Better red than dead!
September 27, 2006 12:16 AM   Subscribe

I would like to throw a red-themed party. Help me come up with some ideas for food, decorations and debauchery!

I have decided to throw a "red party". The occasion is tri-fold:
- I like themed parties but never had one. Color themes are fun. For this one, my requirement is that everyone comes wearing at least something red - the more the better.
- I am Russian by birth, and have received more than my fair share of russian/commie jokes from friends. Now it's time to play off the theme.
- I am temporarily moving to China for a job within a month - yet another tie-in to the commie red stereotype.

As I mentioned, I will be asking everyone to come wearing red. My place is not particularly red-themed, but I will try to find a couple of soviet propaganda type posters to hang. Here is where I would love some input:
- What red drinks can I serve? Red margaritas, bloody marys and vodka-cranberries come to mind, but more suggestions are welcome.
- What foods are red? I am really awful in the kitchen, so I will probably be buying most things. So far random thoughts have included strawberries and the like, red salsa and chips, red cupcakes, red jello... and well, that's about all
- Any ideas for decorations or anything else pertaining to pulling off this effort?

Logistics: I will probably have about 25 people packed in a 2 bd apartment. Many of them will not know each other (different circles) but I expect conversations to form naturally. I just want to give the whole experience a red theme, and let it go at its own pace.

posted by blindcarboncopy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (35 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Red cake. Red punch. But don't bill it as a Red Party.
posted by paulsc at 12:40 AM on September 27, 2006

I was once invited to a "blue" party, and while I wasn't able to attend, I thought the invitations were incredibly cute. The hostess had gone to the paint section of a store, picked out tons of blueish swatches, and constructed the covers and insides of her invites with them. It was super crafty, DIY, and charming, in my opinion.
posted by Famous at 12:44 AM on September 27, 2006

Pizza is red. :o
posted by aubilenon at 12:47 AM on September 27, 2006

A Google Image Search for "red food" found this interesting book. Maybe a local library may have a copy?

Other interesting red foods kicked up in the search:

* Lobster/prawns
* Red M&Ms
* Chilli/capsicum/peppers
* Candy apples

The other Google search I did was "are you now, or have you ever been", but apart from an Angel episode I already knew about and this small image of a poster it didn't kick up anything all that interesting.
posted by krisjohn at 12:58 AM on September 27, 2006

Best answer: Fruit: Some Cherries
Some apples
Some peaches.

Vegetables: Some tomatoes.
Red peppers (not hot ones, related to green peppers)
Hot red peppers

Meat: Ham, depending on your definition of 'red'.
Some of the more processed sausages out there.
Steak Tartare
Raw tuna

Bread, cookies, cakes, chips: These can be made with red food dye, if you're cooking from scratch.
Sometimes you can find red tortilla chips.
Ketchup chips

Dishes: Chili
Pizza, with the sauce on top.
Lasagna, pasta, baked ziti, essentially any Italian dish with a red tomato sauce. Just have the sauce on top.

Other: Some cheese has a red rind on it.
Red Kool-Aid
Cherry Soda (Not Cherry Coke)
Lots of Christmas candy is red.
Berry/cranberry juices

Have fun!
posted by spinifex23 at 1:13 AM on September 27, 2006

Lemonade + Red Cordial (The more expensive sort) + Vodka (optional but HIGHLY recommended) = FIRE ENGINES
posted by cholly at 1:24 AM on September 27, 2006

And you call yourself a Russian! How could you overlook the most obvious dish: борщ со сметаной*?
*borscht with sour cream
posted by rob511 at 1:33 AM on September 27, 2006

