The holidays make a fine time to indulge in big, bold flavors. Because we want to enjoy as many over-the-top festive eats and drinks as possible this season, we’ve developed five cocktail and small-bite pairings perfect for holiday entertaining (or for just sipping and snacking at home). Anchoring these five pairings are classic flavor combinations – salty and sweet, effervescent and earthy, sweet and spicy, botanical and chocolate, and complex and creamy. Although each pairing was developed with balance and complementary flavors in mind, feel free to try your hand at reconfiguring the combinations to delight family and friends.

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Sparkling Citrus Sangria and Roasted Herb-Citrus Olives

Complementary citrus flavors connect this juicy, effervescent sangria with tangy roasted olives. The sweet balances the salty, making the pairing the ideal palate opener for a dinner party.

Sparkling Citrus Sangria

Serves | 4 |

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 750-milliliter bottle chilled prosecco or other sparkling wine
  • 1 lemon, sliced into wheels
  • 1 lime, sliced into wheels
  • 1 orange, sliced into wheels
  • ice

| Preparation | In a punch bowl or large pitcher, combine lemon, lime and orange juices with honey, and stir to blend. Add prosecco, and stir once more. Add citrus wheels and ice. Serve.

Roasted Herb-Citrus Olives

Serves | 4 to 6 |

  • 2 cups mixed green, black and Kalamata olives
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more to taste
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • crostini or crusty bread (to serve)

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking dish, combine all ingredients except zest, and toss to incorporate. Roast olive mixture for 15 minutes or until sizzling. Toss cooked olive mixture with orange zest and, if desired, additional olive oil. Serve warm with crostini or crusty bread.

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Earl Grey French 75 With Brown-Butter Mushrooms

Boost the traditional French 75 with Earl Grey tea, which adds depth of flavor and richness. Paired with earthy, buttery mushrooms, this combination is pure luxury.

Earl Grey French 75

Serves | 6 |

  • ½ cup water
  • 2 bags Earl Grey tea
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar,
  • plus more for rimming glasses
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 3 oz gin, divided
  • 1 750-milliliter bottle chilled sparkling wine
  • 6 lemon peels (for garnish)

| Preparation | In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat water until almost boiling. Steep tea bags in water for 3 minutes; discard tea bags. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Refrigerate until cool.

Spread a thin layer of sugar on a small plate. Lightly squeeze lemon wedge across rim of 6 glasses, and dip rim of each glass in sugar to coat. Evenly divide chilled tea in each glass. Pour ½ ounce gin into each glass, and top with sparkling wine. Garnish each glass with a lemon peel, and serve.

Brown-Butter Mushrooms

Serves | 4 |

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 cups halved button mushrooms
  • sea salt and freshly ground
  • black pepper, to taste

| Preparation | In a large skillet over medium heat, heat butter until almost browned, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, and add wine and thyme; cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until fully cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes. Spear mushrooms with toothpicks if serving as a small bite.

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Black Pepper-Honey Old-Fashioned With Baked Brie With Honey and Pomegranate Seeds

Lightly sweetened with honey and spiced with a touch of pepper, this Old-Fashioned is a bit more complex than the classic. Rich baked Brie drizzled with honey and tart pomegranate seeds provides an excellent foil for the bold cocktail.

Black Pepper-Honey Old-Fashioned

Serves | 6 |

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns,
  • plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • ice
  • Angostura bitters
  • orange peel (for garnish)

| Preparation | In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water, peppercorns and sugar to a gentle boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain peppercorns from simple syrup, and allow to cool.

In a large glass Mason jar, combine simple syrup with bourbon, and stir. Evenly divide mixture into 6 highball glasses filled with ice. Add a dash of bitters to each glass, and stir. Garnish with orange peels and black peppercorns. Serve.

Baked Brie With Honey and Pomegranate Seeds

Serves | 8 |

  • 1 8-oz Brie wheel
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly
  • ground black pepper

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place Brie in center of prepared baking sheet, and bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until bubbly. Watch Brie closely, as cheese cooks fast.

In a small saucepan over low heat, slightly warm honey and remove from heat. Add pomegranate seeds, salt and pepper. When Brie is finished baking, while still warm, pour honey-pomegranate seed mixture over top. Serve warm with a cheese board, tart apple slices or crusty bread.

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Dirty Chai Martini With Salted Espresso Fudge

This martini combines winter-perfect chai flavors with espresso for a little extra kick. Paired with salted espresso fudge made with coconut milk, this sweet-and-salty pairing will appeal to both tea- and coffee-lovers.

Dirty Chai Martini

Serves | 4 |

  • 1 cup water
  • 4 bags chai tea
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 oz brewed espresso or coffee
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 oz vodka
  • ice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks (for garnish)

| Preparation | In a saucepot over medium-high heat, heat water to almost boiling. Steep tea bags in water for 4 minutes; discard tea bags. Add maple syrup and espresso or coffee, and stir to combine. Refrigerate until cool.

Combine cooled tea mixture in a cocktail shaker with milk, vodka and ice. Strain liquid evenly into 4 martini glasses, and garnish each with a cinnamon stick. Serve.

Salted Espresso Fudge

Yields | 12 squares |

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 7 oz roughly chopped 70 percent
  • dark chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • ½ Tbsp extra-fine ground espresso or
  • dark-roast coffee, plus more for garnish
  • ½ tsp Himalayan salt
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

| Preparation | Line an 8-inch-square baking dish with parchment paper, and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring coconut milk to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low, and add honey. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken.

In a large metal or glass mixing bowl, combine chocolate with coconut oil, espresso or coffee, and Himalayan salt. Pour warm coconut-milk mixture over chocolate, and stir until smooth.

Pour chocolate mixture into prepared baking dish, and sprinkle espresso or coffee grounds and sea salt over top. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight, and then until ready to serve. Cut fudge into 12 squares, and serve.

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Rosemary-Gin Fizz With Coconut-Chocolate Mousse

Rosemary and gin are a natural match. This cocktail hits all of the right notes: floral and botanical, yet sweet and spicy. The rosemary also lifts the chocolate mousse, adding earthiness to counterbalance the richness of the dark chocolate.

Rosemary-Gin Fizz

Serves | 6 |

  • 1 cup water
  • 5 sprigs fresh rosemary,
  • plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup gin
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • ice
  • club soda

| Preparation | In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water, rosemary and sugar to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain rosemary from simple syrup, and allow to cool.

In a large glass Mason jar, combine simple syrup, gin and lemon juice, and stir. Divide mixture evenly between 6 highball glasses filled with ice. Top each cocktail with club soda and a sprig of rosemary for garnish. Serve.

Coconut-Chocolate Mousse

Serves | 6 |

  • 1²⁄₃ cups aquafaba (liquid from roughly 2 cans chickpeas) or 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (if using aquafaba)
  • ½ cup water
  • 12 oz roughly chopped dark chocolate
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • flake salt (for garnish)

| Preparation | In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, combine aquafaba and lemon juice. Beat until stiff peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. If using coconut milk, in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat on low speed, slowly increasing to medium-high, until fluffy.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring water to a simmer. Place a heatproof bowl over pan to temper chocolate; add chocolate to bowl, and stir occasionally with a heatproof spatula until chocolate is smooth. Fold chocolate and sea salt into aquafaba or coconut milk, and stir until combined. Spoon mousse into 6 ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours or overnight. Sprinkle flake salt over top prior to serving.

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