Holiday Kitchen and Entertaining Tips from Local Chefs

 In Food

It’s that time of year where we gather for the holiday season. No matter what holiday you celebrate, here are some tips from local chefs and culinary experts on how to truly impress your family and friends this year while keeping the stress levels at a low.

gamlinThe top seven spices that are essential to every pantry during the holiday season include: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, cardamom, all spice, vanilla bean, cloves. – David Laufer, Executive Pastry of The Chase Park Plaza

Batch your cocktails before the party by multiplying the amount of the ingredients by the number of cocktails you need. If you have fresh ingredients like fruit juices, you can make the drink the morning of the event. If there are no fresh ingredients, you can make it up to 48 hours in advance. Don’t add any carbonated ingredients like club soda or Sprite until you make each individual cocktail. Don’t forget to add the water. Stirring a Manhattan or shaking a martini with ice adds water to the cocktail, so be sure to add that water in to your batched cocktail. – Dustin Parres, Gamlin Restaurant Group Corporate Bar Manager

Clean your kitchen as you cook rather than waiting until the end of the night to save time during and after the celebration. Have homemade frozen cookie dough on hand during the holidays. If you have a guest stop by, you can have fresh from the oven cookies ready to serve. – Lucas Gamlin, Gamlin Restaurant Group Proprietor

Keep sparkling wine, club soda, etc., on hand for non-alcoholic cocktails. Also, consumables make the best presents because they are enjoyed immediately and don’t require shelf or drawer space for storage. If you don’t have time to make treats yourself, consider pre-made items from Butler’s Pantry or cookie boxes and holiday cakes from Piccione Pastry. Greg Ziegenfuss, Executive Chef at Butler’s Pantry

Use fresh herbs in your holiday cooking. It makes all the difference in the world! – Lauren “Lulu” Loomis & Robert Tucker, Lulu’s Local Eatery

Do you have a holiday tip to share with us? We’d love to hear them! Tweet us @alivemagstl and @katlynmoncada.

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