Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dinner party drinks and my latest thrift store find

DSC_0556 liquors

I love a great deal, don’t you? I found this set of vintage glassware in a thrift store for nine dollars. That’s right, nineteen pieces of glassware for nine bucks. There’s a matching set of six cordial glasses, another matching set of eight, and five shot glasses. Here’s a closer look. The photos don’t do justice, because I haven’t figured out how to take pictures of glassware, but hopefully you can see the lovely etching in the glasses. 

DSC_0561 cordials

Now. I have to admit that I’m a wine gal. I don’t usually have an aperitif before dinner, nor do I  typically sip on cordials or liqueurs after dinner. I know. What’s wrong with me? So to refresh my memory, I reviewed some yummy choices for my new favorite stemware.

An Aperitif is a cocktail served before the meal. The word aperitif comes from the Latin word aperire,  which means “to open,” and is usually a light, dry beverage meant to open up or spark the appetite.  The most familiar aperitif is Campari, the red Italian drink that is very bitter. Adding chilled soda is common.

Other popular aperitifs include Dubonnet and Lillet.

Dubonnet originated almost 150 years ago as a French aperitif but for the last fifty years both red and white versions in this country are American made—White Dubonnet is a dry white wine infused with herbs and a touch of brandy. While Red Dubonnet is much sweeter, flavored with spices and quinine.

Lillet is another wine-based aperitif that comes in red and white. Made in a small town in France, the recipe is secret although it’s a combination of herbs, roots and fruits. According to film lore, this was a favorite of James Bond, who preferred to mix Lillet in his martini.

The term Liqueur derives from the Latin word meaning “melt” or “dissolve”—and as a basic rule, these are liquors made from herbs nuts and spices. Popular choices include Kahlua, Amaretto, Frangelico and Sambuca. They are often poured into hot coffee after dinner or sipped on their own.

Liqueurs and Cordials are  terms that are often used interchangeably because they are both sweet after- dinner drinks made by distilling the alcohol through their choice of ingredients.

Cordials are generally made from fruits or fruit juices, and these include, Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, Curacao (Orange-flavored) and Chambord (Raspberry). Usually cordials are sipped in glasses poured three-fourths of the way full or served in double shot glasses.

The Brown Liquors include brandy, whiskey, scotch, cognac and bourbon and each have their own distinct flavor. Generally these are paired with a fine cigar or simple pound cake. As an after dinner drink they are served on the rocks or on their own. Good choices  are Remy Martin (cognac), Jameson (whiskey) or Glenfiddich (scotch).

Resources: and Spirits: The Art of the Aperitif, article from Food and Wine Magazine.


And now, some lovely dinner settings for inspiration

4839140192_ab771f4af9 house beautifulSource: House Beautiful

A simple green leaf reinforces the motif in the tablecloth. You could use also write the guest’s name on the leaf and use as a place card. The bold napkin color adds spunk.

4852710731_4a9eabc400_o IndieFixx

Source: IndieFixx

I love the simplicity of these paper flowers, brown paper runner and stenciled napkins. Now I wonder what they’re drinking….


This is an example of how the flower choice can set a tone. The colors, tapered candles, silver pieces and French chair add a sense of formality. Looks like a pretty wedding table.

5166990999_2ca31429e2_b josevilla stylemeprettySource: Style Me Pretty

This is a timeless look. Silver pieces mixed with rustic looking placemats, Hydrangeas, and petite topiaries. And don’t you love the touch of black in the glassware?

final-alchemy-glass-alexian events

Source: alexian events

I’m a fan of green. Love the colored glassware and embellished ribbon around the napkins.

4991258630_81db5d2ce9_b camilleSource: camille

Pieces of green moss with simple ferns and garden flowers looks lovely on a summer table. Repeating the clear glassware (votive holders, glasses, domes and decanters) down the center of the table adds drama.

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