Potent holiday potables.

Oh dear ones, in order to get us through the hectic holiday season, we must band together as a sisterhood. Not a sisterhood of the traveling can'ts, as in "I just CAN'T throw an easy, breezy holiday party. Wah!" No. I'm talking about the sisterhood of "It's so much easier than you think."

Let's be real. What's the most important part of any party? Right. Alcohol. Now, I'm not endorsing that anyone imbibe more they should. But even Jesus drank wine, people. His trick (among so many others) was moderation.

With that in mind, I'm sharing with you some great cocktail recipes from my friends in the spirits biz.

Show me a sad Irishman and I'll show you one not true to his partaking roots:

Merry Irishman
2 parts Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
1 part Kahlua
part mint schnapps
Serve over ice in a rocks glass
Garnish with candy cane

Great for a holiday or New Year's Eve party, as the name implies:

Midori Melon Ball Drop
2 oz. Midori
1 oz. Skyy Citrus Infusions
.5 Oz elderflower liquor
Juice lemon
Sugar rim
Shake and strain into a martini glass
Garnish with a melon ball on the rim

Time to Zen out? Try the all-new Zen Green Tea Liqueur in this one:

Zen Latte
1 parts of Zen Green Tea Liqueur
6 parts steamed Milk
Stir and garnish with mocha powder

Speaking of Zen, try this dream weaver:

Dreaming of Zen
1 oz. Zen Green Tea Liqueur
.5 oz Midori
3 oz. mango juice
White pepper
2 oz. cream
Shake/strain over ice into a martini glass or champagne flute
Garnish with mint leaves and a dash of nutmeg

Ah, grasshoppah, you one smart cookie:

Holiday Hopper
1 oz Midori
.5 oz crme de menthe green
.5 oz crme de cocao white
2 oz half and half
Shake and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with mint leaves and raspberry

Cheery-o! You'll be a pip if you serve this nip:

Tully Toddy (hot)
1 part Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
1 sliced lemon
2 lumps of sugar
Fill to top with hot water
Combine all ingredients and stir well
Serve in a glass mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick

GRUB:

So. Now you've got drinks. You better put some food on the table or you'll be having a lot of overnighters. We don't want that.

Suite101.com has a ton of easy-to-make apps including dips and spreads, fondue, and fun food for kids. There's even a handy guide to let you know how many appetizers you'll need per guest.

GETUP:

Back when Plucky was in the Richie Rich neighborhood, she could afford to buy all kinds of envy-inducing party dcor. Now? Not so much. And most of us are in the same boat, no? Here are some down and dirty tips.

Use bare branches from your yard. You'll be surprised at how cool these can look. Cut them two about 1 - 2 feet in length and place them in a vase as your centerpiece. User smaller branches and weave them haphazardly through your chandelier. Pepperberry bushes make great little table runners too. Just place them down the center of your table.

Use evergreens. That's right. More foraging for you! Take small pieces and put them around the bottom of your vase. I also use them all around the house including in my planters on the front porch. Stick foot-long pieces in the existing dirt so they stick up like Tim Burton's hair. Add lights if you desire.

Hang or place ornaments everywhere. Use the color scheme already in your home dcor and buy ornaments in those colors. I use cranberry and gold. You can buy plastic balls (oh behave) and put them in glass bowls, hang them at different lengths from a chandelier with pretty ribbon, or place them on top of Christmas scented potpourri on a rockin' charger plate.

Buy cheapo scented pinecones. You can buy these buy the bag at the dollar store and grocery store. Place them in a small basket or tray and place in your bathrooms.

Just use whatever you have. Be creative. Think cheap it narrows your options.

GROOVE:

Try any Christmas music by Elvis. You can't go wrong. For your politically incorrect friends, there's always the South Park Christmas song. Do not play around small children, sensitive friends, or your mother-in-law. James Brown's Funky Christmas. It's James Brown. Nuff said.

Here's a top 10 playlist courtesy of www.guardian.co.uk:


Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Darlene Love I Was Born on Christmas Day, Saint Etienne Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight), The Ramones Christmas Wrapping, The Waitresses Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto, James Brown Christmas in Cape Town, Randy Newman Christmas Song, Joy Zipper Just Like Christmas, Low White Christmas, Otis Redding Seven O'Clock News/Silent Night, Simon and Garfunkel
Have a Happy Hanakkuh, Merry Christmas, Cook Kwanzaa, Fun Festivus or whatever it is you celebrate. Hoping you're around all the ones you love.
Hugs and kisses,
Plucky