I always love watching those Visit California commercials. They highlight just what I find so unique about the state: sunny weather, beaches, mountains, innovation, fresh produce, Kim Kardashian. Okay maybe not that last one.
I was inspired to throw a San Francisco-themed cocktail party when I saw this wonderful city map plate from one of my favorite California brands, notNeutral. I have partnered with them today to put together a locally-inspired, casual (it's the California way, after all) cocktail party.
notNeutral focuses on developing objects that are not only beautiful but purposeful too. For this cocktail party I used their Ciclone glasses, San Francisco city plate and Lino cappuccino cups. I find myself reaching for all three of these items on a daily basis. The Ciclone glasses are perfect for orange juice in the morning, ice tea at lunch and a glass of wine to wind down the day. Because they are double-walled, the drink inside stays perfectly hot or cold. The city plate is pretty enough to hang on a wall but has served double-duty since I got it as an appetizer plate and a fruit bowl. It's a great way to show a little city pride or pick your favorite destination, and remember fondly wandering the streets. Lastly, the cappuccino cups fit nicely in your hand and come with a saucer that's perfect for a little biscotti or chocolate.
Time to talk about what's on the menu...
On the Menu:
Golden Gate Red Pomegranate Fizz
Pier 23 Crab Dill Dip on Sourdough Crostini
Napa Blue Cheese with California Almonds and Grapes
Japantown Cucumber avocado stacks with wasabi mayonnaise
The cocktail was delicious (I just had to try it, ok) I modified the recipe slightly from the Love & Lemon's version by omitting the mint and adding a few cherries as garnish. I also used Bay Area-based Hangar 1 vodka. It's a favorite of mine because it's so smooth, handcrafted and local. This would also make a lovely holiday cocktail.
The crab dip is deliciously simple and allows the fresh crab to shine through. I added dill but feel free to skip it and add another garnish if its not your favorite flavor.
Grapes, inspired by the Napa Valley, were paired with a mild blue cheese for a traditional cheese plate. Confession...I meant to put these on skewers but the cheese kept crumbling. Lesson learned to either get firmer cheese or be okay with no skewers.
Lastly, the cucumber avocado stacks were something I put together combining my favorite sushi-inspired ingredients. People might think it's a stereotype but Californians really do eat that much avocado. It is readily available and I put it on everything. It tasted especially good paired with refreshing cucumber, spicy wasabi mayo and a little saltiness from the roasted seaweed.
Now let's take a look at our pretty set-up...
I love the idea of leaving out a Instax camera to take pictures during the party. Then guests get to go home with a little souvenir from the night.
During the evening, what if you surprised your guests by making affogatos? Haven't heard of an affogato? It took me a few times to get the spelling right. It's Italian for "drowned" and sort of like a coffee float.
First, put a scoop of ice cream in an espresso cup. Then pour a shot of espresso over and watch the magic happen. In this case, I used heavenly salted caramel ice cream from local creamery Three Twins Ice Cream and SF-based Blue Bottle coffee.
What a perfect way to end the night!
Find all of the notNeutral products featured here:
San Francisco city plate
Lino cappuccino cups a saucers
This post was sponsored by notNeutral. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.