Set To Serve: Soirée to Welcome Fall

A picture of an outdoor cocktail party to welcome fall

Toast the turning of the seasons by serving up a spread of fresh appetizers and creative cocktails inspired by the bountiful flavors of fall.

A picture of an outdoor cocktail party to welcome fall

Best of the In-Between

With September comes the yearning to revel in fall’s transformative beauty, and a laidback outdoor cocktail party provides the perfect opportunity to watch this seasonal magic unfold.

A picture of an outdoor cocktail party to welcome fall

For no-fuss décor, pair the last of summer’s verdant backdrop with floral accents beginning to take on burnished hues. Choose linens and tableware in a contrasting color, such as blue, but incorporate the palette across a spectrum of shades and prints, adding intrigue to the subtle setting while furthering its relaxed air.

A picture of an outdoor cocktail party to welcome fall

Harvest Influence

This buffet of small bites boasts big flavor. End-of-summer sea fare, such as smoky trout dip and a fresh crab and corn salad, mingles with fall fruit concoctions like a nutty apple and Gorgonzola bruschetta and refreshing Ginger Pear Tea Punch. Traditional kabobs get an upgrade with lamb and sweet potato. Start with our Autumn Wine Cocktail, and we can think of no better way to end the alfresco autumn gathering than with a sweet tribute to classic s’mores. Our decadent spin features cookie cups filled with chocolate ganache and marshmallow meringue.

Autumn Wine Cocktail
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3⁄4 cup Tangerine and Cardamom Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  2. 3 to 6 ounces bourbon, according to taste
  3. 1 lemon, juiced
  4. 12 ounces red wine
Instructions
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add simple syrup, bourbon, and lemon juice. Cover, and shake vigorously for 5 to 10 seconds.
  2. Strain into 4 chilled wineglasses. Top each glass with 3 ounces red wine, poured slowly over the back of a spoon so that wine floats on top of syrup mixture.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/
Tangerine and Cardamom Simple Syrup
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 tangerine, sectioned
  2. 2 teaspoons whole cardamom pods
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, strain, and let cool completely.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/

Fall Apple and Gorgonzola Bruschetta
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 (8.5-ounce) baguette
  2. 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  3. 1 apple, thinly sliced
  4. 8 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, finely crumbled
  5. Candied Walnuts (recipe follows)
  6. 1⁄4 cup honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to broil. Slice baguette into 1⁄4-inch pieces, and arrange on a baking pan. Brush with olive oil, and broil until crisp and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Top baguette slices with apple, Gorgonzola, and walnuts. Drizzle with honey just before serving.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/
Candied Walnuts
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1⁄4 cup water
  2. 1⁄2 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup walnut halves
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add walnuts to pan, and stir to coat. Remove to baking sheet, and let cool.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/

Lamb and
 Sweet Potato Kebabs
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  2. 1 lemon, juiced
  3. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  5. Salt and pepper, to taste
  6. 1 1⁄2 pounds leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  7. 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  8. 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  9. 1 small red onion, thickly sliced
  10. 32 (4-inch) skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  11. Tzatziki Sauce (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 1⁄4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add lamb; seal bag, turning to combine. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350° to 400°).
  3. Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well, and let cool for 20 minutes. In a medium bowl, toss together sweet potato, bell pepper, red onion, remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Remove lamb from bag, discarding marinade. Thread lamb and vegetables onto skewers.
  4. Spray grill rack with nonflammable cooking spray. Place skewers on grill, and cook, turning occasionally, until lamb reaches desired degree of doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/
Tzatziki Sauce
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
  2. 1 cup Greek yogurt
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  6. Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Season well with salt and pepper.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/

Ginger Pear Tea Punch
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups water
  2. 6 Lemon Zinger tea bags (no substitutions)
  3. 1 cup Ginger Syrup (recipe follows)
  4. 4 cups pear nectar
  5. 4 cups spicy ginger ale*
  6. 2 large pears, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat, and add tea bags; cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain mixture into a pitcher, discarding tea bags, and let cool completely. Add Ginger Syrup, pear nectar, ginger ale, and sliced pears. Serve over ice.
Notes
  1. *We used Buffalo Rock.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/
Ginger Syrup
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, sliced
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, strain, and let cool completely.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/

Endive Cups with Corn and Crab Salad
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 1 ear)
  2. 1 (8-ounce) container jumbo lump crabmeat, picked free of shell
  3. 1⁄2 cup finely chopped red onion
  4. 1⁄2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
  5. 1⁄4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  6. 1 lime, juiced
  7. 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. 2 heads Belgian endive
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together corn, crabmeat, red onion, cranberries, and cilantro. Add lime juice and mayonnaise. Stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Arrange endive leaves on serving platter, and top each with a generous tablespoon of crabmeat mixture.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/

Smoked Trout Dip
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  2. 8 ounces smoked trout fillet
  3. 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  4. 1 lemon, juiced
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh chives, minced
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Garnish: fresh chives
  8. Sea Salt and Poppy Seed Crackers (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Using a fork, mash to desired consistency. Garnish with fresh chives, if desired. Serve with Sea Salt and Poppy Seed Crackers.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/
Sea Salt and Poppy Seed Crackers
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  3. 2 teaspoons sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  5. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  6. 3⁄4 cup half-and-half
Instructions
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, sugar, and poppy seeds. Pulse to combine. Add butter, and pulse until mixture is crumbly. With processor running, add half-and-half in a slow, steady stream just until dough comes together. Turn out dough, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Divide dough in half. On a silicone baking mat or sheet of parchment, roll one half of dough into a 15-inch rectangle. (Roll out dough as thinly as possible.) Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 2- or 3-inch squares. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Transfer silicone mats to baking sheets, and bake until crackers are crisp and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/

Mini S’mores Cups
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 (16.5-ounce) package prescored sugar cookie dough squares
  2. 1 cup milk chocolate morsels
  3. 1⁄4 cup heavy whipping cream
  4. 3 egg whites
  5. 1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  6. 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 3⁄4 cup sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 1 (24-cup) mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Press cookie dough squares into muffin cups, making a well in the center of each. Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack before removing from pan.
  2. Place chocolate morsels in a medium heatproof bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, heat cream just until bubbles appear at edge of pan (do not simmer). Pour hot cream over chocolate; cover, and let rest for 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly.
  4. Spoon or pipe mixture into cooled cookie cups, and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and vanilla. With mixer running, add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
  6. Spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip and pipe onto ganache-filled cookie cups. Using a handheld kitchen torch, carefully brown meringue. Serve immediately.
Southern Lady Magazine https://www.southernladymagazine.com/

Don’t miss our delicious recipes, party ideas for every occasion, and seasonally themed special issues! Subscribe to Southern Lady today!