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Home Entertaining: Host a Scotch Tasting this Fall

Tracy Wharton calgary entertaining home making hosting interior decorating interior design party idea scotch

I don't just see myself as an interior designer, but as a professional homemaker. For me, part of making a house a home is entertaining.

Bringing in friends and family and making them feel welcome and honoured. We have long cold winters in Calgary, and so I will (from time to time) share with you some of my ideas for entertaining during the fall and winter months. Heck, I'm sure I will also blog about spring and summer parties too. 

Full disclosure: I'm part Scottish and I don't really care for scotch. I can still appreciate that my ancestors felt so strong a need to be inebriated that they actually tore up turf and fermented it. That is some seriously admirable moxie and shows a gift for working with what you have on hand even if only for the purpose of getting legless.  

My husband wanted to host a group of guys he used to know back when they were Scout leaders and he had suggested that they each bring over their favourite scotch and that they reminisce about old times (this ended up leading to hiking, but on a different occasion). That is our starting point. You don't need to go buy many bottles of scotch yourself, you just need friends who are willing to part with a few wee drams of theirs in exchange for a few wee drams of yours. Everyone took their beloved bottles home with them at the end of the night, but it was a great way to include guests as a part of the entertainment and for guests to find new favourites. So, that takes care of the "getting the scotch" part. 

Not being a fan myself, I turned to the internet for suggestions on what to serve with scotch. If you are reading this and think I've gone wrong or that you have better suggestions, I'd love to hear your comments. After all, the internet has been known to not always be 100% accurate. I was most surprised to read on many scotch enthusiast sites that a chocolate chip cookie was a popular accompaniment. Some even said the sweeter the better. I didn't end up doing that, but I think I went one better.

I kept the table setting pretty manly (oxymoron alert) and simple. White linen, food served on simple white plates or on a cutting board. Neat rows of glassware were later joined by an interesting selection of bottles. If the weather is cold enough, this would also be a great excuse have your first fire of the season. 

I want to emphasize that this is a pretty easy to set up little get together which can be done with about a day's notice. I bought a few great baguettes and sauteed some mushrooms. I think I can safely say that you need pretty strong flavours to stand up to scotch; strong earthy flavours. We seared some beef tenderloin, let it rest and sliced it and placed it on pieces of baguette. A little creme fraiche with horseradish and some garlic chives were added as well, but there are other options that one could easily use to change things up. As much as serving fish with scotch was not recommended, I couldn't resist throwing in a bit of smoked salmon with Winnipeg cream cheese, capers and chopped red onion. It just didn't seem right not to have smoked salmon. 

Being that this was a gathering of former Scout leaders, and given the hearty recommendations to serve scotch with both sweet and chocolate accompaniments, I had to throw this in as the final treat of the evening. A s'more chocolate pudding with whiskey right in the mix was a perfect way to cap the evening off. I did just use store bought marshmallows on top and they turned out perfectly. 

Need help pulling your home together before the coming holiday season? I can help.



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