Hosting a Hands-On Food and Drink Fête

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Despite smaller gatherings, limited venue access, and knowing holiday gatherings will be different this year, creating your spirited, memorable celebrations can still happen. Simply reframe what getting together means in 2020.

Sue Chatlin, owner of recently opened Isabel's Market and the Sue Chef School of Cooking in Douglas, offers safe, interactive, intimate alternatives to those blowout holiday parties.

"We offer cooking classes at Isabel's for no more than 12 people, so we can seat at least 6 feet apart. It's tough to eat and drink with masks on, so the social distancing is an important piece of any holiday gathering."

Chatlin acknowledges that the pandemic finds more people cooking at home, rather than dining out. Cooking together may be the ideal option for spending more time with each individual instead of trying to spread yourself around a large party. Another option: Grab a ready-to-heat meal and appetizers to go, another Isabel's Market option.

Zac Williams and Kellie Williams, Corporate Cocktail Co. owners, are known for their large-scale, elevated beverage experience. They've seen catering events become smaller and more intimate, allowing them to educate people about spirits and how to properly prepare cocktails.

"We offer several different kinds of cocktail classes for holiday get-togethers. They can also make great gifts for the cocktail enthusiasts in your life. If you are looking for something for your employees to do for a team building exercise, or just a fun evening with your staff, these classes are perfect."

The couple suggests batching a few cocktails for your guests. Reminiscent of party punch bowls or pitchers of sangria, batching cocktails promotes a shared experience. Making drinks in large quantities ahead of time affords you more time with your guests. If that feels too intimidating, Corporate Cocktail Co. offers cocktails on tap! Let their mixologists know which spirits you prefer to serve; they'll have a tabletop keg delivered and build the cocktail right in front of you, ready to serve! You could have professionals make the drinks and impress your guests with a cocktail bar vibe.

Coffee Old Fashioned

Courtesy of Corporate Cocktail Co. | Corporatecocktailco.com/

1½ ounces coffee bourbon*
½ ounce spiced syrup**
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir with ice in a shaker/mixing tin. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Add thick orange peel swath garnish.

*Coffee Bourbon
Add 1 cup whole coffee beans to 2 cups bourbon. Leave at room temperature for two hours. Strain, removing beans.

**Spiced Syrup
Add 1 cup white sugar to 1 cup boiling water. Turn off heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon coconut extract and 1 cinnamon stick. Place in an unsealed container in the refrigerator until cool.

Written by Jennifer A. Pascua, Digital Content Manager for West Michigan Woman.

This article originally appeared in the Dec 2020/Jan 2021 issue of West Michigan Woman.


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