Watch 3 Chefs Make Instagram-Worthy Holiday Appetizers—and Get the Recipes

Shop This Post
Food & Drink

If it wasn’t shared on social media, did it even happen?

With fairy lights, candles, and (hopefully) piles of fresh snow, the holidays are always Instagrammable—and your menu should be, too. To help take our entertaining game to the next level, associate editor Claire Stern got a lesson on how to make picture-perfect cocktails and appetizers from chefs and event planners Andrew Cavitolo, Tyler Lyne, and Bobby Stern of Riviera Caterers, just in time for next week’s parties.

The chefs, whose whimsical presentations could give Willy Wonka a run for his money, shared their favorite show-stopping bites and not one, but two, festive drinks served in adorable mini bottles. “The idea is to make everything feel a bit more personalized,” Stern tells InStyle. “We like to present our first course as a present,” adds Cavitolo, who plates dishes in cookie tins, wrapped in ribbon. “It’s a fun and innovative way to spice things up for the holidays.”

Watch the video above for more thoughtful tips, and read on for the recipes.

RELATED: Here Are the Top 10 Trending Foods You Hashtagged in 2016

Little Big Mac

Guests will love opening the tiny to-go container to find a micro version of the beloved fast-food combo. What’s more, the box keeps the slider warm until it’s ready to be eaten. “What I like to do is put stickers on the bottom of the box,” says Cavitolo, so consider including a little holiday message or writing the names of your guests.


10 portions


For the special sauce
12 oz mayo
3 1/2 oz cornichons, chopped ($3;
1 oz paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp champagne vinegar ($7;
Salt and pepper to taste

For the burgers
20 beef sliders, cut 1/4-inch thick
4 oz special sauce
20 slices of American cheese (2 slices per slider)
Iceberg lettuce, shredded (as needed)
10 Pillsbury biscuit buns


For the special sauce
1. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.
2. Taste and season.

For the burgers
1. Form mini burger patties and cook in an oven for 5 minutes.
2. Punch out the Pillsbury biscuit dough buns the same size as burger patties and brush with egg yolk wash and sprinkle with seasame seeds.
3. Bake biscuit buns as per instructions on container then slice in three sections.
4. Melt the American cheese on the patties and you're ready to assemble.

To assemble
1. Spread the special sauce on all sides of the bun.
2. Lay a patty, lettuce, middle bun, patty, lettuce, and finally top bun.
3. Plan in oven to warm through and enjoy!


“Infuse the eggnog with the bourbon ahead of time so you don’t have to play bartender,” says Stern

RELATED: Watch Entertaining Expert Sarah Schiear Make 3 Easy Appetizers in Under 30 Minutes


5 yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
5 oz bourbon


1. Steep the milk and cream with nutmeg over medium heat.
2. Whisk yolks and sugar until thick and ribbon like.
3. Pour in hot milk and whisk. Add back to pan and cook to 155˚F.
4. Chill down, then add bourbon.

Spiced Cider

Although Stern is particular to Ron Zacapa ($43;, you can use any dark rum for this libation. “You can serve these either cold or warm, but if you do serve them warm, don’t put the rum in ahead of time,” he warns, as the bottles tend to combust.

RELATED: The Dairy-Free Eggnog Recipe You Never Knew You Needed


4 cups apple juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp nutmeg
6 oz rum


1. Steep all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a light simmer, then add rum until desired strength.

Burrata Salad

“We try to keep it as seasonal as possible,” says Lyne of the dish, which contains preserved tomatoes, charred scallions, and thinly sliced redball radish, finished with a spiced onion marmalade and basil tops.

