Favorite Cocktails of 2014

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 // A Well Crafted Party

In the spirit of the new year I’m looking back on some favorites… since I try to post cocktails on Saturdays for my Saturday Spirits posts I thought I’d share my top five favorite cocktail posts of 2014! These five are the cocktails that I loved the most out of the ones I shared this past year.

Favorite Cocktails of 2014 - Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail

This cocktail has to be my favorite of the year… not because it is complex or anything. But, I loved the flavor of the home-made lollipop paired with the sparkling wine. I featured this drink at my Hey Girl— Ryan Gosling themed birthday party.

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014- Spiked Ice Cream  // A Well Crafted Party

Spiked Ice Cream (without an ice cream maker)

Not quite sure this one counts as a cocktail really… but, it definitely counts as a favorite. These easy spiked ice cream recipes don’t even need an ice cream maker.

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 - Lemon Ginger Drop // A Well Crafted Party

Lemon Ginger Drop

A good lemon drop should be sweet and tart both. This Lemon Ginger Drop gives you the sweet, the tart & an added kick of spice!

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 - Twist on the Classic Martini // A Well Crafted Party

Twists on the Classic Martini

Never underestimate the greatness of a good ole’ fashion martini. Twists on the classic martini can make an old favorite a new favorite with ease.

Favorite Cocktail Recipes of 2014 - Jalapeno margarita // A Well Crafted Party

Jalapeno Margarita

I guess I really like a kick in my cocktails. This Jalapeno Margarita recipe was inspired by the best margarita I’ve ever had.

Top Posts of 2014

 

The “Top Posts” blog posts that are going around seem to get a 50/50 response to whether people enjoy them or not. Regular readers are probably bored by them because they have read all of the posts within the list… but, new readers get a quick hit list of posts to check out. I thought about this when deciding whether or not to include a couple of my own “top” posts lists. If anything else, it is a good form of blog maintenance for me so that I can keep track of what readers like to read and what I like to write. So, with no further ado… here are the top 5 posts visited on my blog in 2014 according to Google Analytics:

 

Top Posts of 2014: Three Free Blog Planner Printables for 2014 // A Well Crafted Party

Most visited post of 2014:

My top post of 2014 was the free printable blog planners. Check out the 2014 blog planner edition of the printables. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter… the 2015 edition is coming very soon and blog subscribers get first downloads!

Top Posts of 2014: Free Potluck Printables // A Well Crafted Party

Second highest visited post of 2014:

My second most visited post of 2014 are the potluck printables I created. Click on over to download the free potluck printables! If you liked those potluck printables then you might like the holiday potluck printables and facebook invite cover images I created. Pin them for next year.

Top Posts of 2014: First Birthday Party Activity Ideas // A Well Crafted Party

Third highest visited post of 2014:

My third post that vistors frequented the most is actually a favorite from 2012— First Birthday Activity Ideas. I loved this party so much… but, we had even more fun at the kiddo’s second birthday a Town Themed birthday party filled with tons of town-themed party ideas!

Top Posts of 2014: Free Printable Cupcake Toppers  // A Well Crafted Party

Fourth highest visited post of 2014:

My fourth post that readers seemed to visit the most is another free printable post— Free Printable Mini Cupcake Toppers. The Luck in Love party (another highly visited post) featured these adorable toppers. I think they’d make for a cute Valentine’s party element.

Top Posts of 2014: DIY Cherry Blossom Branches  // A Well Crafted Party

Fifth highest post visited in 2014:

My fifth highest post that readers popped in to view is a DIY project that will be perfect for you upcoming Spring parties… it’s just around the corner after all! These DIY Cherry Blossom Branches are beautiful decorating the home or as a centerpiece at a party.


 

Photo credits: Potluck photos via The Spicy Bee // First Birthday photos via Motormouth Studio // Cherry Blossom Photos via Capturing Grace

More Oyster Toppings + Champagne Granita Recipe

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Continuing with all the oyster goodness (sorry for my followers that are not a fan… I will give oysters a break soon!) I have one more quick way to make a tasty topping for your oyster platters. At my recent Black, White & Gold birthday celebration I served to different platter of oysters. I served a briny oyster with champagne granita and a sweeter oyster with tabasco and lemon. I always love a good oyster with tabasco and lemon. However, these champagne granita topped oysters were AMAZING. I could have eaten a dozen of them myself! 

