food

From platters to drink pairings: How to host a simple, chic night with friends.

Gordons Gin
Thanks to our brand partner, Gordons Gin

They say home is where the heart is, but honestly, a more accurate saying would be, home is where you have the capacity to throw the very best shindig. 

Now, you don't need a fancy house, a team of caterers or even MasterChef level cooking skills to pull off the ultimate at-home soirèe. It's all about knowing which kinds of food and drink work best together to create a festive setting. 

Here are three examples of how to host a simple, fabulous night with friends. 

A Friday night family-style feast with a side of Gordon’s Mediterranean Orange

The trick to pulling off the perfect Friday night get together is creating a relaxed atmosphere that cashes in on that end-of-week excitement lingering in the air.

Why not try a picnic-style dinner under the stars in your backyard or, if you prefer temperature control, just place some luxe cushions on the floor around your coffee table. Then pop on some ambient tunes and give your guests the space to unwind from the craziness of the week.

Now, there's a reason why classic fish and chips are considered the ultimate Friday night treat, as there's nothing quite like their golden crispness to kick off the weekend. 

Traditional fish and chips are always a winner, but for some extra-fancy Friday fare, you could present your guests with some options in a family-style meal setting. 

Along with traditional potato chips, try adding polenta or vegetable chips into the mix to kick things up a notch. Sometimes I also like to give Friday night fish and chips an Asian-inspired twist and serve tempura-battered cod and with a spicy wasabi tartare sauce with a squeeze of orange as a zesty change. 

"Try adding polenta or vegetable chips into the mix to kick things up a notch." Image: Getty. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Of course, what really makes or breaks a Friday night is the cocktail you serve, and in this case, you can't go past a delicious beverage with a Mediterranean twist.

Gordon’s Mediterranean Orange is a zesty gin featuring citrusy notes of Mediterranean Orange and is best served with tonic, ice, and a slice of orange as garnish. The perfect drink to pair with your Friday night fish and chip spread transporting you to the Mediterranean coastline watching the gorgeous sunset over the sea.

Drink responsibly. Image: Instagram @gordonsginau 

A ladies night starring a Gordon’s Premium Pink spritz and Instagram-worthy grazing platters.

It's no secret that platters have had quite the glow-up over the last few years. It's no longer just about throwing some Jatz, a few cubes of cheese and an unopened dip on a plate. Grazing platters have developed into quite the art form.

Before inviting the women in your life over for a boujee Saturday night soirée, you need to nail down your platter game. 

It might sound simple, but the first step is to measure out the size of the boards you're using before hitting the shops, as the trick to creating an eye-catching platter is that it needs to elegantly heaped.

ADVERTISEMENT

The last thing you want to be doing is rummaging around in your fridge five minutes before your guests arrive and resorting to sadly slicing up an over-ripe apple to fill out platter gaps. 

The first ingredient to add to the platter is cheese and you'll need to incorporate about four different kinds in order to get the right balance of options for your guests. 

I usually opt for a firm cheese (cheddar or asiago are good choices), a semisoft (can't go wrong with havarti or gouda), a soft (Brie, Camembert or a goat cheese) and of course, a blue (gorgonzola is usually a winner). Tip: pour a dash of honey over your soft cheese option to take your spread to the next level. 

Then overlay your cheese foundation with cured meats such as different types of salami, prosciutto, and sopressa and use an array of chopped vegetables to fill any gaps.  

Now is the time to sprinkle your smaller ingredients, such as nuts, olives and berries, across the platter and add a few sliced figs always add an extra-lush pop of texture. 

"The first ingredient to add to the platter is cheese and you'll need to incorporate about four different kinds in order to get the right look." Image: Getty.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Finally, a special night calls for an extra special drink, a delicious (and easy!) cocktail to mix up for your friends is a Gordon’s Premium Pink Spritz. 

For each cocktail, I fill a large wine glass with ice, mix in 45ml of Gordon's Pink with 90mL lemonade and 45mL of prosecco. 

Don't forget to add strawberries and raspberries to top it all off. 

Makes approx. 1.8 standard drinks.

Drink responsibly. Image: Instagram @gordonsginau

An early Sunday night Italian feast paired with Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon.

An Italian feast is perfect for a leisurely Sunday get together because the ethos behind it is to make each course an event, a chance to savour both the food, and the company. It's the kind of event that could kick off at 3pm and by 7pm, you're just beginning the main course. 

The key to a bellissimo Italian feast is to begin with an array of tasty starter dishes. Think tomato and basil bruschetta, pancetta-wrapped halloumi fries topped with a tomato relish, figs and mozzarella wrapped in ham and of course, a stacked charcuterie board.

Making your own pizzas always adds a snazzy touch to the night's festivities. 

"Fill your table with all sorts of delicious topping treats in a series of small bowls." Image: Getty. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The key is to lay out a varied spread of toppings that goes far beyond the usual cheese and tomato offerings. 

Instead, fill your table with all sorts of delicious topping options in a series of small bowls (think caramelised onions, diced halloumi, artichokes, goats cheese and chopped beetroot) and allow your guests to make their own creations. 

An extra nice touch for a Sunday night Italian feast is to set out a dessert table packed with classic treats such as vanilla, pistachio and chocolate biscotti, tiramisu, and cannoli with Ricotta custard. Place a series of small boxes on the table and encourage your friends to select a few extra treats to take home with them.

Needless to say, none of these courses work unless they are paired with the perfect drink, and in this case the perfect companion is Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon Distilled Gin. 

It's a fresh and zesty tasting gin created using only natural flavours including hints of lovely Sicilian lemons.

To create the perfect cocktail, fill the glass with a generous helping of ice, one jigger of 30ml of gin and then top with tonic as needed and mix. Don't forget to garnish with a fresh slice of lemon!

Makes approx. 0.9 standard drinks. 

Gordons Gin
Gordon's Gin, the world's no. 1 international gin, comes in four delicious flavours: the original Gordon's London Dry Gin, fruity Gordon's Premium Pink, zesty Gordon's Sicilian Lemon and, introducing the newest addition to the Gordon's family, juicy Gordon's Mediterranean Orange. Gordon's is the perfect gin for a cheeky G&T, ideal at any time, but especially good when enjoyed with friends. What's your flavour? Gordon's.... Shall We?