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Host A Friendsgiving

Tue, Oct 31, 23  |  entertaining

Gather ‘round and let’s celebrate friendship! Enjoying Thanksgiving with your best buds is a great excuse for a cozy party, with all the fixins and, without the stress. We’ve got tips + suggestions to help you set the tone for a sure-to-be annual gathering.


1. Greet guests with a glass of bubbly!

SPLURGE: Taittinger Brut La Francais 
CHOICE: Gloria Ferrer Blanc De Blancs

2. Create a unique place setting.

Use fresh herbs like rosemary from your garden for a touch of green and lovely aromatics.

3. Have a signature cocktail!

Nothing says holiday entertaining like a festive drink to get the party started.
Check out our Friendsgiving Martini recipe below. 

4. Make your evening no-stress with fun appetizers!

Assign one to each guest like this Pumpkin Pie Cheeseball (recipe below) for easy party planning.

5. Include the essence of a traditional thanksgiving.

Try providing apps that include pumpkin spice or cranberry & turkey – like our cranberry glazed turkey meatballs (recipe below)!

6. Cooking with spirits adds depth of flavor to your food!

Try adding Cointreau or Grand Marnier to your berry compote for a delectable treat.
You can also use Bourbon to create a delicious rub for lamb. 

Check out our nifty Food & Wine Pairing Chart for ideas about what wines to pair with all those food choices!


Use old wine corks for food labels or as place card holders.


There are lots of how-to videos out there to help you create your own unique napkin folds to complete your table setting!


Friendsgiving Martini

  • 2 to 3 oz. Fulton’s Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur, well chilled
  • 1 ½ oz. Pinnacle Whipped Vodka, well chilled
  • whipped cream
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • brown sugar
  • maple syrup


Pour a few tablespoons of brown sugar and ½ tsp. of pumpkin pie spice onto a small plate; mix thoroughly. On another small plate, pour a few tablespoons of maple syrup. Dip martini glass rim into maple syrup, then immediately into brown sugar/spice mixture. Pour vodka and liqueur into a shaker and mix well. Pour into rimmed glass. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve.

Turkey Meatballs with Fresh Sage & Cranberry Glaze


  • 1 ¼ lbs. turkey breast ground

  • ¼ cup plain bread crumbs

  • ¼ cup ricotta

  • 1 large egg

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • 2 Tbsp. sage

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Cranberry Glaze

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries (frozen may be substituted)

  • ¼ tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. orange zest

  • 2 Tbsp. ginger, minced and pressed

  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ tsp. cayenne


Preheat oven to 325 F.


Combine all meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Incorporate gently but completely together using a fork.


Form this mixture into bite size balls and place on tray. Roll the balls gently in your hands to make them smooth and even. Tip: use a utensil like a tablespoon or melon baller to create a uniform size.


Cook in batches being careful not to overcrowd. Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet and cook the meatballs over medium heat. Carefully turn to evenly brown on all sides, remove and move to a sheet pan. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Cook the browned meatballs in the oven for an additional 12 - 15 minutes or until cooked through. Be careful not to overcook.


In the meantime, combine the water, sugar, cranberries, salt, zest, ginger, and apple cider vinegar in a medium sauce pan. Simmer on medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes until berries have all split open. Remove from heat and stir in cayenne. Adjust seasoning to taste. Transfer the glaze mixture to a strainer over a large sauté pan. Press remaining juice thru with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Be sure to scrape the outside of the strainer to include the fine pulp.


Heat the cranberry glaze over medium heat. Allow it to reduce and thicken to the consistency of thick syrup. Add the meatballs to the glaze, heating through and spooning the glaze over the top. Transfer to a warm bowl. You may want to spoon extra glaze on top or have a bowl on the side, ready for an extra dip.  

Brie and Cranberry Spread

This is so simple and tasty. It should be easy to come up with a nice Thanksgiving garnish too, like a couple miniature pumpkins or squash with some green added around. (With rosemary, it would be a beautiful Christmas app.)

  • 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries, washed

  • 2 jalapenos, minced (adjust according to taste)

  • ½ cup sliced green onions, roughly chopped

  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro, roughly chopped

  • ½ Tbsp. lime or lemon juice

  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt

  • ½ cup sugar, more to taste if desired

  • 2 wheels Presedente Brie


Place the Brie at room temperature 2 – 3 hours prior to beginning preparation. The warmer the Brie is, the better it tastes, and works with this recipe.


Place cranberries, jalapenos, green onions and cilantro in a food processor and process until fine. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in lime juice, salt, and sugar. Chill in fridge for about 2 hours or more. To serve, spread the Brie evenly in a large deep plate or shallow serving dish. Spread the cranberry mixture on top and serve with crackers. Be creative with your garnish. Make it match the occasion.

Pumpkin Pie Cheese Ball

  • 2 pack cream cheese brought to room temperature

  • ¼ cup butter brought to room temperature

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 3 Tps brown sugar

  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree

  • 1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 ½ cups crushed graham crackers


With a blender or food processor, fold the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy, then stop. Add the powdered sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice and blend until all is nicely combined together.


Remove the mixture to plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Consistency will be soft and moist. Use the plastic wrap to assist in making the best ball or pumpkin shape possible. Be sure and wrap well, then place in the freezer until it becomes firm. Allow up to four hours for this step. Hint: As the cheeseball becomes more firm, work with it to achieve the desired shape and return to the freezer. Or use a bowl to place the wrapped mixture in to help form the ball shape.


In the meantime, crush the graham crackers and set aside. 


When the ball is frozen remove it from the freezer.


Spread the graham crumbs on a large plate. Unwrap the ball and roll it in the crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the ball. If having trouble getting the crumbs to stick, allow a few minutes for it to stand at room temperature and try again. Wrap back in fresh plastic wrap and store in the freezer until serving.



It’s best to remove the frozen ball from the freezer to the refrigerator 1 – 2 days prior to serving.  

Place on a serving platter surrounded by your favorite crackers, graham crackers, apple slices, or gingersnaps.

By Clark Trim

Tags: friendsgiving