We’ve taken the guesswork out of throwing a spectacular party. These suggestions for delicious food, well-matched drinks and perfect playlists are sure to keep guests snacking, sipping and grooving all night long.
Whether you’re planning a summer barbecue, a New Year’s Eve party or your own birthday bash, it’s important to have the right blend of food, drinks and, of course, music! We’ve come up with inspired suggestions to help you host the kind of shindig that will have guests looking forward to their next invitation.
Sunday Night BBQ
The weather is spectacular and the weekend’s not done yet – time to get your friends and family over and fire up the grill.
The Food Serve this cumin-spiced Fresh Grape Tomato Salsa with your favourite corn chips or crackers for a fresh-tasting appetizer. As a main course, whip up Spicy BBQ Beef Kabobs & Southwest Potato Skins in only 30 minutes from start to finish. Corn on the Cob with Garlic Herb Butter makes a finger-licking side. Finish with a Peach & Brie Rustic Tart – the oozing cheese, flaky crust and soft, gooey peach centre make this fruit dessert irresistible.
The Drinks When pairing wine with grilled red meat, try a full-bodied red such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti or shiraz. For beer, go with something rich, like a red ale, to match beef’s heavy, more intense flavour. You could also try a porter or a stout – the roasted, bitter notes of these darkened malts offer delicious contrast to red meat’s savouriness.
The Music Southern soul and country set the tone for this menu. Listen to Otis Redding’s “Shake,” Alabama Shakes’ “Don’t Wanna Fight” and Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried” to get your guests moving to the beat!
Grown-Up Birthday Party
Simple but delicious dishes will let you celebrate in style and with minimal stress, so you can enjoy the fun at your own party.
The Food With their savoury and garlicky flavours, White Bean & Salami Crostini make a satisfying start to the meal. For a fresh-tasting yet hearty main, try Lemon-Caper Chicken, Potato & Asparagus Skillet with tangy, sweet Brussels Sprouts Blend, Apple & Roquefort Salad as a side. And for the grand finale, serve decadent and pillow-soft Strawberry & Angel Food Ice Cream Cake.
The Drinks For beer, choose an amber ale, which will complement the light flavours of chicken while standing up to the seasoning of the dish. Pair dessert with a celebratory bubbly such as champagne, Prosecco or a Canadian sparkling wine.
The Music Cue up Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance,” Robyn’s “Call your Girlfriend” and Beck’s “Dreams” to get people dancing.
Fuss-free foods and a well-curated playlist make for a relaxed, informal affair.
The Food Choose a menu of make-ahead hors d’oeuvres so you won’t spend the party stuck in the kitchen. Crab Cakes with Zesty Dipping Sauce bring together sweet crabmeat, salty bacon pieces and a creamy dill dip. Guests will fall hard for the spicy flavours of Chorizo & Scallop Bites with Lemon-Wasabi Yogourt. For those with a sweet tooth, pass around a tray of Prosciutto & Mango Bites. And when it’s time for an actual dessert, serve up Cheesecake Truffle Skewers. Get creative by rolling your truffles in a variety of toppings: cookie crumbs, shredded coconut, toasted nuts and even chopped candy bars.
The Drinks Light and refreshing wines go well with surf-and-turf dishes. Pick an unoaked Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc for those who love white wine, or Pinot Noir or Beaujolais for those who prefer red. For beer drinkers, we suggest a mellow saison or hefeweizen – the citrus notes will enhance the sweetness of the seafood.
The Music Tap into the glamorous world of modern jazz for your party playlist: Jamie Cullum’s “I’m All Over It,” Nikki Yanofsky’s “Something New” and John Mayer’s “Clarity” will set a classy tone.
The festivities of October 31 are all about scary decorations and delicious treats.
The Food Offer vegetable-heavy fall dishes to counterbalance the candy to come. A popular appetizer for kids and grown-ups alike is creamy Classic Ranch Dip with raw veggies. Serve Pumpkin Soup with Apple-Walnut Topping to warm up trick-or-treaters – the garnish adds wonderful crunch to the velvety soup. Our cinnamon-laced Apple Cider & Cheddar Tartlets are deceptively filling for finger foods. And for dessert, have some fun with Halloween Boo Bark, which combines all your favourite Halloween candies in one frighteningly delicious chocolate treat.