Related: Homemade Almond Praline Chocolate Rochers Make the Perfect Hostess Gift


10 burratas ($12 each;
20 oz red onion marmalade
10 oz pesto
2 oz confit tomatoes
10 portions mesclun greens
30 leaves of baby basil, picked
30 scallions, blanched


1. Combine in a bowl and mix well.


Hi everyone. We are here with Andrew, Bobby and Tyler of Riviera Caterers, going over some fun and awesome holiday entertainment ideas. Guys, I'll let you take it away. Hi everybody. We are at one of our amazing spaces at WTCH The Revere at the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan at 4 World Trade Center. We do some of the most high profile events in the world here and we want to share some of our awesome, innovative holiday tips with you guys at home as stuff that you could do right from home. So when you have a holiday party and you invite friends over Anything, you kinda wanna stage it and [UNKNOWN]. So you always wanna have hors d'oeuvres and food when people arrive. People always come hungry and they're always gonna bother you for it. So we always like to do a lot of fun, interesting hors d'oeuvres, stuff that's out of the box, make people wanna take pictures and enjoy. So one of our things that everybody likes at home is Is a slider, but how do you make a slider more interesting, more fun, and that people really love? So, we decided to create the mini Big Mac. So, the mini Big Mac is a two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, tomatoes And a sesame seed bun. And we put it in this innovative little [UNKNOWN] box. These boxes you can actually get online, so they're really fun if you look online. But, just to show you how to make it. The bun is the most key point, the most important part. We actually, to do it at home, if you want, you could go get a buttermilk biscuit, like almost like a Pillsbury biscuit. And you cut little cookie cutter Whole shapes in it. And when you bake it you get this bun as you see here. Cut it into three pieces and then you can stack your burger in to make the sandwich. So you always want to put the sauce on every layer. Sauce is the key. That's the special stuff. So When you do the sauce. Tyler what's in the sauce? If you go online, McDonald's actually has all the recipes posted [LAUGH]. So this is actually the real McDonald's special sauce as posted on their website. That's pretty much how you stack. Make sure you get the sauce on every single layer, that's what makes Makes it really good and really tasty. So obviously the presentation is the key. When you heat these up you could when you close the box and you cover it, it stays warm for a while so that's the idea. And then you can leave them out and then guests could come and they take a little box which is really fun. What I love to do is you could put little stickers in the bottom of the box So, when the guest takes the burger, you can see a little sticker of, we have our logo, but you can do it with merry Christmas, you can put guest names, you could have a lot of fun with it. So,these are one of our great ideas. And then, what you could do it you could check out our website and we'll have recipes for all of this stuff so you can do it at home for the holidays. Another fun thing that we do This is really interesting is we like to play with food with pipettes. So we do, we get, we go online, and they have a little pipette. We, this is our little turkey dinner. So we actually fill this with gravy, we cut a small piece of turkey, we make homemade stuffing, and we make a candied You can leave cranberry on top. Stack it like this, and you can just eat it. Squeeze and enjoy. It's really good, in a really innovative way. So if no hoeur d'oeuvres, drinks is the most important part as well. So I'm gonna pass it over to Bobby, and he's gonna show you how to make really, really, really innovate drinks for your guests. So Body, what are we making today? So for today, holiday inspired beverages. We have two. We're gonna do one very traditional egg nog, but we're gonna spike it with bullet Bourbon. It's really fun. So what you could do is, we serve in miniature bottles, and you can purchase it in your local liquor store. The idea is to not worry about [UNKNOWN]. Make it a little more personalized. Let your guests get to drink That they want. And it makes you look really innovative and trendy. So the idea here is to fill up the egg nog, or the bottle with the egg nog. And then, here, again, [INAUDIBLE] use them. This is filled with [INAUDIBLE] bourbon. You're actually going to fill up the bottle. And you're going to be infusing the egg nog with the [INAUDIBLE] bourbon right now. So now you have a spiked egg nog. It's really fun. You can prepare these ahead of time, so you don't have to worry about being bartender at your own party. You can put these out on the bar, on the table. Your guests can pick them up as they want. Another really fun one is our spiced, I wanna say, spiced apple juice. And it's mixed in with a [UNKNOWN] cup of rum. Again you purchase it in a liquor store. But the idea for this is to make these ahead of time. Don't worry about serving your guests. You want to be able to entertain them, have fun, prepare yourself. Put these in the refrigerator the night before, let them get chilled. You can serve them either cold or warm. If you do serve them warm, just a little warning, don't put the rum in ahead of time it will send To combust if you put them in your microwave, or your toaster. So, just serve them