Charcuterie & Batch Cocktails

This past weekend was our community’s Homecoming parade, football game, and high school dance. While we hosted lots of events at our home (love a good constant flow of people!), one of my favorites was the getting-ready party we had for my daughter, her friends, and their moms. Once I had the idea to serve charcuterie boards, I couldn’t wait to get started.

A fun, simple, beautiful way to bring people together!

I decided to make a traditional charcuterie for the moms with yummy batch cocktails and a salty and sweet charcuterie for the kids with lemonade. Here’s what I learned in the process and am happy to share so that you can create fun delicious boards (and cocktails) for your next gathering too!

 

Boards

  • Our good friend made this pretty, rustic cutting board for me. I love it so much; I use it every single day. I knew it’d be perfect for my charcuterie board!
  • Later in the night, we had a night cap with a few good friends where we had a bonfire and brought back out the charcuterie. This time, I used a jelly roll pan as my board. A jelly roll pan has a fun farmhouse feel! Plus, the pan has sides to keep food in place and isn’t breakable—making it perfect for easy, laid-back outdoor entertaining.
  • Other ideas for boards include slate cheese boards, white porcelain serving trays, butcher blocks, wooden trays, and even baskets! If you find something that cannot have food directly on it, you can line with parchment paper, tea towels, or even bowls and plates first.

 

Foods 

  • First of all, I love Trader Joe’s and purchased everything for the traditional charcuterie board there!
  • I’ll list out the exact cheeses, meats, crackers, breads, dips, relishes, jams, spreads, honey, dried fruits, and chocolates I used below:
  • Cheeses: A triangle of Brie, sliced Swiss, cubed pepper jack, and a block of Merlot cheese.
  • Meats: Thinly sliced pieces of Hot Coppa, Hot Cappocola, and Hot Sopressa. I was lucky enough to find this assortment in a Trader Joe’s charcuterie package.
  • Crackers and breads: Wheat crisps, water crackers, French bread, and vegetable crackers. Again, a box of a cracker assortment at Trader Joe’s is super helpful to get a little bit of everything!
  • Dips, relishes, jams, spreads, and/or honey: I decided to prepare a homemade jalapeno relish and pimento cheese spread as well as purchase a jar of honey that felt extra special because it contained the original honeycomb.
  • Dried fruits/Chocolates: Dark chocolate covered almonds, dried apricots, and milk chocolate covered caramels.

 

Utensils/Serving Dishes

  • Set out cheese knives, a wooden honeycomb, and tiny spoons.
  • A variety of bowls, ramekins, and small plates help hold items and add some interest with shapes and levels.

 

Assembly

  • Start with cheeses and set them apart from each other. Keep in mind to place the cheeses that require cutting on the front edge of the board so it’s easy to reach.
  • Next, load in the bowls with dips, relishes, jams, spreads, and/or honey.
  • After that, place the crackers and bread around everything.
  • Finally, add the meat onto the board. Fold each circle into a triangle for a pretty presentation, and for easy handling.
  • Be sure to space out the foods that have similar colors to lead the eye around the board.
  • I wanted my pretty rustic board to be seen so I made sure to have negative space around the food.
  • Add some color with fresh green herbs!

 

Oops, Look What I Forgot & A Tip

  • So, can you figure out what I completely forgot to add to my board?! My fresh green herbs! I went the extra mile to purchase rosemary and sage to layer in with all the cheeses and meats. I was in such a rush to throw it all together that some things got forgotten or left out due to time. So, sadly, I took a photo of my precious herbs looking lonely the day after.
  • Gather everything you want to assemble on your board and have it in one big box in the pantry and one big bag in the refrigerator. I did this for the dried items, but not for the refrigerated items and I should have. In the fast-pace moment of pulling your beautiful vision together all the while lighting candles, filling ice buckets, and getting the music going, there are things you will forget unless you have it all bundled together and ready to go!

 

 

I loved getting creative with charcuterie and thinking outside the traditional board! No longer are charcuterie boards just for cheeses and meats.

 The possibilities are endless, and the whole idea for me, was to make food that’s accessible & easy to grab.

While assembling the salty and sweet board, I reached for an old vintage wooden serving platter and used various bowls, plates, and ramekins to assemble the snacks. I alternated between salty and sweet and loved having the gummy bears as the colorful star in the middle of the board!

While part of the ease of a charcuterie board is that you can simply purchase everything at the store, I did enjoy bringing some extra love to the board with a homemade jalapeno relish and pimento cheese spread and to my cocktails with a honey syrup, brown sugar raisin syrup (which I ended up not using) and rosemary cranberry cordial—all which I prepared ahead of time. To store homemade batches, I discovered the most wonderful glass bottles and jars to preserve all the goodness inside, and look cute too!

I love charcuterie boards for the reason that you can simply be with your guests and not worry about pulling foods out of the oven, timing anything on the stove, or tending to any assembly. It’s for this reason that batch cocktails are such a great complement to charcuterie boards.

Charcuterie boards & batch cocktails free you to focus on the people you invited; not the food or drinks.

I made Rosemary Cranberry Gin and Vodka Lemonade. I love when cocktails are prepared in advance. That way, I can even have guests help themselves to a yummy drink the moment they walk in the door. Set out with a bucket of ice, glasses, and garnishes (here, I did candied lemon wheels), everyone can pour and assemble themselves. That means no shaking, stirring, or measuring at the party, which is a win!

So, tell me, what kind of charcuterie board are you going to make now?!

Want to discover the same recipes, containers, and foods? Check out all the resources and links below:

Foods: Trader Joe’s

Pimento Cheese Recipe: Sean Brock’s Recipe adapted by Styling My Everyday

Jalapeno Relish Recipe: Magnolia Table Cookbook

Rosemary Cranberry Gin Cocktail: Batch Cocktails book

Vodka Lemonade: Clean Cocktails book

Glass Bottles & Jars: The Container Store

Muddler & Stirrer: Crate & Barrel

Bowls & Ramekins: Crate & Barrel 

Mini Bowls: CB2

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