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Helpful Serving Hints: Appetizers & Beverages

Check out our list of helpful cooking and serving hints and helps for tea, punch, coffee, cocoa, dips and other appetizers just in time for your next party!

For Tea:

  • Make your own spiced tea or cider. Place orange peels, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a 6-inch square piece of cheesecloth. Gather the corners and tie with a string. Steep in hot cider or tea for 10 minutes; steep longer if you want a stronger flavor.
  • Another way to add flavor to tea: dissolve old-fashioned lemon drops, peppermints or Jolly Ranchers candies in it!

For Punch:

  • Always chill juices or sodas before adding them to punch recipes.
  • To cool your punch, float an ice ring made from the punch rather than using ice cubes. It appears more decorative, prevents diluting, and does not melt as quickly.
  • When making fresh lemonade or orange juice, one lemon yields about 1/4 cup juice, while one orange yields about 1/3 cup juice.
  • Calorie-free club soda adds sparkle to iced fruit juices and reduces calories per portion.

For Coffee or Cocoa:

  • Never boil coffee; it brings out acids and causes a bitter taste. Store ground coffee in the refrigerator or freezer to keep it fresh.
  • Always use cold water for electric drip coffee makers. Use 1-2 tablespoons ground coffee for each cup of water.
  • Place fresh or dried mint in the bottom of a cup of hot chocolate for a cool and refreshing taste.

For Dips & Appetizers:

  • How many appetizers should you prepare? Allow 4-6 appetizers per guest if a meal quickly follows. If a late meal is planned, allow 6-8 appetizers per guest. If no meal follows, allow 8-10 pieces per guest.
  • To keep appetizers hot, make sure you have enough oven space and warming plates to maintain their temperature.
  • To keep appetizers cold, set bowls on top of ice or rotate bowls of dips from the fridge every hour or as needed.
  • If serving appetizers buffet-style or seating is limited, consider no-mess finger foods that don’t require utensils to eat.
  • Choose brightly-colored bowls to set off dips or get creative with hollowed-out loaves of bread, bell peppers, heads of cabbage, or winter squash.
  • Cheeses should be served at room temperature-approximately 70°F