When the weather turns cold, entertaining moves inside. But that can be a missed opportunity. Even in the chill of a winter’s night, there are many opportunities to gather friends around for a brisk but toasty, chilly but warm-hearted winter party outside! The In Good Taste Denver team had a Winter’s Night outdoor party recently that was a big success. Here’s how we did it:

Set the Stage:

Chandeliers in the trees? Why not? You can do it in your own yard as inspired by "Trail of Lights" at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms.
Chandeliers in the trees? Why not? You can do it in your own yard as inspired by “Trail of Lights” at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms.

Inspired by Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms’ “Trail of Lights,” we suspended a chandelier from a tree branch, illuminated by candles. It was fanciful and pretty.

We created a campfire in a fire pit encircled by chairs. The group gathered around, eating, drinking, laughing and exchanging stories. We kept nice and warm and enjoyed looking up at the clear night’s sky and twinkling stars.

Warmth From the Inside, Out:

We warmed our hands and bellies with bowls of homemade Pork Posole Stew that we kept simmering on the stove. Toppings included guacamole, sour cream (or plain yogurt) and cilantro with tortilla chips for dipping.

We let the kids roast wieners over the fire for hotdogs. They loved “cooking” their own meals.

Winter's Night Entertaining
A hot pot of posole on the stove means warmth even outside by the fire.

 

Winter's Night Entertaining
A good way to get toasty warm is with Richardo’s Decaf Coffee Liqueur.

Dessert for the adults was a combination of a tasty cocktail and s’mores that we came up with, based on a recipe by Richardo’s Decaf Coffee Liqueur. Locally-made in Lyons, Colorado, Richardo’s Decaf Coffee Liqueur is made with decaf coffee, vanilla and neutral grain spirits. This past October, it was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the sixth annual Still On The Hill Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival held in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Made just outside Denver in Lyons, Richardo’s is a delicious 40-proof liqueur handcrafted in small batches at Spirit Hound Distillers. The spirit is delicious and we appreciate that it’s decaf so we aren’t getting buzzed while we languish over a dreamy cocktail. We took one of the many recipes from the Richardo’s website, the “Hot Ricky” and did a riff on a s’more. We’re calling it a “Campfire Ricky“:

First, we made the “Hot Ricky” by combining 2 oz. Richardo’s Decaf Coffee Liqueur, 2 oz. Spirit Hound Vodka and 6 oz. hot chocolate.
The kids stuck with just s’mores which was mighty fine by them.

Winter's Night Entertaining
Toasty! Combining a recipe from Richardo’s website with the idea of a s’more, we created our own treat, part cocktail and part dessert.

Second, we toasted marshmallows over our fire pit and slid them onto the cocktail and topped it with crumbled graham cracker. Delicious.

Don’t let a little cold weather keep you inside. Crisp, winter night’s are, to quote Robert Frost’s poem Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, “lovely, dark and deep.” Extend your entertaining venues outside and find the warmth, even on a cold winter’s night.  

Winter's Night Entertaining
Scenes from the IGTD holiday party. Good times by the fire.