Despite how hectic the holidays can be, Marissa Hermer is happy to be a hostess this time of year.
“I love entertaining during the holidays as my guests are ready to eat, drink and be merry,” the Ladies of London star tells PEOPLE. “Everyone is generally jollier — which makes my job more fun.”
For easy entertaining, Hermer — who will release her first cookbook An American Girl in London this April — has a few tricks up her sleeve. “I always have holiday crafts for the kids tucked away so that when the kids table finishes their meal, I break out the crafts and the adults can wine and dine a bit longer,” she says. “For kids of all ages, Santa hats and festive novelty sunglasses are a must during present opening time. For me, as long as I’m organized, I’m calm even during Christmas chaos.”
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Hermer’s best tip, though “crazy”, is seriously time-saving. “I set out all the serving plates the day before and put little Post-it notes in each so I know that this dish is the dish for the sweet potato mash and that dish is the dish for the braised cabbage,” she says. “When it comes time to transfer from the stove to the serving table, I don’t even have to think and I know what food goes in what plate.”
As for what she prepares during this festive time, the Bumpkin restaurant owner’s go-to recipes are a fruity party cocktail and a spicy nut mix, shared exclusively below from her upcoming cookbook. “Just a note to ALWAYS make more and double or triple the recipe as often guests want to take some home and I never have enough!” she says of the nuts.
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Marissa Hermer’s Spicy Nut Mix
2 cups almonds, skin on
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup cashews
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked
1 tsp. sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the nuts, olive oil, maple syrup, paprika, cayenne, rosemary and sea salt. Stir well to combine.
3. Tip onto the roasting tray and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and sticky. Allow to cool completely.
Marissa Hermer’s “Party Starter” Shot
Makes: 1 shot
½ oz. vodka
½ oz. passionfruit puree
1 tsp. gomme syrup
1 tsp. Chambord
1 tbsp. prosecco
1. Pour the vodka, passionfruit puree, gomme syrup and Chambord into a cocktail shaker.
2. Shake and double strain into a double shot glass.
3. Top it up with prosecco and shoot!
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