The other night, my friend Odette and I co-hosted a small drinks party, and five fun things from the night stood out. I wanted to share them with you…
1. Decorate with branches. How lovely are these sculptural branches on Odette’s kitchen counter? Branches pack such a big punch, despite being less expensive than fresh flowers. Plus you can find them at any bodega or Trader Joe’s.
2. Consider bringing a signature cocktail. We emailed an invitation asking everyone to “please bring a drink to share,” and most of us brought wine, which was great. But when Jenny and her husband Andy walked in, they brought out a bottle of homemade Hemingway cocktails. People actually shrieked; it felt so cool and fun. “This drink seemed batchable,” Jenny told me afterward. “And I LOVE grapefruit. We have Trader Joe’s grapefruit juice in the fridge year-round, but we squeezed fresh ones for this recipe. Grapefruit juice is so refreshing without being cloying.”
3. Wear a T-shirt. The best thing about drinks parties is that they’re zero pressure. At a cocktail party, you often dress up; at a dinner party, you have to arrive on time and stay til the very end. But a drinks party is nothing if not chill. I loved that Eric wore a Jaws tee, and I just pulled on a sweater and jeans.
4. Have a group moment. Ok, hear me out: I’m a huge believer that a party feels extra fun if everyone comes together for a few minutes — with, say, a toast or game or activity. It breaks the ice and makes the party feel like a cohesive group experience, versus a bunch of people just being in the same room at the same time. At Odette’s house, we asked everyone to go around in a circle and tell us one of two things: either the best meal of their life or their irrational fear. It was very, very funny and entertaining to hear people’s answers, and everyone seemed extra lovable.
5. Serve something warm near the end. Before the guests arrived, Odette and I set out a spread on her counter — cheese, hummus and pita, olives, etc. And everyone was enjoying munching on them. But toward the end of the night, Odette casually pulled out a spanakopita from the oven. (!!!) It was warm and delicious and felt like the biggest treat. The next day, Jenny and I were debriefing over text, and she wrote: “The food situation was so great. Like a bunch of snacks, and then suddenly a beautiful large-format thing appears freshly baked.” My sister sometimes does this with pigs in blankets, too. #bookmarking
Of course, none of these things are necessary, but they were fun little delights. What do you enjoy doing or eating at parties? I would love to hear…
P.S. More entertaining ideas, including three strategic starters for a dinner party and a cookie swap.