You can enhance the effect of great cocktails by choosing canapés that suit the flavours and themes.
The perfect canapés will depend on whether you are having a cocktail party or if you are having cocktails before dinner.
A good way to start planning your cocktail party is to decide on a theme – this does not need to be a tacky idea. You could stick to a colour, a style of music or a country for a theme. This does not mean that all your guests have to dress up and feel ludicrous, unless you want them to, it can just be a way to make your evening hang together in a coherent fashion.
Perfect Canapés for Themed Cocktail Parties
This is a good theme for a more relaxed, noisy affair. You can go for cocktails such as margaritas and daiquiris and have canapés that bring out their zingy flavours and match the mood. How about making a fresh salsa, with plenty of chopped tomatoes, coriander, chilli, red onion and lime juice – serve this in a bowl with plenty of tortilla chips to dip. Also try padre pimentos – fresh green chillies that are wonderful fried in a little olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt – their mild flavour is perfect with tequila based drinks, although about one in ten is an awful lot hotter than the others! Mini frozen margarita pies are perfect for a sweet canapé to end the evening – like cheesecakes but with a kick.
An exotic theme is perfect for a girly night and also works well as a prelude to a Thai meal. You can buy lychee liqueur from larger supermarkets or oriental stores and it makes a fabulous martini, or use it for a lychee Bellini. These drinks go wonderfully with mini Thai meatballs – mix some minced pork, chicken or turkey with a spoonful of red or green Thai curry paste, a dash of fish sauce, a sprinkle of sugar and plenty of chopped spring onions. Make little balls and either fry or bake – this can be done in advance and reheated on the night. Serve in a bowl with plenty of sweet chilli sauce to dip. You can have cocktail sticks for dipping. Prawn toast is also easy to prepare and the little triangles can be arranged nicely. Just mash up a packet or fresh prawns with some corn flour, Chinese five spice, sugar and a dribble of rice wine or dry sherry. Toast bread on one side, then spread the prawn mixture on the other side, grill or bake and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Old Fashioned Glamour
– You can really go to town with a glamorous evening and it will be a night your guests will remember. Go for champagne cocktails to set the mood and set some time aside in the afternoon to make some sushi. This is the perfect match as it looks wonderful and the raw fish partners the dry bubbles perfectly. Most large supermarkets have sushi making kits now and it is far easier than you may think! Make sushi rice and cool it quickly, mixing in a dressing of mirin, sugar and rice vinegar. Using sheets of nori (seaweed) make maki rolls with smoked salmon, avocado and spring onion. By all means use raw salmon or tuna and a swipe of wasabi, but make sure your fish is totally fresh – ask your fishmonger what is fresh that day and that you are going to eat it raw.