Weekend Wine Pairing: Holiday Party Ideas For Starters & Some Cocktails

Get your cocktail napkins, some mini-plates, toothpicks, and of course…wine glasses. If you are hosting a holiday party, I’m sure you plan on serving some bite size appetizers to go with the flowing conversations in your home. You might even want to offer some theme styled cocktails! Here are a couple quick ideas for tasty pickings with wine pairings, plus a couple holiday cocktails you could try out.

Cocktail Meatballs (credit: allrecipes.com)


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 (8 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 3/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, water, bread crumbs, and minced onion. Roll into small meatballs.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.
  • In a slow cooker or large saucepan over low heat, blend the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Add meatballs, and simmer for 1 hour before serving.

Wine Pairing: Zinfandel or Pinot Gris

    Spinach Pinwheels (credit: allrecipes.com)


    • 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
    • 1 (7 ounce) package garlic herb cheese spread
    • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained


    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    • Split crescent dough in half along center perforation. Flatten one rectangle, sealing perforations. Spread with 1/4 of the cheese spread and sprinkle with spinach. Starting with long side, roll dough up, rolling back and forth several times to seal edges. Cut into 3/4 inch slices (about 15 slices per roll). Arrange the slices one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Continue making the crescent roll ups until all of the ingredients are used.
    • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve immediately or keep warm on a warming tray

    Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir

      Fun Festive Cocktails (credit: allrecipes.com)


      • 4 ounces brut Champagne
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons cranberry juice
      • Feel free to add 1/2 oz of Cointreau or Triple Sec
      • Drop a single cranberry into the flute

      Reindeer Martini (credit: grouprecipes.com)

      • 2 parts vodka
      • 1 part Frangelico
      • 1 part Malibu
      • splash of cream
      • Shake over ice and strain to serve straight up in a martini glass, garnished with a cherry and two cinnamon sticks for antlers


      The Hello Vino Team


      Wine Cocktails - How to Make a Wine Cocktail with Pinot Grigio or Chianti

      Summer is technically over, but there are still a few weekends left with beautiful weather to enjoy some wine outside on the patio, on the front porch, or at a barbecue with friends.  If you’d like to try something different, here are a few wine cocktails from Ecco Domani, and our friend Derrick with the Common Man Cocktails video podcast shows you how to make them.

      Pinot Grigio Wine Cocktail - The Ecco Freddo

      Some muddled watermelon and a little Pineapple juice make you go for seconds for this tasty Pinot Grigio cocktail. View the Recipe

      Pinot Grigio Wine Cocktail - The Vita Domani

      The exotic flavor of lychee juice (or pineapple juice) with muddled red grapes and a splash of lemon juice provide a ton of island flavor in this wine cocktail. View the Recipe

      Chianti Wine Cocktail - The Ecco Cioccolato

      And for dessert, a lovely mix of raspberries and chocolate will give you a new perspective on Chianti. View the Recipe

      While you can certainly enjoy a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio on its own, or have a food-friendly Chianti with a pasta dinner, hopefully these wine cocktails make the weekend even more enjoyable for you.

      Hello Vino


      Which Wine Pairs with the First Day of Summer?

      The easy answer: All of them!

      But, you may find yourself reaching for a chilled white or rosé wine in this summer heat.  In that case, you may want to try this Pinot Grigio Wine Cocktail by Ecco Domani.  Here’s a “How To” video from the Common Man Cocktails video podcast, with Rick from Hello Vino as a guest:

      It was a ton of fun co-hosting this episode with Derrick.  If you aren’t already a subscriber, you should check out Common Man Cocktails on iTunes or watch the videos on EverydayDrinkers.tv.

      Let us know if you try this wine cocktail this weekend - please leave a comment below.

      Have a great weekend!

      Rick from Hello Vino