Holiday Cocktail Party Menu


Holiday menu

Happy Holidays from the woods! I love this time of year at the cabin when we get to make fires and be cozy.  For some seasonal festivity, I decorated our mantle with fresh greens, limes, persimmons and candles. Last Hanukkah, we had a little gathering to kick off the holiday. This menu was perfect for a group of people celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas (or neither!). It was festive, included a veggie twist on latkes but also a colorful nod to Christmas.

Latkes (potato pancakes) are a traditional Hanukkah food, and mine are made a bit lighter by using half grated zucchini. (I use the fine side of the box grater for both.) These are great for entertaining because they can be made ahead and served warm or at room temperature. Just add the toppings before serving. They work well as finger food so you can skip the silverware and simply put out small plates and/or napkins.

My version of a Moscow Mule has added sparkling apple cider and a colorful, seasonal garnish. (For a non-alcoholic version, just leave out the vodka and it’s still delicious.) It’s a festive drink for a party and can easily be made in a pitcher or punch bowl, or by the glass. For cocktail parties, we also usually serve wine, beer and a couple of non-alcoholic options like juice and sparkling water.

Cider mule

Cider Mule


(Equal parts, about 2 cups each)

  • Ginger beer
  • Sparkling cider
  • Vodka


  • Combine ingredients in a pitcher with ice
  • Garnish glasses with fresh cranberries and lime

Zucchini latkes

Zucchini Latkes


  • 2 C grated potato
  • 2 C grated zucchini
  • 1/2 C breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch of salt, pepper & garlic powder
  • Greek yogurt, chives & pomegranate seeds for garnish


  • After grating the potato and zucchini, squeeze the liquid out with a towel
  • Stir in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and eggs
  • Mix in the salt, pepper and garlic powder
  • Fry in olive oil using heaping 1 tablespoon scoops, flipping once so they brown on both sides
  • Garnish with the yogurt, chives and pomegranate seeds

Appetizer buffet

Holiday Party Appetizer Buffet


  • Macadamia nuts
  • Almonds
  • Grapes
  • Dates
  • Chocolates
  • Toffee
  • Sliced baguette
  • Crackers


Serve wine, cheese, crackers, fruit, nuts, chocolates and other finger foods alongside the latkes and cocktails. Get creative with what you serve!

What are your go-to holiday appetizers and drinks? Cheers to a happy, safe and peaceful holiday season!

Find more Hanukkah recipes here

December holiday party


About Erin Gleeson

After several years of working as a food photographer in New York City, Erin Gleeson moved to a cabin in the woods in California where she created The Forest Feast food blog and cookbook series which fuse her love of cooking with her own photography and watercolor paintings. Inspired by local ingredients she creates simple, mostly-vegetarian recipes that are full of fruits and vegetables. Her recipes are presented as visual diagrams that are simple to follow and are easy enough for a weeknight, yet impressive enough for a party. Erin also has a line of Forest Feast stationery and gift items which feature her artwork. She has just returned from 3 months in Europe where she did research for her 4th cookbook which will be focused on Mediterranean small plates (Abrams, Fall 2019). Follow along @theforestfeast.