While I have to award major points to those of you who threw crazy MLK-themed parties, January is definitely not the month most conducive to throwing holiday-themed parties. It’s too late for Christmas parties and a little too premature to break out all the pink and red for Valentine’s Day.
But at this point, throwing a party is one of your best options to deal with the weather: you can drink to stay warm and surround yourself with as many people as possible to keep the body heat flowing. So I propose some non-traditional party alternatives and, as always, plenty of food will be involved.
It’s time for a tea party!
In my opinion, you are never too old for a tea party. It’s an excuse to dress like an adult and act like a kid, and who can refuse a steaming hot cup of something delicious to make them warm and cozy?
To keep it interesting, choose a few different teas that will appeal to a variety of taste buds and really impress your guests. I would recommend having at least three types of tea: a black tea, a green or herbal tea and a wild card.
- For the black tea, put away those Lipton tea bags and choose something with a sharper flavor. I highly recommend Assam tea or Darjeeling tea, both of which come from India.
- For the herbal tea, select an herbal blend, rather than just a boring, basic green tea. My roommate particularly loves a tea called Chinese Flower; it’s a green tea blended with flowers and lemon.
- As for the wild card, choose something funky with a really robust flavor. You could go with a spicy Chai to stay on the safer side, but if you want to experiment, try a South African red rooibos tea or oolong tea.
Remember to have fun with the food too! Keep the dishes small and try to have a mixture of savory and sweet foods. Try mini muffins or mini croissants, or make sandwiches and cut them into bite-size pieces. For an excellent tea-ready sandwich, try brie cheese, a few apple slices and baby spinach between whole wheat bread.
The anti-wine and cheese party
In my world, one could never attend enough wine and cheese parties, but I’m beginning to realize that many of my friends aren’t that into wine. Hence, I propose the anti-wine and cheese party: the beer and brats party — just in time for the Super Bowl!
This is NOT the time to break out the PBR or Busch Light. If you’re going to have this kind of party, you need to do it right, and this means splurging on good beer. Shy away from your typical domestic brews and experiment with a Belgian ale or an Irish stout; or support the local breweries and buy some Goose Island.
As for the brats part of the party, try to buy brats or sausages that will pair well with your beer selection; otherwise, you’ll all just end up with really nasty tastes in your mouths.
- If you select an English or Irish beer, pick up some Irish sausages, often referred to as bangers.
- To uphold the party’s namesake, you’ll need some bratwursts, a traditional Eastern-European sausage.
- I’d also recommend an alternative like chicken sausage or an Italian sausage flavored with sundried tomatoes and basil. You can buy the chicken sausage at Whole Foods, and the sundried tomato variety can be found at Trader Joe’s.
You can also add festivity to your party with different dipping sauces (save the basic ketchup and mustard for later). Try this one:
- Mix a cup of sour cream together with a few chopped cloves of garlic, a couple tablespoons of prepared horseradish and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
- Add lots of black pepper and few pinches of salt.
- Pair this with your Irish sausages. It also doubles as an amazing sandwich spread.
Keep on brainstorming!
Hopefully you’ll continue to experiment with other food-related party themes, but here are a few more to get your brains going:
- Dr. Seuss party. (Pesto) green eggs and (proscuitto) ham anyone?
- Sake and sushi party. Two words: sake bomb! You provide the sake and tell your friends to each bring a few rolls of their favorite sushi to share with the group.
- Tini-nini party. Martinis and paninis anyone? The possibilities are endless!