The Drinks When it comes to pairing drinks with chocolate, start with a sweet dessert wine. Ruby port is full of berry flavours and a perfect match. Stouts have dark chocolate notes and would work well with both sweet offerings. Pilsners are best paired with dark chocolates containing a lower percentage of cocoa.
The Music Pack your playlist with spooky-themed tunes like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Time Warp” and Bobbie “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers’ “Monster Mash.” Or create a creepy atmosphere by playing soundtracks from horror movies and scary TV shows, such as Halloween, Jaws and American Horror Story.
Cookie exchanges are a fantastic way to simplify your holiday baking, plus they’re the perfect excuse to throw a party. Invite each guest to make one kind of cookie to share with the rest of the partygoers. (Our guide to baking cookies offers tips on making bakery-worthy treats, plus plenty of ideas.)
The Food Serve savoury snacks to give guests a break from the sweetness. Roasted Tomato & Fennel Dip with toasted pita triangles and Cajun Snack Mix are ideal party munchies. Whip up a batch of our Icebox Swirl Cookies – the red, white and green spiral centres bring festive fun to the table. For a holiday classic, try Chocolate-Mint Cookies , which have a sweet and icy flavour combo that’s a seasonal favourite. If you’re not keen on mint, the recipe class=”underline_text”works just as well with almond or orange extract.
The Drinks As your guests sample one another’s baking, treat them to a holiday classic: Mulled Winter Wine, which combines port and red wine with cranberry cocktail and seasonal spices. We also suggest serving a Belgian golden ale – its fruity and spicy notes will balance the sweetness of cookies.
The Music Throw on Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” Dean Martin’s “Winter Wonderland,” and Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé’s version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” to get partygoers into the festive spirit.
Holiday Roast Dinner Party
Gather your loved ones round the table for a sit-down dinner party.
The Food Start with Spinach & Roasted Pear Salad with Candied Pecans to whet guests’ appetites. Our succulent Roasted Prime Rib with Garlic & Thyme makes a satisfying main that goes well with Root Vegetable Mash with Crispy Topping. For dessert, sink your teeth into Dark Chocolate Walnut Brownies, which are equal parts crunchy and gooey.
The Drinks Pair the roast with a Côtes du Rhône, shiraz or strong Cabernet Sauvignon. These big wines complement the rich meat beautifully. Red ales enhance juicy meat, making them an excellent choice for prime rib. You could also try a sour beer, which mirrors the seared flavours of the roast.
The Music To create a laid-back, cozy atmosphere, play Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal,” and David Byrne and St. Vincent’s “Dinner for Two.”
New Year’s Eve Party
For New Year’s, offer nibbles so your guests can mingle freely, glass in hand.
The Food Serve Cranberry Turkey Holiday Sliders, which combine all the classic flavours of the holidays in bite-size portions. Montreal Smoked Meat Crostini are unexpected and hearty crowd-pleasers. Mouth-watering vegetarian Mixed Mushroom & Goat Cheese Tarts pair tangy goat cheese with earthy mushrooms. For dessert, Chocolate and Almond Gateau will impress your guests with its rich taste and elegant presentation.
The Drinks Just before midnight, pop the cork on a sparkling rosé. This pretty bubbly is full of rich berry notes and versatile enough to complement the diverse dishes on the buffet table. Offer a dark malt or amber ale with the sliders – the browning that happens during brewing is similar to the caramelizing that takes place when roasting turkey. Dry stouts work well with smoked meat, as their malty bitterness counterbalances the salty meat. India pale ales are lovely served with goat cheese, making them a great choice for the tarts.
The Music Ring in the New Year with St. Paul & the Broken Bones’ “Call Me,” Roy Brown’s “Mighty Mighty Man” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Auld Lang Syne (Live at the Fillmore East).” You could also browse Songza or Spotify for year-in-review playlists with roundups of the past year’s top songs. Or go the easy route and tune in to a New Year’s Eve countdown show for a no-prep-required option.