Holiday Entertaining with Alie & Georgia

By Fabiana Santana

Alie-and-Georgia_High-Res-Blowtorch_CropIt seems like only yesterday you were strutting your stuff on the beach.  Now, reality sets in: the holiday season starts in under two months. You read that right. In less than 60 days, you will be swimming in a sea of family dinners, wrapping paper and sky rocketing credit card bills.  It’s never too early to get ready. So, we reached out to our favorite cocktail chicks, Alie & Georgia – stars pf tje Cpplomg Channel show “Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia.”  As  Nescafe Dolce Gusto Ambassadors, the lovely ladies are gearing up for the gift-giving season and sharing their tips and tricks for making holiday get-togethers much easier this year. From hostess gifts to hosting your first holiday gathering, they’ve got you covered.

What are your must-have-on-hand items when entertaining for the holidays?

Pitchers of iced lemon water. One thing that gets so overlooked at parties — especially winter ones — is basic hydration. Your guests won’t be falling down your stairs if you make sure they’re drinking something other than eggnog. We also love to serve good coffee after a meal, and guests always light up when we bust out the Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine. It’s a compact espresso/coffee maker and there are so many options and flavors, like caramel latte macchiato or chocochinos. It’s such a great compliment to dessert and we’re telling you, people legitimately go nuts over the drinks it makes. So good.

What’s your preference: a buffet or traditional dinner set up and why?

 There’s nothing like sitting down to a table laden with delicious food. Buffets tend to disrupt the flow of dinner, and waiting in a line is for ATMs and grocery stores, not for a slaved-over dinner party. Serving a meal family style at a table isn’t that much more work than setting up a buffet table. And one person asking to “pass the yams” may spark a conversation or a new romance. One never knows.

What are your hostess gift suggestions?

An interesting salt — like a truffle salt or smoked salt — is always great. Another fun idea is to bring a few chocolate bars in dubious flavors, like the New Orleans Chili or Peanut Butter and Banana or Smokehouse BBQ chocolate bars by Wild Ophelia. After dinner, it’s great to sit and try little pieces of each and see who around the table loves a flavor they were initially scared of.

How do you come up with creative cocktail ideas for holiday dinners? Is putting a bunch of unique mixers and ingredients on the bar and having guests come up with their own cocktail a more favorable idea then serving everyone the same cocktail or are we just making our lives more stressful than they need be?

We love having a few wines on hand as well as some beers, then making one batch cocktail to serve. It ends up cheaper than trying to provide a huge bar with options for everyone. And left to their own devices, many guests will over-pour their whiskey and ginger ale during the holidays. Trust us. We advise taking a batch recipe out of a good book or site (ahem — use one of ours) and serving that in a big decanter or punch bowl. That way, wine and beer drinkers are covered, and there’s a cocktail option everyone can at least sample. We think having people all discuss the signature cocktail you’re serving is a great icebreaker, too.

Georgia Hardstark, Alie WardWhat is your first holiday meal memory?

Alie: My grandparents were straight up Italian and a lot of Christmases involved big pot of room-temperature spaghetti with chicken hearts instead of meatballs. I didn’t understand the concept of over-eating during the holidays for a long time. Seconds? No thanks, I’m good.

Georgia: Huge Hanukkah parties at my grandmother’s house have been a tradition for decades. She’s 102 years old now, so we’ve taken over the cooking, but the decorations are still the ones she used in the 70s, the latkes are plentiful, and the frenzy of the children opening presents is still like an atom bomb going off. I look forward to it every year.

Favorite holiday dish?

Alie: I don’t want to know how much butter and cream is in the homemade potatoes. Just give me another huge spoonful.

Georgia: Crisp Latkes right out of the oven, covered with applesauce and cinnamon/sugar. Oh god I’m drooling.

Worst gift you ever got?

Alie: A few years ago, a boyfriend gave me a $10 Del Taco gift card for Christmas. He is now an ex-boyfriend.

Georgia: My mom means well, but she has very questionable taste when it comes to buying clothes for myself and my siblings. I can’t imagine what lead her to think I’d ever wear a bright pink cowboy hat, but she did. I smiled sweetly and thanked her, then donated it to Goodwill.

What’s on your wish list this holiday season?

Alie: My Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine has been life changing. I’m obsessed with it. Now all my kitchen needs is a Soda Stream. Maybe Santa or the Easter Bunny or Bigfoot will bring me one.

Georgia: Ditto on the Dolce Gusto machine. Life. Changing. My kitchen is only lacking a stand mixer, and my vintage hand mixer, while cute, is on its last legs. That said, I’m going to need to get a kitchen bigger than a postage stamp before I can add more gadgets. So I guess my answer is that I’d like to gift myself with a new apartment.

144544med-1Chocolate Rocky Road Drink Recipe

Chocolate Rocky Road is a really fun beverage with a delightful combination of chocolate and hazelnut flavors. Mini marshmallows add a festive air to this ready-in-5-minutes hot drink. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with chocolate sprinkles.

Ingredients:

  • 1 NESCAFÉ DOLCE GUSTO Chococino milk capsule
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon hazelnut syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mini marshmallows
  • 1 NESCAFÉ DOLCE GUSTO Chococino chocolate capsule
  • Dollop whipped cream (optional)
  • Chocolate sprinkles (optional)

INSERT milk capsule into capsule holder. Place into machine and pull down locking handle. Pour chocolate syrup, hazelnut syrup and marshmallows into cup. Adjust drip tray to height of cup and place cup on drip tray. Move lever to the red dot and dispense about 1/2 cup. Move lever back to neutral and wait for red light to stop flashing. Pull locking handle up. Remove capsule and discard.

REPEAT process with the chocolate capsule, dispensing about ¼ cup. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with chocolate sprinkles.

144533medPeppermint Mocha Cappuccino Recipe

Peppermint Mocha Cappuccino is festive and fun! Ready in 5 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 NESCAFÉ DOLCE GUSTO Cappuccino milk capsule
  • 1 NESCAFÉ DOLCE GUSTO Cappuccino coffee capsule
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Peppermint Mocha Flavor NESTLÉ COFFEE-MATE Liquid Coffee Creamer

INSERT milk capsule into capsule holder. Place into machine and pull down locking handle. Adjust drip tray to height of cup and place cup on drip tray. Move lever to the red dot and dispense about ½ cup. Move lever back to neutral and wait for red light to stop flashing. Pull locking handle up. Remove capsule and discard.

REPEAT process with coffee capsule, dispensing about ¼ cup. Stir in Coffee-mate. Enjoy!

NOTE: Watching your waist line? Try substituting with Cappuccino Skinny capsules for fewer calories.