cold, and then preheat them if you want, without the rum. So if you just, for the guests at home, if you don't know how to make eggnog at home, can you buy this at your, Yes, so the eggnog is something that you can purchase at your local grocery store. If you do get a little creative in the kitchen, it's not Something you can make, and we'll provide our recipe online. But definitely something easy to purchase. The bourbon is available at your liquor store. And then for the cider, that's again, something you can purchase at your local grocery store. We add a little bit more of our homemade spices to make it a little bit more fun. It's something that you can get creative, and make a In your own personalized beverage. So don't feel like you have to follow the recipe to the tee. It is something that identifies you, your event, your party and make it all about yourself. And about how much Bourbon are you infusing into the eggnog? These are 10ml pipettes 10ml pipettes Yeah So on our website, Which I'll link to. We'll actually give you link where you can buy the pipettes online. So for guests at home you could just go online and order them. They're really, really inexpensive, they're like ten cents apiece and it just makes it easy. You just squeeze the pipette and it fills it up with the liquor. So you could do this with anything, and that's the beauty. You don't have to use the [UNKNOWN] Rum we love to use it, but you could do it with all different types of dark rum. Every liquor store has these things, so that's great. And these cute hamburger cases, those are also available online? So these little boxes, yes, we'll show you where you can get them as well. So anything that we use as a vessel That you see here. We will have a link online, so you could go and find out what store you can get them at. It just makes it easier for everybody at home. All right. And then we're moving on to the first course of the meal. [LAUGH] Well, it's hard to follow these guys, but we'll give it a shot. So you've had a party, you had amazing [INAUDIBLE], you got tremendous compliments, people are freshly spiked with your bourbon and rum. Then you're gonna sit down, you're gonna sit down and your gonna have your meal. Holidays, usually sharing with friends and family. A meal in general, is usually sharing it with friends and family. So, you always wanna put your best foot forward. And one way to do that is making really simple tasty food. At Riviera It is really our mission is to change the landscape of catering, of having parties, and to deliver hot, super high level food. So the first course that we have is gonna be a barada, and the barada is Made in house. We make it with, we make our own Strachiatella so we are pulling Mozzarella. We are stretching it into ribbons. We soak it in cream for a week and then that's our Strachiatella that we fill with the brine. For the home cook, you can just go and buy the actual burrata. I mean they're very available. Next is what goes great with mozzarella is, [COUGH] Tomatoes. Obviously it's the winter time, so here are some preserved tomatoes. In oil so that way we can use them in the winter time in a respectful way. Next is some scallions that were quickly blanched and then charred on a plaunch. A plaunch is a hot grill for Pretty much anyway. Just pretty much a flat top. If you don't have a [UNKNOWN] only you could do it in a frying pan. Simply just heat up like an iron frying pan, and you could sear it on there as well. Next is red ball radish. So, you could kind of see that the ingredients here are Beside, keep the seasonal as possible. Obviously, you're not gonna have any faba beans or peas this time of the year but you can definitely, those onions are plenty and you know, it's made it of the [UNKNOWN] head. You can definitely use those. To finish this is some onion marmalade. This is really simple. It's just onions cooked down for a good while until they turn into a jam, with some balsamic vinegar, with some, I actually put some [UNKNOWN] in here, spices. And one of the spices I put in there is a little bit of ancho chili. Which really kind of gives it a nice depth and kick. And then to finish is just some little basil tops and some fresh little micros. How good does that look [LAUGH] It looks delicious. But you know it's simple, delicious and Easily executable at home. So the exciting part about this, so this is an amazing first course, but you can really make any first course amazing if you do a little innovative thing. So what we like to do for our holidays is we actually like to put our first course in a present. So if you go and get a Online. You could plate this exact same thing, or any first crust that you do, in a box like this. And they're food safe and everything. Tie it up in a little bow, and you put it literally at the person's plate when they sit down. So they're sitting down, and they almost have a gift as a first course. Then pretty much, the guest Just open up their gift and pop the tin. [SOUND] You get the exact same thing here in your tin. And then people eat it and it's a really, really fun and innovative way to have, with the holidays, to kinda spice things Things unfolding. Right. Awesome. Well, thank you so much guys and everyone who's watching you can look for all of these recipes on later today. Thank you. And thank you for us at WTCH60 Rivera at the World Trade Center in Downtown Manhattan. We appreciate it. Happy holidays. Happy holidays. Happy holidays.
Back to Top