Even if Elliott Clark weren't able to whip you up a delicious and inventive cocktail — which, make no mistake, he can — you'd still want to hang out with him. Clark, the Apartment Bartender, is the epitome of a great host: He believes party-throwing should be fun, not stressful, and that the menu shouldn't have to take all day to be a showstopper:
"When I first started home bartending, I wanted to go all out and make these complex, multi-step cocktails to impress my guests, but only ended up sweating and working the entire party like I was a hired bartender. I quickly learned that guests truly care about a fun, inviting atmosphere with good food and drink. I learned how to keep it simple, plan ahead and batch my cocktails so I could actually enjoy the time with people."
We partnered with Elliott and the appliance gurus at Dacor, whose sleek and stylish Modernist Collection turns any kitchen into a smart kitchen, to throw a simple-yet-stunning cocktail fete that encourages innovation while keeping it simple enough for a weeknight.
How many times have you thought about having people over, then decided it was too much work? (We'll take your silence to mean "a lot.") It doesn't have to be! Evening entertaining can be as simple as a signature happy hour sipper and one crowd-pleasing bite.
To get this point across, we asked Elliott to create a 1+1 mini-menu highlighting delicious, earthy fall flavors. He gave us a recipe for a fast and fancy hors d'oeuvre and created a bespoke cocktail (swoon) that's nice and warm for a fall gathering.
"I like experimenting in the kitchen, especially when it comes to cocktails. With food, I usually follow recipes as given. Not because I'm afraid to venture off, but mainly because I have a lot of friends in the food blogging space so I like to check out their blogs and try out their recipes."
And now without further ado, a simple but stunning crostini and Elliott's tasty take on a whiskey smash...
Get the recipe:
Miso-Roasted Wild Mushroom Crostini
Rich wild mushrooms — piled atop crostini — get a kiss of extra umami from a miso glaze to make a fast and fancy (and pretty filling) party bite.
Get the recipe:
Pomegranate Maple Whiskey Smash
The hearty sweetness of maple syrup teams up with puckery pomegranate for an autumnal cocktail that raises a glass to cozy fireside gatherings.
And that's it! It's an easy equation: food + drink + friends = party. Why make it complicated?
This post was created by the Kitchn Creative Studio and is sponsored by Dacor.
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