EASY COCKTAILS AND LOBSTER APPETIZER PAIRINGS TO SERVE AT A COCKTAIL PARTY
|Editor’s Note: We’ve paired up with Kevin Fagan of Lobster Anywhere to guest write an article that marries our two companies: lobster and cocktails.
Kevin graciously wrote this article about cocktail party appetizers to share with our readers, and our A Bar Above in-house mixologist, Rob Harrah, paired each appetizer recipe with a signature cocktail based on flavor profiles for the ultimate party experience.
Happy summer, and happy hosting!
You’ve double-checked the guest list, decided on the music, and sent out your cocktail party invitation. But a great party means a good time for everyone, including the host.
With all the planning for such social gatherings – and to help you enjoy the cocktail party vibe – you want the preparation process for your party menu to be as straightforward and easy as possible.
With that in mind, I’ve laid out all the details for putting together some delicious seafood appetizers, while bartender extraordinaire Rob Harrah has chosen the signature drinks.
Note: Depending on your guest count, you could also set up a drink station bar for guests so that you always have a cold drink ready and don’t have to make mixed drinks by hand all night. You could also create a drink list to set up near the ice bucket and drink dispensers so guests know what’s what.
(And don’t forget to have plenty of options for guests, too – While we’re just covering alcoholic mixed drinks here, a good party will also include non-alcoholic drinks.)
In terms of how much food to make, a good rule of thumb is two pieces per person of each dish; you don’t want your party guests filling up on appetizers before dinner, but you also don’t want to deny them your delicious appetizer selections!
Lobster appetizers are a fantastic companion for any good cocktail. That said, let’s look at a few easy – and healthy – favorite finger foods for you and your guests for your next summer party, paired with some delicious cocktails!
COCKTAIL PARTY APPETIZERS AND COCKTAILS
Pre-dinner appetizers set the stage for the rest of your dinner party. They serve as a preview of what else you’ve got in store for your guests. So, yes, it’s essential to get this part right and prepare something that’ll leave your guests wanting more.
But if you’re in a pinch for time, a good lobster salad recipe is all you need! And it pairs well with several popular cocktails, as well as wine. It’s definitely one of my favorite appetizers, but I’m going to go through some more involved, bite-sized appetizer recipes for your appetizer buffet as well.
The recipes listed here will “class up” the appetizer table at your next cocktail party, guaranteed.
Note: If you can use fresh lobster, great! You can also order frozen lobster meat from a company like Lobster Anywhere, which is frozen at the peak of freshness, so you know you’re getting quality lobster meat and the freshest lobster you can if not buying live lobsters.
CLASSIC LOBSTER BITES + A GIN COCKTAIL
Finger foods + elegant appetizer: Who can say no to this classic recipe for lobster bites? (Well, except vegetarians, perhaps.) These savory bites are pretty easy to make but are sure to be a crowd pleaser, the perfect appetizer staple for a wedding, holiday party, or summer get-together.
- Flavors: Lobster, mayo, butter, oil, lemon, chive, and pepper
- Profiles: Fat, acid, spice – creamy and savory
- Ideal Cocktail Profile: This rich appetizer with classic flavors needs some level of sweetness and acidity to balance it, something with lemon and a slightly tangy flavor – a variation of a sour, such as the Corpse Reviver #2 or Last Word.
LOBSTER BITE INGREDIENTS:
- 1 Cup Chunks of Lobster Meat (cooked and diced)
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- 4 Slices of Bread
- Olive Oil (as needed)
- 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 1 Teaspoon Lemon juice ( about ⅛ lemon wedge, squeezed)
- 2 Teaspoons Fresh Chives (thinly chopped)
- Ground Black Pepper
1) Start by mixing chives, lemon juice, mayo, and black pepper in a bowl. Add the lobster pieces and slowly blend everything. (I don’t prefer using a food processor here, just a spoon or fork.)
2) Let the lobster mixture chill until it needs to be served.
3) When ready to plate, toast the bread. Cut the bread into halves or quarters. You can remove the crust if you like, but leave it if you’re going for a more crunchy texture.
4) Add a drizzle of olive oil, or lightly coat the bread with softened butter on both sides and toast it on a grill over low-medium heat.
5) Once the bread is done, place the slices on a tray or separate plates, and add the lobster salad using a spoon.
COCKTAIL: MEMENTO MUNDI
- ½ oz Sotol
- ½ oz Roku Gin
- ¾ oz Cocchi Americano
- ½ oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
- ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Note from Rob Harrah: I chose this cocktail because of its light yet complex and deep flavor profile. The level of acidity will help further balance this pairing, cutting through the fattier flavors.
It’s a fun drink with a delicate sweetness that levels out the lemon from both the seafood appetizer and the cocktail while bringing in an herbaceous element to deepen that overall complexity.
BACON-WRAPPED LOBSTER ROLLS + A SMOKY MEZCAL COCKTAIL
What pairs better than lobster and bacon? Although it’s not a traditional lobster roll recipe (Think: sandwich), you really can’t go wrong with this yummy combo for a one-bite appetizer. Give this delicious appetizer a try, and wow your guests with this party favorite.
- Flavors: Lobster, maple or honey, scallions, bacon, lime
- Profiles: Fat, savory, sweet, acid
- Ideal Cocktail Profile: Something savory with light sweetness and minimal sour flavor (if any). With these heavier, delicious flavors, you can even do something a little boozier – a variation of an Old Fashioned, for example.
