ISSUE 102  |  Winter Lights

DIY: A 5 Ingredient Holiday Cocktail Party

December 13, 2013 11:00 AM

BY Erin Boyle

‘Tis the season for last minute shopping, frantic card writing, and launching headlong into ambitious holiday DIYs. Feeling like you’d rather hole up in your coziest pajamas and watch Love Actually on repeat while munching absent-mindedly on bon bons? I get it. But don’t let the busyness of the season overwhelm you. Here, a recipe for a wintry cocktail party that requires only five ingredients (plus a pantry staple or two). Our faithful friend and photographer Olivia Rae James recently captured such a party on camera. As far as we’re concerned, it’s proof that miracles really do exist.

Photographs by Olivia Rae James. Original photography shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III digital SLR. The filmmaker’s camera.

A 5-Ingredient Cocktail Party


  • A bottle of bubbly (Champagne, Prosecco, Cremant de Bourgogne…anything that you like)

  • A slab of fresh Greek feta

  • A hearty loaf of fresh bread

  • A bunch of fresh rosemary

  • Marcona almonds

Above: Not necessary, but highly advised: a collection of votives to set the mood.

Above: One of Olivia’s friends kicks off the party by popping a bottle of Champagne. 

Above: Olivia made what’s become a true Gardenista favorite: roasted feta. The process is simple: Slather a block of Greek feta with olive oil, cover and bake at 400 degrees for eight minutes. Drizzle with honey and rosemary and put under the broiler until the cheese begins to brown and bubble. It’s a crowd pleaser every single time. For the original recipe, see Roasted Feta with Thyme Honey on Food 52.

Above: Roasted marcona almonds with sea salt and rosemary. Olivia roasted raw marcona almonds in a 350-degree oven with olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary for from ten to 15 minutes, turning with a spatula every five minutes or so to make sure they don’t burn. The result is the perfect salty snackable for mitigating the effects of too much Champagne.

Above: The spread, with festive greenery peppered throughout by Lily Peterson.

Above: The sixth ingredient for any good cocktail party: a delicious baby for nibbling…I mean, cuddling.

Above: Cheers to creating at least one holiday event sans stress.

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Want to throw a last-minute party? For inspiration, see From Garden to Party: The 7 Best Holiday Cocktails.