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Holiday Hosting Guide

The holidays are a time to relax, reflect, and enjoy time with loved ones. If you’re hosting this holiday season, it is probably because you’re looking forward to inviting your friends and family over for a shared meal and revelry. In practice, however, preparing a sumptuous feast for a group can feel like the opposite of relaxing, and getting bogged down in all the details that go along with party prep can leave little time to connect.

Luckily, we’ve spent years perfecting our hosting chops and we’re here to share our secrets for a perfect meal. We’ve got your covered – from appetizers to mains to desserts and drinks – so you can spend more time enjoying and indulging this year.

Appetizers

Guests are arriving and you're still finishing up in the kitchen with your main course? No problem. Set out appetizers and let everyone mingle over small bites and small talk while you put the finishing touches on the meal. Here are a few of our favorites. Most are easy to prep ahead so you can just lay them out when the festivities are ready to begin.

Baked Feta With Elderberry Infused Maple Syrup

Baked Feta With Elderberry Infused Maple Syrup

The honey and fig flavors bring out the finest nuances of cheese and provide the perfect, sweet compliment.

Sweet Potato and Tahini Dip with Spicy Merquén Drizzle

Sweet Potato and Tahini Dip with Spicy Merquén Drizzle

Sweet and earthy, the coup de grace is the swirl of Merquén syrup that gives it spice and brings out the sugars of the sweet potato.

Prosciutto and Melon 2.0

Prosciutto and Melon 2.0

A melding of woodsy, figgy elderberry, salty, buttery prosciutto, honey-like melon and zingy cress.

Grilled Shrimp with Hot Honey

Grilled Shrimp with Hot Honey

Forget the shrimp cocktail, kick your party up a notch with this spicy and smoky crowd-pleaser.

Eggplant Dip

Eggplant Dip

Adding either the Cardamom Infused or Pecan Wood Smoked maple syrup brings out the sweetness of the eggplant and onions and gives it a little extra something.

Cheese Pairings

Pairing Runamok Syrups with Cheese

Perhaps our greatest discovery with the infused, smoked and barrel-aged syrups is finding out how well they pair with cheese.

Mains

Choosing a main dish to please everyone at your table can be as big of an undertaking as cooking it. Luckily, we have everything from light seafood dishes, to long braises for the traditional table. Our roast delicata squash can be stuffed with beef or bulgur to cater to a variety of food preferences, and roast duck is the perfect size for a more intimate gathering. Still can't decide? Think about pairing two main dishes with a few hearty sides to provide variety and take the pressure off of a single perfect presentation.

Broiled Salmon with Smoked Maple and Dijon

Broiled Salmon with Smoked Maple and Dijon

This smoky and sweet salmon is a very simple stunner that will get you some serious culinary cred.

Seared Scallops with a Maple Miso Glaze over Swiss Chard

Seared Scallops with a Maple Miso Glaze

Succulent scallops, sweet maple, spiced cardamom, bitter chard, umami miso: a clear winner.

Braised Pork with a Maple Mustard and Fennel Sauce

Braised Pork with a Maple Mustard and Fennel Sauce

Maple and pork were meant for each other. Try this marbled pork braised for hours in a tangy cider and fennel broth.

Duck with Maple Ginger Orange Sauce

Duck with Maple Ginger Orange Sauce

If the idea of an enormous roast turkey seems too much, consider celebrating with roast duck.

Roasted Delicatas Stuffed with Beef or Bulgur and Drizzled with Hot Honey

Stuffed Delicata Squash with Hot Honey

Filled with meat or bulgur for a vegetarian delight, these squash boats plate beautifully and work well for a crowd.

Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Mint Vinaigrette

Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Mint Vinaigrette

Elevate your leg of lamb with a homemade vinaigrette that incorporates plenty of fresh mint, Dijon mustard, maple, and balsamic vinegar.

Sides

Round out your meal with a few simple and versatile side dishes – roasted vegetables, a fresh salad, and some heartier options with complex and refreshing flavors to cut the richness of your main course. And remember: just because they are a breeze to make, doesn't mean they won't be delicious!

Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables with Maple Glaze

Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables with Maple Glaze

Highlight the flavors of the season with this easy roasted veggie tray.

Fried Brussels Sprouts with a Maple Cider Glaze

Fried Brussels Sprouts with a Maple Cider Glaze

Inspired by our favorite seasonal offering from our local barbecue restaurant, these tangy sweet sprouts are sure to be a hit.

Roasted Cabbage with Horseradish Cream and Maple

Roasted Cabbage with Horseradish Cream and Maple

Braising the cabbage in the cream tames its sourness so the horseradish can step in and be the dominant note.

Beet Arugula and Citrus Salad with Ginger Maple Vinaigrette

Beet Arugula and Citrus Salad with Ginger Maple Vinaigrette

A bright, festive salad, perfect for rounding out a heavy meal.

Sweet Sour Beets

Sweet Sour Beets

Orange juice and a finishing drizzle of Smoked maple syrup complement the sweetness while a dose of cider vinegar gives them a little edge.

Roasted Red Onions with Elderberry Maple

Roasted Red Onions with Elderberry Maple

Roasting onions in the oven with butter, salt and a maple glaze can mellow them into a lovely addition to any meal.

Desserts

The star of any holiday table is the desserts. Most holiday desserts are rooted in longstanding family tradition – dense fruitcakes, troops of gingerbread men, and grandma's cookies made from a top-secret recipe. If you're looking to bring something new to the table this year, we have you covered with our favorite twists on some classic holiday flavors. They're so good, they may turn into a holiday staple in their own right.

Maple Cranberry Gingerbread

Maple Cranberry Gingerbread

The cake turns out surprisingly light and pillowy for a gingerbread, with ribbons of sweet-tart fruitiness. It is the perfect cake for a holiday potluck or tea with friends.

Maple Gingerbread Cookies with Maple Icing

Maple Gingerbread Cookies with Maple Icing

Classic and festive, these gingerbread cookies are going to be the staple of your holiday table.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Orange Bitters

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Orange Bitters

Based on a recipe by the brilliant folks at Milk Street Kitchen, our maple adaptation in this recipe is considerably easier with excellent results.

Bee Sting Cake

Bee Sting Cake

This cake is a nice example of how a little honey can add a unique sweetness to pastries. The base is composed of a yeasted cake dough and topped with a honey-nut-caramel mix.

Apricot Cake with Ginger Maple and Orange

Apricot Cake with Ginger Maple and Orange

We loved the mix of orange, maple and apricot. This makes a small cake that is perfect to have around for breakfast or afternoon tea.

Pudding Chomeur

Pudding Chomeur

A classic Quebecois dish, Pudding Chômeur is a dessert in which simple biscuit dough is poached in maple syrup caramel.

Drinks

No party is complete without the drinks. Whether you're imbibing in some holiday cheer, celebrating the season with cocoa, or looking to balance the merrymaking with a very tasty, very sessionable sangria, these recipes below are sure to keep spirits jolly.

Runamok Glögg

Runamok Glögg

Glogg is a traditional Scandinavian mulled wine libation – warming, festive and delicious.

Chai Spiced Hot Cocoa

Chai Spiced Hot Cocoa

Beloved by kids and adults alike, this Chai Spiced Hot Cocoa is the perfect treat for a snowy evening.

Ginger Hot Toddy

Ginger Hot Toddy

Simple and well-balanced, this ginger hot toddy will take the chill off of the most brutal winter weather.

Elf on a Barstool a.k.a.Maple Cardamom Eggnog

Elf on a Barstool a.k.a.Maple Cardamom Eggnog

What is a holiday party without a little eggnog?

Cranberry Apple Sangria

Cranberry Apple Sangria

Mix up a big pitcher of this beautiful, festive, and low alcohol sangria for your next holiday gathering.

Winter Cheer

Winter Cheer

A holiday party starter made simple with the help of our Maple Old Fashioned Cocktail Mixer.

Enjoy & happy holidays from the crew at Runamok!