LOBSTER ROLL INGREDIENTS:
- Lobster Tail (1 ½ pound of lobster meat, fresh or frozen lobster tails)
- Honey or Maple Syrup
- 4 Scallions/Green Onions (chopped)
- 15 slices Bacon
- Six Limes or Three Lemons
1) Preheat the broiler to a medium-high heat (the broiling process is pretty short).
2) Prep the lobster tail: Remove the chunks of lobster tail meat from the shell, and chop it into large chunks. Each piece of meat will go along with the bacon on a toothpick, so they should be bite-sized but not too tiny.
3) Chop the scallions, and add them to the lobster chunks. (Optional: Add the scallions on both sides of the meat.)
4) Cut up the bacon, and wrap it around the lobster and scallions. Skewer with a toothpick.
Note: Don’t make the skewer too tight; leave some room for the meat to properly cook.
5) Broil: Put everything in the oven for a couple minutes. After about 2-3 minutes, turn everything over to let the other side cook evenly for the same amount of time. You’ll know the rolls are done once the bacon starts getting crispy.
6) Once cooked, arrange everything on a platter, and lightly cover with some honey or maple syrup, adding lime or lemon wedges on the side. Serve food warm!
Note: I’ve given directions for working with raw lobster meat from a fresh or frozen tail; you can also purchase pre-cooked lobster meat to cut down on prep time from cooking lobster and cook the bacon separately.
COCKTAIL: GENTLEMAN BUCCANEER
- 1 ¼ oz Clement 10-year-old Rhum Agricole
- ¾ oz Madrea Mezcal
- ¼ oz Demerara Pineapple Syrup
- Bar Spoon (⅛ oz) of Licor 43
- 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
COCKTAIL DIRECTIONS: Build the cocktail in a mixing glass, add ice, and give a stir until mixed – about 7-10 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with a large format ice cube, and garnish with zested orange peel.
Note from Rob: I chose this classic cocktail because the appetizer felt more savory, and pairing it with a cocktail that is smokey, sweet, and savory would hit all the flavors of this dish while exploring others.
The pineapple and lime flavors play off each other, while the brown sugar and maple flavors add further depth to both the dish and the smoky flavor of the cocktail.
LOBSTER JALAPEÑO POPPERS + REFRESHING COCKTAIL
When it comes to cocktail party food, your friends and business associates might not be the biggest fans of peppers, but this flavor-packed recipe could be the dish to get them flocking to the food table.
Homemade lobster jalapeño poppers – the ultimate comfort food – pack an excellent balance of rich, tangy, and spicy flavors. Trust me, this is a delicious recipe that is guaranteed to be a hit at parties.
- Flavors: Lobster, jalapeño, cream cheese, sour cream, bacon, chive, lemon
- Profiles: Spicy, fatty, creamy, acidic, slightly sweet
- Ideal Cocktail Profile: This spicy appetizer can’t be paired with your average drink! Rather, it calls for something acidic, effervescent, and slightly sweet to balance – Perhaps a slightly floral drink like a spritz, fizz, or a cobbler.
- 4 oz Lobster Meat (finely chopped)
- 4 Jalapeños (sliced in half, makes 8 poppers)
- 3 Tablespoons Sour Cream
- 4 oz Cream Cheese
- Fresh Lemon Juice (¼, squeezed)
- 3 Slices Bacon (cooked and thinly sliced)
- 2 Tablespoons Chives (chopped)
- Salt & Pepper
- Fresh Parsley (chopped)
- Celery (chopped)
- Parmesan cheese
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2) Combine bacon, sour cream, chives, cream cheese, salt & pepper to taste, and lemon juice in a bowl. Slowly add the lobster meat into the mixture as you stir.
3) Slice the jalapeños in half, long ways, and remove the seeds. Place the sliced jalapeños on a baking tray, using parchment paper or tin foil to prevent sticking. With a spoon, add the lobster mixture to each sliced jalapeño.
4) Place the poppers in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. You’ll know the poppers are done when you notice the peppers become tender or when the mixture slowly turns golden brown in color around the edges.
5) After removing the poppers from the oven, add fresh herbs & veggies or any other garnish you’d like. As previously mentioned, the jalapeño poppers are best fresh, so don’t leave them out for too long before serving!
COCKTAIL: ISLAND FIZZ
- 1 ½ oz Cachaça
- ½ oz Aperol
- ½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
- ½ Passionfruit Syrup
- 3 oz Soda Water
COCKTAIL DIRECTIONS: Build cocktail into a Collins glass (or wine glass). Give a stir until mixed, and then add the ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Note from Rob: I thought this was the perfect recipe because it’s light and refreshing, and there is no better pairing for this rich, slightly spicy dish than something bubbly.
There’s already plenty of flavor in the poppers, so the light lime and passionfruit of the cocktail add a depth to the overall flavors between the both the food and the mixed drink that properly complement summer.
COCKTAIL PARTY APPETIZERS + MIXED DRINKS
Throwing a good cocktail party involves lots of planning and running around. And with so many party-planning things to take care of, it’s always good to have a few quick-and-easy recipes– both for food and for alcoholic & non-alcoholic cocktails.
The simple appetizers I’ve shared are some of my favorites for cocktail hour, but I’d love to hear what you enjoy serving to your party guests, too! Please leave me a comment about what’ll be on your appetizer menu at your next event.