I love a good tea party (especially when the tea cups are filled with cocktails!). One of my favorite parties of the past year was an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party. I typically start planning a party by coming up with a particular theme or mood. I chose the classic children’s story for this party because I was in search of an experience that evoked both of these elements.
I wanted the mood to feel as whimsical as the story. In order to do this, I selected a youthful color palette comprised of primary colors- mostly red and blue, plus black and white to represent the original storybook. The party was inspired by the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, so I turned my living room into a garden-like scene, reminiscent of the hedge maze setting in the book. To achieve the fantastical ambience necessary to bring the book to life, I needed to create a world within my living room. To do this, I fashioned standing tissue paper flowers to surround the dining table and hung Alice in Wonderland themed bunting (cut out from an old Rifle Paper Co. calendar) around the room. The table itself was covered with red roses and blue irises and myriad decorations inspired by the book, including white rabbit salt and pepper shakers, a gold clock, black and white magnifying glass, a white rabbit tea kettle, and playing cards from the suit of hearts. The food courses were a play on some of the characters and scenes in the book. For example, I baked bread rolls in the shape of turtles and mice (and stuffed the mice with cheese for a little delicious surprise!). I hand-painted flowers on macarons using food gel and food-safe paintbrushes and served these on a hand-made tower covered in palm leaves. Bright pink pickled beet deviled eggs played on the silliness of the Mad Hatter’s party. The cocktails were served from white rabbit tea kettle and a were huge hit, both in their referential names and in their unique twists on two classics (a berry Vodka Spritzer and a Manhattan).
The invitation and menu were inspired by characters in the book. My husband, Jon, drew the White Rabbit for the front of the invitation. I wanted to make the invitation light and fun, so I added hidden party details on the back of the invitation. I made a paper “looking glass” with red film in the center. To read the messages on the invite, you have to hold the film over the paper. This makes the red images “disappear” so you can see the blue message.
Jon and I designed the Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum menus together (this same image is also used on the hidden message part of the invitation!). I added the list of menu items to the characters stomachs and placed a menu at each place setting.
Rifle Paper Company came out with a Wonderland line of fabrics last year and I bought 6 different kinds. Part of the reason I waited to have this party until I did was because I was waiting for the fabric to be released. It’s gorgeous and I used this to decorate the table. I sewed cloth napkins using the Magic Forest print on cotton. They had the print available at the time in both gold on black and black and white so I made napkins with each and alternated styles at each place setting.
See below for the rest of the menu, cocktail recipes, and to find out how to make your own pickled beet deviled eggs!
Pickled Beet Deviled Eggs
Roasted Carrots with Cumin-Coconut Chutney on Buckwheat Blinis
Tomato Basil Mozzarella Bites
Stuffed Cheese Rolls
Strawberries and Chocolate Chip Spread
A Very Berry Unbirthday
Pickled Beet Deviled Eggs
- 2 beets, peeled and cut into fourths
- 1 c. vinegar
- 1 T. sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 c. mayonnaise
- salt & pepper
- To make the pickled beets: Mix 1 cup vinegar with 1 T. sugar, 2 t. salt, and 3 c. water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Add the beets and let cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Fill the mason jars half full with the pickled beets and liquid. Refrigerate until the liquid is cold.
- Make hard-boiled eggs: Place the eggs in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 12 minutes, then run the eggs under cold water.
- Place the eggs in the mason jars with the pickled beets. Make sure all of the eggs are covered with the liquid. Refrigerate overnight.
- To make the deviled eggs: Cut the eggs in half. Remove the yolks and place in a bowl. Mix with mayonnaise, and a dash of salt and pepper. Scoop the mayo-yolk filling back into the eggs. Sprinkle with paprika.
A very berry unbirthday cocktail
Muddle a handful of blueberries, 3 sliced strawberries, and 5 raspberries in a shaker. Add ice and 4 oz. vodka. Shake well. Fill 2 glasses with ice and add a splash of simple syrup in each. Pour the vodka into the glasses. Squeeze a lemon wedge over each glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a strawberry.
Mix 2 oz. rye whiskey, 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth, and a dash of cherry bitters in a glass with ice. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.