This post is sponsored by Cupcake Vineyards. All opinions are my own.
Holiday entertaining is always a great idea, especially when it’s easy and effortless. That’s why a holiday happy hour is one of the simplest ways to celebrate the season.
In today’s entertaining guide, learn how to host a “Bubbles & Bites Happy Hour”, which is fun for both you and your guests.
Choose a Party Theme
Whenever you’re planning a party, start with a theme in mind.
For a recent celebration, I decided to keep the kitchen prep-work to a minimum, so I opted to serve appetizers paired with sparkling wines from Cupcake Vineyards. That’s how the idea of a “Bubbles & Bites Happy Hour” theme came to mind.
Opt for Easy, Effortless Beverages
Let’s be honest – most people get excited when they’re served a glass of bubbly.
The sound that the cork makes when you pop open a bottle. The effervescent, refreshing taste you enjoy as that first sip hits your lips. And the bubbly chatter that often follows after indulging in a glass of sparkling wine.
For all these reasons and more, serving sparkling wine is always a wise choice.
Some of my favorite wines for parties are Cupcake Vineyards Sparkling Rosé and Prosecco. Featuring light floral notes and undertones of strawberry and raspberry, the Sparkling Rosé is a true crowd-pleaser. Equally delightful, the Prosecco contains aromas of white peach, honeydew, and grapefruit with toasted brioche finish.
These easy-to-drink, refreshing palate-pleasers are exciting beverages for any celebration. Whenever I serve or bring a bottle of Cupcake Vineyards to a party, people light up! The charming label, the playful vibe, and the sumptuous taste are why Cupcake Vineyards brings joy to every party.
To cater to guests’ different flavor preferences, serve both varietals at a holiday happy hour.
Another perk of serving bubbly at a party is that it’s fuss-free. Chill the bottles in advance and put them in an ice bucket for the party. In just 3 steps, here’s how to safely pop open a bottle of bubbly (without a bottle opener).
- Unwrap the foil wrapper.
- Remove the wire cage.
- Slowly turn the cork.
It’s that easy!
Plan a Savory & Sweet Menu
To satisfy all types of palates, plan a savory and sweet menu for your holiday happy hour.
To start with, a classic cheese and fruit plate always pairs well with sparkling wines.
- Ripe fruits (like strawberries, raspberries, and grapes) add vibrant color and juicy flavor.
- Rich wheat crackers are complemented by cured meats and savory cheeses.
- Cheeses that pair well with sparkling wine include a creamy Brie cheese and an aromatic, nutty Gouda cheese.
- Toasted honey-glazed pecans adds a hint of sweetness and crunchy texture.
- To add a festive holiday vibe, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary are the finishing touch.
Another healthy and delicious appetizer option is vegetable crudités (also known as a veggie platter). This traditional French appetizer features an assortment of raw vegetables accompanied by a dipping sauce or a vinaigrette.
By serving a variety of fresh vegetables (like tomatoes, cucumbers, edamame, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower), you not only give your guests lots of options, but it also creates a beautiful colorful display. Guests can choose to eat the veggies as-is, or they can add a dollop of dressing (like a creamy ranch or honey balsamic) on top.
The best part about both types of appetizers is that they’re fuss-free. Not only are cold appetizers easy to serve (since there’s no cooking or heating), they’re also great as finger foods (which is easier for standing guests)
For a holiday happy hour, instead of serving sugars galore, opt for a few simple, yet satisfying, desserts.
A couple of effortless options include dark chocolate-covered espresso beans and coconut toasted macarons. Both pair nicely with Cupcake’s sparkling wines, and are an easy way to quench a sugar craving.
Create a Festive Atmosphere
The quickest way to put a smile on your guests’ faces is by creating a festive atmosphere.
A tip I learned recently from an entertaining expert and former contributor to Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple was, “The key to a great party is to surprise and delight your guests”.
A warm and inviting way to welcome guests into your home is with celebratory party decorations.
From a fun-filled DIY Balloon Garland as table decór to an enchanting array of fresh flowers in gilded vases, set the tone for your happy hour with a beautiful and charming display.
Using a variety of colors, sizes, and styles (from 5″ pearlized white to 12″ metallic rose gold), arranging air-filled latex balloons into an organic garland creates a whimsical backdrop for any table. What’s also great about a DIY Balloon Garland is that you can create it hours before the party, and it will stay intact for days after.
To bring your table to life, decorate with fresh seasonal flowers. For example, if you’re hosting your happy hour during Fall, use an array of rich autumnal shades (like burgundy, olive green, gold, and pumpkin orange).
You can also scatter dried leaves and pine cones on the table for added texture and sensory appeal. It helps to draw the eye from one section of the table to the next, creating visual intrigue.
Last, but certainly not least, carry your party theme throughout your entertaining spaces. From your dining room to your living room, add festive decorations (like lit candles and playful balloons) to create a fun party atmosphere.
For more inspiring ideas, check out the Entertaining section on Inspirations & Celebrations.