. The gentle cognac notes of the VX combined with the heat of the oyster will entice the senses.
Oysters with Apple-Jalapeño Mignonette
A mignonette is a sauce that accompanies raw oysters on the half shell.
1 Granny Smith apple, finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
8 oz apple cider vinegar
Cilantro, cut into long thin strips
10g white sugar
5g kosher salt
Place apple, shallot and jalapeño in a small bowl and toss with salt and sugar. Let stand for five minutes then pat dry with a paper towel. Add apple cider vinegar. Add cilantro just before serving.
Triple Play Paired with Shishito Peppers
1½ parts GREY GOOSE® L’Orange Flavoured Vodka
½ part Fino sherry
½ part vanilla syrup
Zests of lemon and lime
Combine the first three ingredients in a mixing glass. Squeeze the lemon and lime zests over the liquid. Add ice. Stir for 20 seconds to dilute and chill. Strain into a chilled martini cocktail glass.
For the Vanilla Syrup
Combine one cup water with one cup granulated sugar. Slice two vanilla beans lengthwise and add to syrup. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and refrigerate overnight. Remove vanilla beans from syrup.
Stuffed Shisito Peppers Over Finger Chile Puree
50g queso fresco, finely chopped
1 shallot, diced small
8 piquillo peppers, drained and sliced into large pieces
50g Monterey Jack cheese
4 finger chilies, sliced thinly
100g double-smoked bacon, cut into lardons and cooked over low heat
6 shishito peppers
Sweat shallot in a small pan over medium heat in olive oil and salt until skins come off. Fold Monterey Jack cheese in with queso fresco, bacon and shallot. Cook finger chilies and piquillo peppers over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and when softened, puree in a blender. Bake shishito peppers in a 450F (230C) oven for five minutes, place in a metal bowl and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap. Remove skins. Slice open and fill with cheese and bacon then roll evenly and chill. Before serving, temper in a 475F (250C) oven for five minutes. Garnish with piquillo puree.
Force of Nature Paired with Beets
Force of Nature
1½ parts GREY GOOSE® Vodka
¾ part fresh lemon juice
½ part cinnamon syrup
1 sprig of tarragon
5 thin slices of green apple
Muddle the apple slices with cinnamon syrup and lemon juice in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add tarragon, vodka and ice. Shake for 10 seconds. Fine strain over fresh ice into a collins glass. Top with soda. Garnish with a green apple fan.
For the cinnamon Syrup
Put four cinammon sticks in a cup of water and bring to a boil. Stir in one cup of sugar, then remove from heat. Refrigerate overnight. Remove the cinnamon sticks.
Roasted Baby Beets with Labneh and Hazelnuts
1 bunch baby red beets, peeled and trimmed but leaving
½ inch of tops attached
1 bunch baby candy-cane beets, peeled and trimmed but leaving
½ inch of tops attached
1 ½ oz extra virgin olive oil
¾ oz honey
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Pinch kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Place a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil to pan and when “dancing,” add beets, leaving a little space between them. Sprinkle with salt, agitate and place the hot pan in oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Add honey and thyme to pan and stir until evenly coated. Allow to cool in the pan.
10 fresh mint leaves
¾ oz extra virgin olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
Labneh is essentially a pressed yogurt which can be purchased at most specialty grocers. Greek yogurt can substitute. Chop mint and add to labneh with a little olive oil, stir and reserve.
Roast hazelnuts for 15 minutes in a 300F (150C) oven. Remove, and while still warm, place nuts in the middle of a kitchen towel, bunch the towel like a parcel and vigorously rub on a counter top to remove skins. Reserve nuts. For the pomegranate, remove the seeds from the membrane and, together with the hazelnuts, sprinkle over beets.
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