December 2022

Celeb Favorite: Low-Cal Cocktails for New Year’s Eve

There is no better way to celebrate the New Year than with a toast! Upgrade everything you do on this New Year’s Eve- rock that perfect dress, don a killer up-do, and have your make-up done! Ditch the regular old champagne for a tasty cocktail make-over and ring in the New Year with a “Midnight Kiss.”

The Midnight Kiss Cocktail
2/3 glass of Sparkling Rosé Champagne
1 oz. X-Rated Fusion Liqueur

For a stylish and low cal cocktail upgrade, pour Sparkling Rosé Champagne in a flute and top with X-Rated Fusion Liqueur. At only 96 calories per serving this mango, passion fruit and blood orange flavored vodka will give you a jump start on a “new year, new you” body!


A Star- Studded New Years
1.5 oz. SKYY Vodka
.5 oz. X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
.25 oz. simple syrup
Star Fruit
Half a lemon squeeze

Muddle star fruit in a shaker, add vodka, X-Rated Fusion Liqueur, simple syrup, lemon squeeze and strain into a champagne flute. Top with some bubbly and toast the New Year like a celeb with this star studded cocktail! The fizzy pink Liqueur is a favorite of Giuliana Rancic, Gabrielle Union, Ciara and LaLa Anthony.

Chef Dana Slatkin and Her Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

I met Dana Slatkin on a recent trip to LA through our children who go to summer camp together. I soon learned that Dana was a well-known chef in LA and her family owned a posh boutique hotel called Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, CA. Shutters is one of my all time favorite luxury hotels known for its low-key atmosphere and delicious farmer’s market-fresh meals. Dana was inspired to write her first cookbook, Summertime Anytime, by requests for the recipes from friends, family and guests. I love her cookbook so much and asked Dana if I could share some of her holiday dishes. Here are some festive Fall recipes below that are perfect for Thanksgiving or a holiday soiree:

Pumpkin Pie Champagne Cocktails with Toasted Marshmallows: (6 cocktails)

Cinnamon sugar
1 wedge of orange
1 bottle of dry champagne or California sparkling wine
6 ounces Monin Pumpkin Spice or Gingerbread Spice Syrup
6 large marshmallows (I love the handmade, cubical ones from Little Flower Baking Company)
Decorative skewers

1. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of cinnamon sugar onto a small plate. Rim a chilled champagne flute with the orange wedge. Then dip the flute into the cinnamon sugar to coat the rim.

2. Pour up to 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of syrup into each of the flutes. Fill with champagne.

3. Toast marshmallows over an open flame to desired doneness. Place on skewers and garnish each cocktail.

Sauteed Spinach with Porcini-Truffle Powder: (Serves 6)

1 cup dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon truffle salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1-1/2 pounds fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried well
A few drops of truffle oil

1. Place the dried mushrooms in a spice grinder or blender and process to the consistency of coarse dust (you will get about 1/2 cup of mushroom powder). Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the truffle salt.

2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and just beginning to brown (a minute or two). Add the spinach and stir until coated.

3. Cover the pot and cook for 2 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Remove the cover and continue cooking until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

4. Sprinkle the spinach lightly with mushroom-truffle powder. Mound onto a serving platter, drizzle with the truffle oil, and dust again with additional mushroom-truffle powder. Store the leftover powder in an air-tight container for the next time (It will hold for months).

French Apple Pie: (Serves 8 )

1 prepared frozen pie crust, preferably whole-wheat

8 large Granny Smith apples (or combination of Granny Smith plus McIntosh or Gala), peeled, cored (I use a melon baler for this), and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 lemon (squeeze over the apples as you slice them)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup melted butter (optional)
1 generous teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter or margarine, cut into small cubes

Vanilla ice cream for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.

2. Prepare the apple or blueberry filling: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and allow to macerate for 15 minutes.

3. Prepare the streusel: In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients. Add the butter and pulse the machine to incorporate. The texture should be like coarse crumbs.

4. Fill the prepared pie crust with the fruit and juices, pressing down gently to accommodate all the filling (it will cook down during baking). Spread the streusel over the entire pie.

5. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° F and continue baking for another 60 minutes, until the filling bubbles and the streusel is golden brown. If necessary, cover the crust and pie loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.

6. Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a rack for at least two hours before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

More Recipes:

Sweet Potato Coconut Crumble
Cranberry Raspberry Relish
Butternut Squash Soup

Dana Slatkin is a chef, consultant and culinary teacher.  After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Dana completed a two-year program at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, winning several awards and graduating at the top of her class.  She trained in France with Michelin Three-Star chefs Georges Blanc and Michel Guerard and with renowned patissier Pierre Hermé at Fauchon. 

After cooking in New York City at Bouley, Dana moved to Los Angeles to become General Manager at L’Orangerie, one of the city’s most highly regarded formal restaurants.  In 1994, seeing a need to engage her local community, she launched the Beverly Hills Farmers Market, which became the inspiration for her own line of food products. Her Danabelle’s Oven-Fresh Scones, Veggibles and Fruitles won awards at the International Fancy Food Show and sold to supermarkets and airline companies for nearly a decade.

Dana currently lives with her husband and three children in Los Angeles.  In addition to consulting for food companies on new product development, Dana teaches popular cooking classes to children and adults.  She especially enjoys combining cooking and philanthropy for a variety of children’s causes.  She is a founding member of Everychild Foundation and concert classical pianist. Her first cookbook, Summertime Anytime, was published in the Spring of 2008 by Clarkson Potter.

