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Giada's Opening Ceremony party recipes: Vodka, fudge, more

Hosting a party for tonight's Opening Ceremony? Giada De Laurentiis has all you need to make it a success with cocktail, dessert and snack recipes, from the Russian-inspired Moscow mule to spicy popcorn and salami crisps. Enjoy!Moscow mule cocktail6 servings1 1/2 cups ice1 1/2 cups Mint-Flavored Vodka (recipe follows)1 1/2 cups Ginger Simple Syrup (recipe follows)2 cups sparkling waterGarnish: fr

Hosting a party for tonight's Opening Ceremony? Giada De Laurentiis has all you need to make it a success with cocktail, dessert and snack recipes, from the Russian-inspired Moscow mule to spicy popcorn and salami crisps. Enjoy!

Moscow mule cocktail
6 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • 1 1/2 cups Mint-Flavored Vodka (recipe follows)
  • 1 1/2 cups Ginger Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • Garnish: fresh mint sprigs, lime slices, lemon slices

Fill a cocktail shaker with 1/4 cup of ice. Add 1/4 cup of mint-flavored vodka, 1/4 cup ginger syrup and 1/3 cup of sparkling water. Shake and pour into a tall glass or flute. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs, lemon slices and lime slices just before serving.

Mint-flavored vodka

  • 2 large bunches fresh mint
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle vodka

Place the mint in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the mint and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the mixture to stand for at least three days at room temperature. Remove the mint and discard.

Ginger Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water and ginger over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 20 minutes. Strain before using.

Spicy citrus popcorn
Makes 3-6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon salt

In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the popcorn and cover with the lid immediately. Give the pan a shake and wait until you hear the kernels starting to pop. Shake the pan one more time and turn down the heat to medium. Continue to cook until the popping slows down and the kernels are popped, about 2minutes. Pour into a large bowl.

In a small sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the lemon zest and cayenne and swirl to let the flavors mingle. Pour the butter mixture over the popcorn and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and serve. 

Salami crisps with sour cream and basil
Makes 24 servings

  • 24 thin slices Italian dry salami (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with aluminum foil. Arrange the salami in a single layer over the baking sheets. Bake until the salami slices are amber brown, watching closely to ensure they brown evenly, about 10 minutes. Transfer the salami crisps to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb the excess oil. Set aside to cool.Spoon a dollop of sour cream atop each salami crisp. Sprinkle the basil over and serve.

Note: The salami crisps can be made 8 hours ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Cinnamon chocolate fudge
Makes 4-6 servings

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips *see note below
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • Kosher or flake salt (optional)

Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper, about 14-inches long and 7-inches wide, allowing the excess to overhang the sides. Set aside

In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the condensed milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate chips and butter. Place the bowl on a saucepan of barely simmering water and mix until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 6 to 8 minutes (mixture will be thick). Using a spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with salt, if using. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm.

Run a warm knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the fudge. Remove the fudge and place on a cutting board. Peel off the parchment paper and cut the fudge into 1-inch pieces. Store refrigerated in an airtight container or freeze.

Note: The fudge can also be made using 1 pound of semi-sweet chocolate chips