Starters for Start ups-A cocktail party sure to warm your Hearth from Heat Magazine

Written by Aurora Nessly | Cocktails, Recipe Developer, Food Stylist
Photography by Bill Brady
If variety is the spice of life then this cocktail party sings of joie de vivre.

This is a truly global banquet of small bites and stimulating libations certain to heat things up for your holidays.


Heat comes in many forms: from the burn of a hot pepper to the steam off a mulled concoction, to the energy of a great party. We wanted to encompass these sensations in our menu and what ensued was a true celebration of both the season and the world of spicy cuisine


Pom-Persimmon Vodka Martini
Hot Spiced Ginger Rum
The Selma Hayek
The Greta Garbo

Taste the persimmon, pomegranate, and blood orange that burst with vivid colors in your glass. Sip and savor the ginger highlighting our hot ginger rum and tantalizing our whiskey highball. Indulge yourself with a bit of peppered beef with horseradish cream and sample on our skewers of grilled pork. Reminisce about past years as you bite a miniature mac and cheese and take your taste buds on vacation as you sink your teeth into a soup dumpling. The menu is diverse, the cocktails are bold, and your house is soon to be filled with a plethora of scintillating aromas sure to captivate the warmth of the season.

Pom-Persimmon Vodka Martini
By Gina Mungiovi

Festive colors and seasonal ripened fruits come alive in this bliss between creamy persimmon puree, crunchy pomegranate seeds, and vodka. There are several varieties of persimmons, all which work well with this cocktail. The pomegranate considered a “super fruit” both high in nutrients and rich in antioxidants, is an element we can all use every day, especially around the holiday season. To make the puree: Trim 1 persimmon of stem and seeds or pit. In a food processor, puree persimmon with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar until smooth. (Makes enough puree for 4-6 cocktails.)

To make the cocktail:

2 ounces Vodka
½ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce pomegranate juice
1-ounce simple syrup
2 tablespoons persimmon puree

1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice; shake Vodka, lemon juice, pomegranate juice and simple syrup well until chilled.
2. Place 2 tablespoons persimmon puree at the bottom of a chilled martini glass.
3. Pour cocktail mix over puree, garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve.

Yield: 1 martini

Hot Spiced Ginger Rum (cover)
By Laurie Knoop

This hot rum drink uses freshly sliced ginger, which contributes as a great ingredient to add some more warmth to your happy holiday. Simple and ready in a snap!

8 ounces water
4 slices fresh ginger
2 cloves, whole
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 ounces of Rum
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch of nutmeg

1. Bring water, ginger, cloves and sugar to a simmer over mediumhigh heat for 3 minutes.
2. Place Rum in mug. Strain the boiling water mixture into the rum glass.
3. Add a pinch of nutmeg and stir together with cinnamon stick.

The Greta Garbo
By Aurora Nessly

This drink ain’t for no stingy baby. The ginger is potent enough to bite back, yet perfectly soothing for a full belly. A classic cocktail, with a twist.

1 part Whiskey
3 parts ginger beer
1 lime, juiced
A twist of candied ginger
for garnish

1. Add ice to a cocktail shaker and a highball.
2. Mix in Whisky, ginger beer, and lime juice into shaker and shake well, strain into highball.
3. Top with a twist of candied ginger.

Yield: 1 highball

The Selma Hayek
By Aurora Nessly

Bright vivid colors accent this margarita from the fresh cranberries to the sinister blood orange puree. It’s time for a walk on the wild side.
Release your inhibitions …

¼ cup fresh whole cranberries
2 tablespoons blood orange puree
(or 1 squeezed blood orange)
2 limes, 1 juiced, 1 for garnish
2 ounces silver Tequila
4 ounces cranberry juice
2 ounces Triple Sec
Jalapeno salt for dusting (or use the
juice of a fresh jalapeno around the
glass rim and then mix on sea salt)

1. In a food processor, puree cranberries until finely minced. Add in blood orange puree and juiced lime and pulse further.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add tequila, cranberry juice, triple sec, and cranberry and blood orange puree. Shake well.
3. Rim your low-ball glass with salt either by using a lime slice squeezed around the rim and dipping into sea salt cracked onto a plate or by going bold and using the juice of a jalapeno.
4. Strain your margarita into your glass and serve with a garnish of lime.

Yield: 1 margarita

Photographer Bill Brady
Food Stylist and Recipe creation Gina Mingiovi
Food Stylist and Recipe creation Laurie Knoop
Written by and Recipe creation Aurora Nessly
Courtesy of Heat Magazine