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Me and The Spicy Bee enjoying oysters

Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Oyster tips from Whole Foods Market:

  • The smaller they are, the sweeter they are
  • Shucking is about finesse, not power
  • The Sweet Spot – There’s an open area in the back of the shell when the knife stops turning, twist the knife and pop the shell open
  • Protection – Wear a thick glove to protect your hand and use a rag to hold the oyster for leverage
  • History – Find out where the oyster is coming from. They should always have a tag. If they don’t have a tag, you don’t want that oyster!
  •  If you’re hosting an event or just craving oysters, Whole Foods Market can shuck them in-house for you!
  • Oysters are best 2-3 hours after being shucked.
  • Prime time for oysters is now through February; the colder the weather, the better the oyster!
  • Check out my post on shucking oysters here!
  • Check out my tabasco shaved ice topping for oysters here!
  • Check out even more oyster topping ideas on the Whole Foods Market Blog.
Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

Briny-flavored oysters topped with champagne granita

How To Make Champagne Granita Topped Oysters

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Shucked Oysters – Use a briny oyster to pair nicely with the sweetness of the granita. Shuck the oysters yourself or you can do what I do and ask the nice people at your local Whole Foods Market to shuck them for you.

Directions:

  1. Pour 2 cups of champagne into a bowl with 1/2 cup sugar. 
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Pour solution into a pan or tupperware item, cover and put in freezer. 
  4. After 1 hour take a fork and break up the partially frozen mixture. You want to sort of drag the fork in lines along the mixture.
  5. Put mixture back in freezer. Repeat step 4 a few times until the mixture is a sort of snow cone consistency. 
  6. Top oysters with a spoonful (about a teaspoon) of champagne granita and serve immediately. 

Serving a less briny oyster? Pair it with little slices of lemon and tabasco for guests to use to taste or a top with a spicy tabasco shaved ice!

 Oysters with Tabasco and Lemon Wedges // A Well Crafted Party

This post was not sponsored by Whole Foods Market even though it sort of reads like it is… I learned a lot about oysters when I visited the store for an oyster tasting and then have visited several times since to purchase oysters and feed my oyster addiction. 

Oysters with Tabasco Shaved Ice

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

There is just something so decadent and fancy about oysters. They are not an everyday treat and at a restaurant they can get quite expensive. Oysters are actually quite affordable as an at home appetizer and not at all difficult to make… especially if you let the wonderful people at the seafood counter take care of the shucking for you! The fun part (for me) of serving oysters is making toppings that complement the oysters. For this recipe I used a Miyagi oyster with a full meat flavor and mild brininess (to me they were almost sweet!). I like the spicier topping for oysters that are less salty and sweeter toppings for the oysters that have a strong brininess. You’ll have to scroll through some amazing photos taken by the amazing Mary Boyden before you get to the recipe. Hopefully you don’t get TOO hungry.

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters

Ingredients/Supplies:

  • Oysters – Not too briny. I used Miyagi, but the seafood department may be able to help you find an oyster that they carry that will pair nicely with tabasco. I got my oysters from my local Whole Foods Market.
  • Tabasco
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Ice
  • Food Processor

Directions:

Tops approximately 12 oysters

  1. Shuck Oysters (or have them shucked for you) and put on a bed of ice
  2. Take 1 cup of ice and put in food processor
  3. Shake in about 1 1/2 teaspoons of tabasco into the ice
  4. Squeeze 1/2 lemon juice into ice
  5. Put food processor on until ice is to a shaved consistency.
  6. Taste ice– if the ice isn’t spicy enough add more tabasco and mix by turning on the food processor
  7. Spoon about a teaspoon of the tabasco shaved ice onto each oyster and serve immediately.

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Want more?

Resources:
Photography by Mary Boyden— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Vintage Rentals by Something Borrowed— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Cocktail Napkins from Hen House Linens— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Aqua Leather Wrap Bracelet via Flourish Leather— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Styled Shoot by Bloggers of Create-Enjoy, Ladies in Navy & A Well Crafted Party:
Connect with Suzannah of Create-Enjoy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with Kelsey of Ladies in Navy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with ME! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest OR Click Share on the bottom of this post!

Classic NYE Game Night + Free Printables

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Classic Game Night New Year’s Eve Party

Going out is great on New Year’s Eve… well, great if you like long lines, high costs, and crowds. For people who enjoy bringing the fun home this idea is perfect.

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

I was excited to get to work with Kelsey from Ladies in Navy, Suzannah from Create-Enjoy and local photographer Mary Boyden on a New Year’s Eve party styled shoot. We wanted to show an elegant and classic mix of elements for a fun at-home game night to ring in the new year. Enjoy these gorgeous photos and let them serve as inspiration for your NYE night!

