top tips from the PARTY PROS
Gina’s Red Carpet Cocktails
1½ cups vodka, chilled
1½ cups pomegranate juice, chilled
½ cup lime juice
1 bottle champagne or other sparkling white wine
Chilled maraschino cherries, for garnish
1. Add 1½ oz. vodka to each glass.
2. Top with 1½ oz. of the pomegranate juice and 1 tbsp. of lime juice.
3. Add the champagne or sparkling wine and a cherry to each glass for a sweet garnish.
the hors d’oeuvre
Devils on Horseback
24 large pitted prunes
½ lb. block blue cheese, cut into bite-size cubes
12 bacon slices, cut crosswise into thirds
2 tsp. smoked paprika Toothpicks, soaked in water for 20 minutes
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Stuff each prune with a cube of blue cheese. Wrap a piece of bacon around each prune, covering the cheese so it can’t escape once baked. Use the toothpick to secure the bacon.
3. Place the bacon-wrapped prunes on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack and sprinkle with smoked paprika.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp on middle oven rack. Let cool.
12 SECRETS TO A PERFECT PARTY
1. You cannot have enough platters. I love going to thrift stores to find retro stuff.
-IRON CHEF MICHAEL SYMON
2 Do not serve foods with ingredients like poppy seeds and broccoli. They can get stuck in guests’ teeth!
-FOOD NETWORK STAR INGRID HOFFMAN
3. Always have a backup appetizer. Buy a small tub of dip and a bunch of herbs so you can add a “fresh” herby element to the dip and get it out to guests quickly.
-CHEF ALEX GUARNASCHELLI
4 Change every lightbulb in your house to pink (bulbs.com). Pink makes us all look healthy and well.
-EVENT PLANNER BRYAN RAFANELLI
5. Serve two desserts at a dinner party: one decadent indulgence and a second, such as strawberries drizzled in dark chocolate, for weight-conscious guests.
-CHEF CURTIS STONE
6. For a clean, sophisticated look, birch branches in tall cylinder vases can be a gorgeous statement.
-PARTY PLANNER CHAD HUDSON
7 Set up food stations paired with a beverage, such as crudites and white wine, charcuterie and red wine or dessert and coffee.
-EVENT PLANNER COLIN COWIE
8. Keep the pantry stocked with apple cider and cinnamon sticks. An hour before guests arrive, boil cider, cinnamon and fresh orange slices. Serve with whipped cream.
-EVENT DESIGNER EDEN RODRIGUEZ
9 Decorate with an unusual flower like a white amaryllis. It will transform your home into a winter wonderland.
-PARTY PLANNER LAURIE ARONS
10. Don’t keep everyone seated for a long time. After dinner have dessert, coffee and after-dinner drinks elsewhere in the home.
-COOKBOOK AUTHOR JESSICA SEINFELD
11. Staggering small juice glasses filled with florals along the table creates a beautiful presentation.
-EVENT PLANNER LISA VORCE
12 Write the initials of your guests and the year with a metallic pen on plain, matte ornaments. They’ll be stunning seating cards and perfect keepsakes.
-EVENT PLANNER LADY LIBERTY
HOW TO SET UP THE BAR
1. Buy 1 lb. of ice per person
2. Have twice the number of glasses as you have guests
3. Don’t put the food table next to the bar area to avoid party traffic
-LEE SCHRAGER, BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL FOUNDER