I am about to give you three reasons why sliders are the best way to start off a cocktail hour.

1. They remind everyone of the party ahead, because they are traditionally bar food.
2. They are bite-sized for those who don’t want to eat too much but still need a good base.
3. Each one can have its own cocktail. Who doesn’t love food that has its own cocktail pairing?

Now, time to get adventurous. Skip the traditional hamburger-slider and replace it with these 3 slider ideas, satisfaction guaranteed.

1. Meatball

Photo by Alia Wilhelm

Meatballs are already the perfect size for a slider and for a bite with a cocktail, so why not put them on a stick or in a bun and serve? The meat can speak for itself in these sliders so let them do the talking with a simple tomato sauce and a piece of melted mozzarella cheese on top. For an extensive recipe, see next week’s follow-up article.

Best Cocktail Pairing: Martini

Photo courtesy of Applebee’s

2. Crabcake

Photo by Alex Vu

Just make sure the crabcake you made is mini enough to be called a slider and stick it some delicious hawaiian rolls. This seems a lot more impressive than it actually is, because you can even buy pre-made cakes nowadays and just pan fry them. Be sure to make your own horseradish aioli or buy some tartar sauce and cut up big chunks of celery and cucumber into the sauce.

Best Cocktail Pairing: Mint Julep

Photo by Hannah Lin

3. Pulled Pork 

Photo by Dan Dao

You know this old classic in bar-b-que sauce but you haven’t tried as a salsa verde slider. Take some pork loin and let it cook in the crock-pot for 8 hours with a can of Trader Joe’s salsa verde, and you have some delicious, shredded pork. Personally, I like to offset the spice with some mango chutney and cilantro inside a small ciabatta roll. Add a tomato or a cucumber for extra crunch and some shredded cheese on top, just to match the meat.

Best Cocktail Pairing: Manhattan

Photo by Daniel Schuleman


Check out more recipes/ideas for your party below:

1. Meatball Sliders
2. Party Food
3. 5 Ways to Drink on a Diet