The inspiration? A gorgeous black velvet vintage cocktail dress I found in my mother's closet—not only is it timelessly elegant, it fits me like a glove. Since I otherwise wouldn't have an excuse to wear it, I decided to create a reason. (And I am the ultimate stickler for dress codes. Does "fancy, festive finery" have a ring?) I am equally excited about the dress as I am to dream of the food. The only acceptable thing to do, of course, is serve rare beef tenderloin and pour lots and lots of bubbles. (Extravagant? Perhaps. But forgettable? Not at all.) I haven't quite decided on the desserts, but I am absolutely positive there will be chocolate involved. And there's nothing like sipping on a specialty cocktail to keep guests mixing, mingling, and moving to the beat: a steamy spiked coffee drink is the perfect way to ensure the party stays alive! This peppermint coffee punch perfectly fits the bill. It is festive enough for any winter fête, and nobody has to know how easy it is. Offer it to guests after a filling sit down meal, set up a serve-yourself station if only offering hors d'oeuvres, or if you are feeling extra wild, pour a few rounds to pair with brunch. Whichever way you serve it, this festive beverage is guaranteed to please.
Peppermint Coffee ToddyServes 4-6 4 cups (32 ounces) very strong, freshly-brewed coffee 1 cup (8 ounces) peppermint schnapps 3/4 cup (6 ounces) crème de cacao 1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream Whipped cream, for serving Combine the coffee, peppermint schnapps, and crème de cacao in a large saucepan. Heat on medium-low until hot. Stir in heavy cream before serving and adjust liqueurs to taste, if desired. Garnish with whipped cream, fresh mint leaves, and candy canes. (Keep warm in an insulated carafe or coffee percolator if holding for a party.)
Related: Winter Holiday Recipe: Wassail Punch (Images: Nealey Dozier)