5 Springtime Appetizers and Cocktails

With the spring comes the beautiful warm weather and of course the temptation for impromptu get-togethers to bask in it. But as a host (or hostess), the last thing you want to worry about is a long menu or recipes that will take your focus away from your guests and enjoying the sunny afternoon or clear crisp night. That's why the best party dishes are the ones you can whip up in no time.

So we've gathered five of our favorite fun and fast appetizers to help you entertain guests for a last-minute cocktail party. But what would a cocktail party be without the cocktails? So we've paired each one of our appetizers with a fresh springtime cocktail that is sure to get your guests talking.

Check out our picks for great springtime appetizer and cocktail pairings...

Sea Scallop Ceviche

Ceviche is a great option for a quick and easy appetizer. This traditional Latin dish consists of raw fish that is marinated in citrus juices that in turn cook the fish but leaves its texture light and supple. Scallops are always tasty in a ceviche and this recipe in particular the extra kick of the jalapeno chile will certainly turn up the heat at your shindig.

Check out the recipe here.

...pair this with a Blood Orange Margarita

To add even more freshness and acidic vibrancy pair the Sea Scallop Ceviche with this Blood Orange Margarita. You might still be able to find some late winter blood oranges at the market and in case you do, pick some up for this recipe. Everyone loves a good margarita and one with blood orange juice is only a plus!

Get the recipe here.

Tuna Tartare with Potato Pancakes

While both Chanukah and Passover have, well... passed, latkes are still an easy flour-less (and gluten-free) appetizer that can be whipped up in minutes. The tune tartare that sits on the pancake adds the freshness of spring and is just as fast to prepare as the latkes.

Click here to watch how to make this. 

...pair this with a Basil Gimlet

Here's a look at a retro cocktail, the Gimlet, with a little modern herbal twist- the Basil Gimlet. In this recipe, the cool lime complements the peppery basil for a Gimlet like no other. It's a nice stiff drink to a light and airy tartare and pancake.

Check out the recipe here.

Prosciutto Date Cigars

If you want a fast and easy recipe, it doesn't get any simpler than this. Prosciutto is a fabulous ingredient to work with, especially in appetizers since it packs a lot of flavor in just one ingredient. The cigar presentation will also impress your guests.

Watch just how easy it is to make here.

...pair this with a Campari Spritzer

As the weather heats up, a spritzer is the ideal way to cool off. Italians drink it like iced tea, because it is as refreshing and reviving. You can make it as strong or weak as you like, and you can use Aperol or Campari depending on your taste.

Check out the recipe here. 

Chicken Stuffed Tostones

Tostones are a Latin go-to for a quick dish. A tostone is smashed and fried green plantain and when topped with a savory filling like chicken and peppers, it's like a Caribbean dream come true! Trust us you'll be glad to have this easy appetizer in your arsenal for the future!

Click here for the recipe.

...pair this with a Sake Champagne Mojito

"Sake Champagne Mojito?," you may be asking? Don't worry it's not as intense as it may sound. It takes the best of each drink element and puts it together for a crisp and refreshing cocktail that you'll make over and over again.

Check out the recipe here. 

Paprika Fried Manchego Cheese Slices

The ultimate appetizers are definitely Spanish Tapas. Manchego is cheese very widely used in Spanish cooking and this recipe spices up that very cheese with the added kick of paprika. This recipe uses a basic breading batter, that would taste great on sliced zucchini, cherry tomatoes, or calamari, too!

Click here for the recipe.

...pair this with a White Sangria Sparkler

When talking Spanish tapas, the only fitting drink is a good Sangria! Try this White Sangria Sparkler on for size. Just the sight of the floating fruit in this Sangria, will have your guests raving before they even try it!

Check out the recipe here. 

For more great entertaining tips, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)