Best answer: Sharon's Sherry Cherry Jello

This is something I've made for many parties and it's always a big hit. (Sharon is my Mom.) You need:
  • two small packages of jello or one big one, cherry or, if you can find it, preferably Jello Wild Cherry
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sherry (depending on how alcoholic you want it, and how long you have to let it set - I prefer 1/4 cup but have had 1/2 cup turn out fine, it adds about two hours to the time it takes to set)
  • a bottle of red sour pitted cherries (NOT maraschino cherries!) - canned red sour pitted cherries are acceptable if you can't find the bottled kind
Drain the cherries (retain the juice for something else - it's nice in punch, or you can use it in place of water in a white cake mix recipe). Pour them out of the jar onto a plate and individually smush them all with a spoon to make sure they are really pitted (I generally find one or two that haven't been, and you don't want to choke your drunks, so it's best to check). Put them back in the jar and add the sherry. Let sit for at least an hour; overnight is better if you have time.

Put the cherries with the sherry in a glass mixing bowl (you could also use a jello mold, but drunk people tend to try to stop the jello from shaking by putting their hands on the side of it, so I prefer the bowl for parties).

Make the jello according to the package directions, with the same amount of hold water as they call for, but with 1/4-1/2 cup less cold water (the sherry is replacing it). Pour the hot jello over the cherries. Stir so cherries are roughly evenly distributed (they will sink the bottom).

Chill at least four hours. You can make this the day before and just leave it in the fridge - put plastic wrap over the top of it so it doesn't get anything dripped on it.

(This also makes a lovely trifle if you have some angel food cake squares to put on the bottom of the bowl under the cherries. When I make it as a trifle, I serve it with real whipped cream.)
posted by joannemerriam at 6:22 AM on September 27, 2006

(If you get canned cherries, don't put them back in the can with the sherry - use some other container.)
posted by joannemerriam at 6:23 AM on September 27, 2006

Man. hold water = hot water
posted by joannemerriam at 6:24 AM on September 27, 2006

Another jello recipe:
Buy 2 packs of black cherry jello. For the hot water, use half the recommended package amount. Subsitute wine (red or white) for the rest of the water. Pour onto baking sheets (the kind with an raised edge, not the flat cookie variety). Once the wine jello is set, cut them up and you have - wait for it -

Red Squares
posted by jaimystery at 6:44 AM on September 27, 2006

if you don't make red velvet cake, this party will be incomplete.
posted by theantikitty at 6:54 AM on September 27, 2006

Keep in mind that the more food you serve with added dyes, the more likely are your guests to encounter red poops the next day. Not that that would be likely to cause panic - they'd know what they'd eaten - but I dunno if I'd want my party to be remembered by everyone as "oh yeah, remember that time we all pooped bright red."

Having some food coloring in some foods shouldn't be a problem - but it takes quite a lot to coax food all the way to red. A batch of pink frosting takes only a few drops; one red velvet cake takes (in the three recipes I just looked up) a quarter cup , or two entire one-ounce bottles, of food coloring. I know, thankfully from other people's experiences, that red vevet cake brings the badness. I'd stay with the natural foods where you can.
posted by jessicapierce at 6:59 AM on September 27, 2006

Red light bulbs/twinkle lights will drench your pad in red. Use red wrapping paper on the front door. Plus this would be an excellent time to look for Xmas decorations that may be on sale at those sad looking "Xmas in July" kind of stores. Oh, and of course sever some RedBull.
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:05 AM on September 27, 2006

A big bag of cochineal! Yeah, ok, so you probably won't be able to get them.

How about a few copies of "Red is Best" for door prizes?
posted by GuyZero at 7:30 AM on September 27, 2006

Pen and Teller made a neat Jello mold shaped liked a red heart and then concealed a bag of red dyed corn syrup inside. when you cut the jello heart, it gushs blood. very red, and very creepy
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:41 AM on September 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

I went to a party in which the ceiling of one room was completely covered with red balloons on red strings. It was an impressive sight and fun to watch the balloons migrate throughout the house as the party-goers stirred them up.
posted by peeedro at 7:53 AM on September 27, 2006

You may have already thought of this, but a few red light bulbs (or strings of red lights) will do wonders for atmosphere.
posted by hermitosis at 8:06 AM on September 27, 2006

Best answer: We had a red "Communist Party" one time, where everyone was required to bring a fifth of liquor or a comparable amount of decent beer. We provided a bunch of mixers, and then set it all out on a big table, and everything became communal property.

