Shot glasses put big flair and fabulous fare into tiny tumblers that will have your guests reaching for another taste of fall’s flavor-forward menus.
By Mary Brown Malouf, Photos by Adam Finkle

Parties have always been a big part of celebrating the season, and small bites continue to evolve as a portion-friendly way to serve guests with style, variety and ease. Enter shot glass entertaining. Cuisine Unlimited’s Emily Lavin along with Executive Chef Steve Ulibarri create and present fabulous holiday fare—from savory main-dish faves to sweet desserts and spirited sips— all in the confines of mini-serving shot glasses. For inspiration, they dished up this spectacular spread. Eat, drink, be merry…and by all means, help yourself to another.
Photo by Adam Finkle

From left to right: 

1. Pepato Bread Pudding

Butternut squash, balsamic mousse and fried baby spinach

2. Beet Salad

Diced red and golden beets layered with goat cheese

3. Bangers & Mash

Lamb sausage with mashed potatoes, gravy and petite vegetables

4. Thanksgiving Dinner

Shaved honey roasted turkey, cranberry stuffing and sage apple chutney garnished with a fried sage leaf

5. Cranberry-Pomegranate Shortbread

Topped with vanilla whipped cream and dried cranberries

6. The Elvis

Banana cream pie layered with peanut butter sauce and topped with brown sugar bacon chips

7. Apple-Brandy Mousse with Fried Doughnut

Drizzled with cinnamon-caramel sauce

8. Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie

Layered with maple syrup and crowned with a tuile chip

9. Pumpkin Old Fashioned

With spicy stir stick and candied orange rinds

10. Cranberry Spritzer

Basil sugar rim and sugared fresh cranberries garnish

11. High West Whiskey

Served straight up

Shot Glass Strategies


Top tips from Cuisine Unlimited’s Emily Lavin

  • Use shot glasses for chilled or room-temperature foods only. Hot foods cool quickly and can be difficult to handle.
  • Use shot glasses when convenience is key. They are less cumbersome than plates to handle and they ease cleanup.
  • Serve alongside cocktail napkins and demitasse forks and spoons.
  • Use shot glasses when you are serving a broad tasting menu. They allow guests to sample many dishes without having to self-manage portions.
  • Use a variety of shot glasses to stylize your presentation. Group like items together for a more modern presentation.
  • Prepare shot glass fare ahead of time and store assembled in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Layer ingredients to enhance visual interest and the tasting experience.
  • Use creative garnishes to add complementary flavor, contrasting texture and height to shot glass fare.
  • Freeze shot glasses ahead of time when serving iced desserts or palate cleansers like sorbets.
  • Use pastry bags (with tip removed) to fill individual shot glasses with prepared ingredients. Small funnels perform well for beverages and soup courses.
  • Choose chilled, stemmed glasses for foods that will quickly melt from the heat of hands holding the vessel.
  • Limit each recipe to 2–3 ingredients crowned with a topping or garnish.
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