Cheeze Wizz on crackers and onion dip with potato chips fuel many low budget parties, but your guests expect the sophistication of fine offerings elegantly presented and served. Following are some suggestions that raise the bar on luxury and will be sure to please your guests:
A wine that has reached its peak of maturity offers nuances and textures a young wine cannot achieve. An old, fine wine is a sure party-pleaser that illustrates your elegant taste. No old wine should be opened until it is brilliantly clear, and the sediment has completely settled. So be sure to order these wines well in advance of the party. A bottle of old red wine can take two or three weeks to settle after it is delivered. Keep it in a cool, dark place.
According to Food and Wine, some of the best older vintages include 1999 and 2001 Red Bordeaux, 2001 and 2003 Red Burgandy, 1996 and 1998 Barolo, 1999 and 2002 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1993 and 2002 German Riesling. Reported as “outstanding” are 1999 Mondavi Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet and 1993 Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken Spätlese Riesling.
Uncorking the wine will often involve removing an old cork, and the wrong corkscrew can plunge pieces of cork into a prized bottle. Food and Wine recommends the Corkfish wine cork retriever, which is available from Amazon. Decant most red wines about two to three hours before serving. However, if the wine is twenty or more years old, decant immediately before serving because the amazing aromas and flavors quickly vanish.
Serve caviar in the original container on top of ice. Do not use silver spoons, which may affect the taste. Mother-of-Pearl spoons are elegant servers. Garnishes can include chopped onions, hardboiled egg, chives, dill, crème fraiche, and lemon wedges. Be sure the crackers are top of the line, crispy, and fresh. You can also serve caviar with freshly buttered toast points. Beluga is the rarest and most desirable caviar, a coveted delicacy, but it has an acquired taste. Orange or red salmon caviar has larger pieces and a more subtle flavor. White sturgeon caviar is very salty with milder fish flavor. If most of your guests have a sophisticated palette, go for the Beluga. Otherwise, offer milder caviar along with Beluga.
There over 60 varieties of truffle. The Italian white truffle is one of the most sought after and highly regarded. This fungus that is worth its weight in gold is an elegant addition to a party. Truffle cones are elegant, tasty finger foods. Twist thinly sliced, cured bresaola into cones and fill with arugula, shaved cheese, a spread of truffles, and serve with lemon wedges. Put a half teaspoon of truffles on deviled eggs. The best way to use truffles is in eggs, cream, and butter. They lose their taste quickly when combined with other ingredients, so plan ingredients and cooking times accordingly. Serve as soon as possible after preparing.
FINE AND RARE SPIRITS
To help you chose the finest spirits for your guests, Forbes suggests the following among others:
- Auchentoshan American Oak, Scotch Whisky is smooth and light with notes of vanilla and caramelized sugar and a bit of spice;
- Hibiki 12 & 17, Japanese Blended Whisky. Japanese spirits have become increasingly available and desirable, and they are receiving an increasing number of global awards, including the world’s best whiskey;
- George Dickel Rye Whiskey differs from similar bourbon because of a final charcoal filtering that removes taste impurities;
- Bowmore Small Batch Single Malt, Scotch Whisky has the traditional Islay character without overpowering the palate. Tropical fruit flavors and a rum-like note make it different from most spirits on the market today;
- Green Spot, Irish Single Pott is rare and prized and made in the traditional copper pot still instead of large, commercial stills;
- Midleton Very Rare, Irish Blend won the Double Gold at the San Francisco International Spirits Competition. The triple-distilled whiskeys are aged in bourbon casks that are more than 12 years old.
- Balblair, Single Malt Scotch Whisky is smooth, rich and full-bodied. Spirits’ Expert Larry Olmsted calls it “perhaps the greatest hidden gem in the world of Scotch.”
The most expensive spirits you may wish to serve discerning guests may run your home bar tab into the tens of thousands. Click here to see the most expensive bottles on the market today and select your favorite(s). Hint: it is mostly Scotch. Prices range from $3,500 to $50,000. The Balvenie 50-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Speyside tops the list, but your guests will not feel diminished when served the $4,000 Bunnahabhain Limited Edition 40-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Islay.
The top five cigars of 2018 include The Wise Man Maduro Robusto, Padrón Family Reserve No. 44 (Natural), H. Upmann Sir Winston. Arturo Fuente Hemingway Work of Art, JFR Lunatic Habano Short Robusto, and Olivia Serie V Melanio Churchill. Invite your cigar smoking guests to a separate area with comfortable conversation area seating, abundant ashtrays, low light, a fire if possible, and enjoy their appreciation of your thoughtful hospitality.
Please your guests with these lavish treats at your next dinner party and relax knowing you are providing the finest.
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