Encourage people to be creative in their choices, and you can mix up a variety of cool and unusual drinks (and some that should more properly be referred to as "concoctions")
posted by chrisamiller at 8:09 AM on September 27, 2006

You must play some Red Elvises.
posted by Soliloquy at 8:22 AM on September 27, 2006

posted by Soliloquy at 8:22 AM on September 27, 2006

Pomegranates are red and are in season. You can also buy pomegranate juice.
posted by onhazier at 8:28 AM on September 27, 2006

Drinks: Pomegranate Margaritas? Or Pomegranate martinis? Pomegranate juice isn't cheap, but it's a nice change from strawberry daiquiris or whatever.
Or better yet, sangria! It's red and festive.

Food: Chorizo?
Some kind of roasted red pepper dip?

Good luck!
posted by SoftRain at 8:36 AM on September 27, 2006

(Um, oops... could someone delete my stray percent sign please? Sorry.)
posted by Soliloquy at 8:45 AM on September 27, 2006

one red velvet cake takes (in the three recipes I just looked up) a quarter cup , or two entire one-ounce bottles, of food coloring

That's why you go to a specialty store and get pigment, which is professional-grade.

I can't believe that no one has suggested earning red wings at this party...

posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:14 AM on September 27, 2006

I can't believe it. I have a 'Communist Party' planned for around Halloween.

Jessicapierce has a point, but it's not just artificial colors - beets have the same effect on a certain percent of the population. That being said, beet chips (in the 'healthy' part of the supermarket) are delicious and dark red.

The Indian place around here does what I think is a Tandoori or possibly a butter chicken that is bright red on the outside. You could probably do one of those with wings for slightly easier eating, or boneless on skewers.

DNAB is right; if you do go for a large amount of cake frosting or a red velvet cake, go to a store with a Wilton's section (some large craft and party stores have them) and get the paste colorant. They also make a 'no taste red' which has less flavor associated with it.
posted by cobaltnine at 9:18 AM on September 27, 2006

Faygo Red Pop (warning, evil Flash site). Red LCD rope lights (Home Depot usually carries them). Coke cans are red, bonus points if you can get cans that use Cyrillic or are in Chinese.

Play Pin the Wheel on the Little Red Corvette, with Prince soundtrack?

I would be tempted, were I invited, to intensionally misread 'red the colour' as 'past participle of to read', and come as something bookish, but I'm strange that way.
posted by QIbHom at 9:23 AM on September 27, 2006

Serve shot glasses of gazpacho as appetizers.
posted by Sara Anne at 9:25 AM on September 27, 2006

Don't forget easy and obvious red candies: Red M&MS, red twizzlers or licorice whips, cinnamon red hots.

Second cobaltnine on choosing your red food colorings carefully.
posted by whatzit at 9:46 AM on September 27, 2006

Blue steak is red. You can always cook it more for the queasy.
Excellent with red wine.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:02 AM on September 27, 2006

You can buy bags of just red M&Ms on the website - and I noticed a store here in NYC has them separated into bins by color. Maybe you can find something similar. I did that for a blue party and it looked great.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:02 AM on September 27, 2006

Where do you live, cuz I wanna come to your party! It sounds like a lot of fun and I do so looooove the color red. If you live where there is a large Chinese community, you can get lots of really deep red decorations from Chinese stores -- red lanterns, red candles, red party favors....
posted by Lockjaw at 11:16 AM on September 27, 2006

Vodka & Red Bull!
posted by witchstone at 11:53 AM on September 27, 2006

You can buy lots of cheap red asian stuff at Pearl River!
posted by echo0720 at 1:08 PM on September 27, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the excellent suggestions! Lots of great ideas to mull over...
posted by blindcarboncopy at 9:47 AM on September 28, 2006

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