In addition to the gorgeous inspiration you’ll be able to find recipes from the event throughout the week through this blog and the blogs of my co-bloggers. Portland-local vintage rental company Something Borrowed shared some gorgeous vintage pieces for the photoshoot. Currently Something Borrowed is offering holiday dinner packages so that your holiday parties are decked out with gorgeous vintage tableware!

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Free Printables:

Kelsey and I also collaborated on a beautiful collection of free printables. Kelsey wrote several phrases in her beautiful calligraphers script. I then digitized them and created an invite, signs and party circles. Click on the links below to download your free printables. Save the files to your computer and print on cardstock! I created all of the printable items seen in the photos using these printables, Scotch Brand Expressions Washi tape, and a sequined covered scrapbook paper.

New Year’s Eve Free Printables:

 

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Want more?

New Year's Eve Game Night + Free Printables // A Well Crafted Party - Photos via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty


 

Resources:
Photography by Mary Boyden— Connect: WebsiteFacebookInstagram
Vintage Rentals by Something Borrowed— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Cocktail Napkins from Hen House Linens— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Aqua Leather Wrap Bracelet via Flourish Leather— Connect: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Styled Shoot by Bloggers of Create-Enjoy, Ladies in Navy & A Well Crafted Party:
Connect with Suzannah of Create-Enjoy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with Kelsey of Ladies in Navy: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Connect with ME! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest OR Click Share on the bottom of this post!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

The beautiful Bee (The Spicy Bee), Me! and the gorgeous Kayla (Fit Life Forward) celebrating!

 

Well, it happened again… I turned another year older. All those that know me know that while aging isn’t my favorite thing, BIRTHDAYS are. This year I let the West Elm party animal appetizer plates inspire a black, white and gold cocktail party that was decadent and slightly silly. I decided to share some photos from the party now because I feel like these might just inspire a fun New Year’s Eve event! Next week I’ll also share the recipes I made for the festive fare.

Read on for a list of DIYd items, resources, menu notes and activities! I’ve linked several items to posts with recipes. There are also a few affiliate links below. A portion of purchases made through affiliate links help support this blog at no cost to readers.

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Beverages:

We served the Bourbon Apple Ginger Punch as a signature beverage that was easily accessible to guests. In addition I had the fixings for classic martinis, red and white Hob Nob wine and lots of sparkling wine, including one of my favorite sparklings the Sokol Blosser Evolution Sparkling wine.  We also had a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. One of my favorite ways to make a champagne glass feel even MORE special is to add in a lollipop. Either by using homemade lollies or pretty rock candies!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Hors d’oeurves:

The party was slated as a cocktails and cake party… which, of course we had both of those things. But, I wanted more a more savory fare to fill everyone’s bellies. I’m sharing the recipes for many of these items soon.. but, here is the cocktail party menu:

  • Oysters with Champagne Granita
  • Oysters with Lemon and Tabasco
  • Sea Salt Kettle Potato Chips with Crème Fraîche, Caviar and Chive Dip
  • Italian Cured Meats wrapped around arugula
  • Apples with Goat Cheese Spread
  • Artichoke Hearts wrapped in bacon
  • Chicago Mix Popcorn
  • Sweet & Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Activities & Favors:

I didn’t schedule many activities for the party as the food and drinks were the main attraction. I did however set up a photobooth area and made a fun game out of the favors. I did “grab bag” style favors and wrapped up several different gifts from which my gusts to choose. I purchased half of the gifts with the idea of “Whatever will be, will be” in mind. Those presents ended up being games of chance, alcohol, and even a Magic 8 Ball! For the other side of the favor area I chose gifts with the idea of a type-A personality in mind and chose good self-help books, journals, office supplies and the like. Before guests left I asked them to choose a gift and got to watch them open the gifts up. It ended up being my favorite part of the night!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Sweet Treats:

I love savory foods… but, at my birthday there is just nothing like a great sweet treat. At this party I served champagne jello squares, chocolate truffles and a layered chocolate cake I purchased at the bakery at Whole Foods Market called the “Chocolate Explosion” cake. It was super tasty!

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Black, White & Gold Cocktail Party // Real Party featured on A Well Crafted Party

Decor:

I kept the decor pretty simple. I used the Gilded Dapper Animal Plates from West Elm to inspire the look. Beyond that I put up DIY’d hand-painted signs and LOTS of gold fringe

What is your favorite thing to serve at birthday parties?

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