The holiday season is upon us. We've sourced the best recommendations to help you celebrate the season in style, topped up with good music, drinks, food and decor. We couldn't have done it without the best in the city, so we reached out to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra to curate a collection of music, the world's best bartender to design a signature cocktail recipe, a head chef to create a delectable dinner and a fresh floral shop to assemble beautiful centrepieces.
We hope you enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones and that these ideas add a little extra spark to your festivities. Cheers!
Start your dinner party off with a curated playlist from the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor Alex Prior. He has put together a list of his favourite songs for you to play while entertaining your guests. Alex’s expertise in music is unstoppable. He has included Benjamin Britten’s Sunday Morning from the Four Sea Interludes and Charles Ives’ 4th Symphony 2nd Movement. Impress your guests by setting the perfect ambience for your holiday celebration.
Signature Holiday Drink
Toast to the season with your closest friends. Prepare them this winter take on a traditional old fashioned cocktail. James Grant, the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year, is the one to thank for this recipe. Go ahead and get into the spirit of things by following his steps to making a signature holiday drink.
Winter’s Old Fashioned
2oz Talisker 10 Year Single Malt Whisky
0.25oz maple syrup
3 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters
2 dashes Ms. Better’s Pineapple and Star Anise bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain over a large block of ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a twist of orange zest and a star anise pod.
Here is what James Grant has to say about the drink and we couldn't agree more after tasting all the ingredients perfectly mixed together:
“An Old Fashioned is a beautiful thing, and a cocktail that can be tailored to so many different moods and seasons. This Winter’s Old Fashioned combines a smoky whiskey with rich maple syrup and some tropical fruit and coffee to create a version of the classic cocktail that is well suited to the colder weather of the Edmonton winter. Smoke, some tropical fruit, and dark baking spices… the perfect thing for curling up on the couch on a chilly winter night.”
If you're running out of time to make duck confit from scratch, don't worry! La Petite Iza sells their own confit duck legs at the pastry shop located right next door, Eleanor & Laurent. Also be sure to take home bread from the bakery (it's insanely delicious) which can be paired with the French cheeses and charcuteries that they also carry.
La Petite Iza is located at 10926 88 Ave, 3rd floor
Eleanor & Laurent is located at 10926 88 Ave, 3rd floor
Serve with a warm mustard hazelnut vinaigrette.
50g of Apple Cider Vinegar
12g of smooth Dijon Mustard
24g of grainy Dijon Mustard
25g of honey
25g of hazelnuts
100ml of duck fat
50ml of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
25g warm water
Toast Hazelnuts until golden
Combine everything besides oil and fat into a blender or food processor and slowly add liquid duck fat and olive oil until its incorporated and somewhat smooth.
Prepare Puy or Beluga Lentils (available at the Italian Centre)
Chef Shaun Hicks recommends the following:
"We do a 1:3 ratio of the volume of lentils we are cooking to the amount of chicken stock we use to cook with. We add a small amount of carrots, celery and onions diced finely and sautéed lightly at the end tossing into the lentils once they are fully cooked and a handful of green grapes at the end just to warm them and add a sweet/tartness that helps enhance all the other flavours. Lastly, we season with salt and pepper and serve."
Decor and Florals
Design your dining table with functional and stylish dinnerware and decor elements. The most important decor is the floral centrepieces that tie it all together! Leslie and Kathy of Maven & Grace - a one-stop shop for vintage, antique, florals, home goods, and stationery - provided centrepieces and table setting ideas to add an extra touch of holiday ambience.
The addition of candles, ornaments and candy dishes also enhance the sophisticated design elements in your home for your guests, allowing them to mingle and enjoy conversation outside of the dinning room area. A simple idea for a side table that adds a lot of character is placing a selection of sleek and modern cone candles together from ester & erik. Pair this with candy dishes holding Lakrids created by Johan Bülow. Be careful though, these liquorice root candies might be the most delicious thing you've tasted. We're surprised any candies were left for the photo!
Florals and decor items are available at Maven and Grace, located at 9601 82 Ave NW
A great outfit will make you ready for entertaining, hosting and mingling with guests. Have fun hosting your friends for the holidays, and here are some tips on how to do it in true style. This winter season is all about luxury knits and laying them with finely designed roll-neck collars. Here’s how our Sales Associates, Zach and Kevin, were styled for the night.
Zach wears a Brunello Cucinelli pen-weave cashmere blend shawl cardigan which is a feature piece this season. It's spun from grey, white and purple melange yarn, which will add a pop of elegant colour to any refined wardrobe. Zach layers the cashmere cardigan overtop of a luxurious fine merino wool knit pullover by John Smedley. The long-sleeve silver grey top is the perfect simple piece to layer for your evening look. His outfit is detailed with a wide woven leather belt from Sergio Gavazzeni.
Rock around the tree in a classic, elegant look. Kevin does it best in his Luigi Bianchi Made to Measure double-breasted, peak lapel, surgeon cuff suit. Quality is everything in an outfit. Kevin’s suit is paired with a black roll neck sweater from John Smedly. The garment is completed with banded trim. This piece can be worn comfortably on its own or paired under a suit jacket. Either way you style it for the holidays is perfect!
Hosting an evening is a lot of work, but when it all comes together and you have all of your favourite people in the same room, it’s worth it! We would like to thank Gurmeet and Sarah for their generosity in letting us host the Holiday Tips editorial shoot in his penthouse. Not only are they wonderful hosts, but they do it in effortless style.
Visit us in-store or online to select the perfect pieces for your holiday celebrations.
Share your evening
We would love to see how you style your holiday party with our recommendations! If you prepare any of these recipes or design your dining table with these holiday tips from Edmonton's best, be sure to tag us and share your photos on social media. We can't wait to see how you celebrate. Happy holidays, friends!