Image Credit:

Buy 2002 Perrier-Jouët Fleur de Champagne Belle Epoque Brut Champagne, $124.99


Buy 2002 Perrier-Jouët Fleur de Champagne Belle Epoque Brut Champagne, $124.99, at

  • Gorgeous flavors with a hint of sweet caramel
  • Notes of Granny Smith apple, citrus, and yeast
  • Elegant, long finish

Shop the Full Story:
Champagne & Sparkling Wine: Fill Your Glasses for New Year’s Eve Toasts!
By Anu Karwa

Buy G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne, $75


Buy  G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne, $75, at

  • Notes of lemon-lime and red grape
  • Creamy, full-bodied, and bold

Shop the Full Story:
Champagne & Sparkling Wine: Fill Your Glasses for New Year’s Eve Toasts!
By Anu Karwa

Buy Paul Bara NV Brut Grand Rosé Grand Cru, $48.95


Buy Paul Bara NV Brut Grand Rosé Grand Cru, $48.95, at

  • Hints of red cherry and summer strawberries with underlying note of black pepper
  • Precisely produced by a small Champagne estate
  • Well-balanced

Shop the Full Story:
Champagne & Sparkling Wine: Fill Your Glasses for New Year’s Eve Toasts!
By Anu Karwa

Buy Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne NV, $47.95


Buy Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne NV, $47.95,

  • Rich and full-bodied, yet subtle
  • Exotic flavors of coconut and sweet fruit

Shop the Full Story:
Champagne & Sparkling Wine: Fill Your Glasses for New Year’s Eve Toasts!
By Anu Karwa

Buy Codorniu Anna de Codorniu Brut Cava, $12.99


Buy Codorniu Anna de Codorniu Brut Cava, $12.99,

  • Unique blend of Chardonnay with Cava’s classic grape trio
  • Fresh floral aromas
  • Light and lively

Shop the Full Story:
Champagne & Sparkling Wine: Fill Your Glasses for New Year’s Eve Toasts!
By Anu Karwa

Buy Sorelle Bronca Prosecco, $16.99


Buy Sorelle Bronca Prosecco, $16.99,

  • Made quarterly by two sisters
  • One of the most elegant Proseccos
  • Delicate floral, orange blossom, and almond

Shop the Full Story:
Champagne & Sparkling Wine: Fill Your Glasses for New Year’s Eve Toasts!
By Anu Karwa

Champagne & Sparkling Wine: Fill Your Glasses for New Year’s Eve Toasts!

By Anu Karwa

To some, New Year’s Eve means going all out to go out, from getting a blow-out to blowing your holiday gift card loot on a spangly, sequined minidress. To others, New Year’s Eve means cozying up on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and your sweetheart. But to all, New Year’s Eve means Champagne and sparkling wine. No matter how you choose to usher in 2011, here are our bubbly picks to fill your Champagne glass when you ring in the New Year.

A Bottle of Champagne on New Year’s Eve for a Romantic Night for Two
If you plan on spending a secluded New Year’s Eve with only a fireplace keeping you and your S.O. company, add a bottle of the elegant 2002 Perrier-Jouët Fleur de Champagne Belle Epoque Brut Champagne to the mix.
Buy 2002 Perrier-Jouët Fleur de Champagne Belle Epoque Brut Champagne, $124.99, at

New Year’s Eve Party Fun Plus Champagne at Your Place
You’ve got company coming. Want to kick the classiness up a notch from your usual house wine, but not blow the bank entirely? Try the Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne NV.
Buy Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne NV, $47.95,

Impress the Hostess at Her New Year’s Eve Soirée with a Bottle of Bubbly
Tell the hostess to put this G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne aside for herself for the countdown. You’re guaranteed an invitation back next year.
Buy G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne, $75, at

Low-Key Cuddling Plus Pink Champagne for a Happy New Year’s Eve
You and your sweetie are cuddling up, and there’s take-out Thai food on the table. The Paul Bara NV Brut Grand Rosé Grand Cru reminds you it’s still the start to a new year, without going overboard.
Buy Paul Bara NV Brut Grand Rosé Grand Cru, $48.95, at

Swap Beer for Champagne at Your New Year’s Eve Bacchanal
If iPod blaring, noisemakers, and 2011 glasses are a must at your New Year’s Eve blowout, quantity is key. But skip the keg and opt for this bargain bubbly instead. Anna De Codorniu Brut Cava can be poured all night long. Hangover not included.
Buy Codorniu Anna de Codorniu Brut Cava, $12.99,

Brunch Bellinis & Mimosas with Prosecco to Start the New Year
If your focus is on the next morning (or afternoon by the time you drag yourself out of bed), choose Sorelle Bronca Prosecco as the perfect mixer for mimosas and bellinis.
Buy Sorelle Bronca Prosecco, $16.99,

For an Avant Garde New Year, Serve Sparkling Sake
If you like to buck tradition and eschew watching the ball drop, try the Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Sake for something more unusual in your Champagne glass.
Buy Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Sake, $8.99, at


Anu Karwa, Epicurean Contributing Editor
Anu Karwa has been called a no-nonsense walking 411 for a new generation of female wine drinkers and home entertainers since she launched Swirl Events, an in-home and corporate wine tasting events company with a fresh, hip spin. For anyone who thinks Perez Hilton should be required reading . . . Read more of Anu’s picks


Win an iHome Kitchen Speaker System
Looking for a holiday filled with music and cheer? You could win an iHome Kitchen Speaker System. Listen to your holiday tunes while viewing the latest cookie apps—yes, you really can have it all this season! All you have to do is tell us your favorite holiday song. For contest details and to enter for a chance to win, click here.