Table Ta-Da!

7 Wow-Worthy Desserts & Drinks That Just Want an Excuse to Party

A stunning holiday spread for anyone with a sweet tooth.

December 28, 2018

Welcome to Table Ta-Da!, where our art director, Alexis Anthony, shares tips and tricks (along with a little fairy dust) to help you create a wow-worthy table, whether you're serving two people or 20. Cue the oohs and ahhs...

I have distinct memories of tagging along to my parents' friends' parties: After getting dressed in my favorite Laura Ashley dress and black patent party shoes, and packing any number of Baby-Sitters Club books into my backpack (just in case there were no other kids on site), we'd arrive and bow hello to oh-so-many Korean elders. Eventually, I'd be free to explore on my own, and I'd almost always sidle up to the buffet—more specifically, wherever the sweets were.

At most of these parties, the "sweets" were a myriad of fruits Koreans love (big Fuji apples, even bigger Korean pears, ginormous oranges). If I was lucky, a large cake (usually a vanilla sponge fruit cake) from a Korean or Chinese bakery would also make an appearance. I was definitely the kid that would get full eating all the dinner rolls ahead of dinner, or skirting around the entree to free my belly up for the desserts. I had a major sweet tooth, and my only wish was that Koreans were more into the sugary confections that my American dessert–filled dreams were made of.

As an adult, my sweet tooth hasn't gone anywhere—and my love for a buffet is still going strong. What has changed is that I can throw a party full of just sweets if I want to. And with the help of our in-house art director wizard, Alexis Anthony, we've done just that.

One sweet party. Photo by Rocky Luten

"If you want to throw a dessert party, throw a dessert party!" she encourages (I knew I loved Alexis for a reason). But make a statement: Instead of showcasing the largely dark treats typified by the holiday season, go bold with colors and textures.

Here's how Alexis created a perfect sweets and drinks spread:

  • Think color for the table: Make your spread POP with a vibrant backdrop. Alexis went for a peacock blue tablecloth here, but channeling jewel tones through your tabletop accessories and florals would feel fun and festive.
  • Rethink serving vessels: Just because cake is being served doesn't mean they have to be plated on a pedestal. Break out the colorful marble slabs, your extra-large cheese boards for the cookie "platter," and upturned bowl to give height to your poached pears.
  • Vary up the food and drink colors: It might be hard to get around the darker brown gingerbreads and chocolate cookies, but you can dial up the brightness with freshly-hued cocktails, berry jam fillings, and garnet wine-poached fruit.

Speaking of food and drink, here's the full menu of the desserts and drinks spread we've laid out:

Sweet Showstoppers

C Is for Cookie

Holiday Tipples

What are your favorite desserts and cocktails for the holidays? Share them with us below!

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Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.