Sandra Lee Offers Her Tips for a Perfect Galentine's Day: 'I'm Down for Cocktails'

"I've been doing Galentine's Day gatherings with my friends for years now," Sandra Lee tells PEOPLE

Sandra Lee
Sandra Lee arrives at 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty

Sandra Lee loves a good party, and Galentine's Day is no different.

The Emmy winning celebrity chef and bestselling author has been known to throw a bash for the female friendship celebration, which started as a fictional holiday on Parks and Recreation but has had a lasting effect over the years.

"I've been doing Galentine's Day gatherings with my friends for years now," Lee tells PEOPLE. "I have a strong group of girlfriends and I love celebrating them any time I can, especially this time of year."

For Lee, any good event begins with its attendees. "You need a good guest list first, starting with a diverse group of women who really can foster good conversation," she says. "I try to really mix it up, and keep it fun."

The Semi-Homemade star then starts thinking about a menu. "I'll do something like a beautiful cold pasta, which you can easily heat up, or some kind of flavorful salad," she explains. "Meat sometimes can be a little heavy, so I'd choose something like salmon, a warm element you could layer on top of your cold salad."

sandra lee
Courtesy Sandra Lee

Of course, it's not a Lee party if it's not perfectly decorated. "You know I love a tablescape, so I try to make sure my tables are beautiful decorated with fresh flowers, nice linens, and beautiful cutlery," she explains.

Dessert is part of that. "You have to have a cake," the lifestyle icon adds. "I do love my tablescapes to have some edible component, so I'll put a beautiful cake on too. It's 2-for-1 — it's decor and dessert."

And then there's the drinks. While Martha Stewart may not be a fan of Ina Garten's "formula" of drinking more cosmos, Lee says "I'm more with Ina."

"I'm down for a few cocktails," she jokes. "Everyone has their own vices, Martha has her CBD, Ina and I have our drinks."

On her Galentine's Day menu, Lee says she likes to keep things to a small selection. "I'm really into espresso martinis, but I also like a great rosé sangria," she shares. "I think it's such a beautiful color for Valentine's, so that's probably what I'm going to be doing for my Galentine's Day party."

Lee won't just be celebrating Galentine's Day this year. Monday will mark Lee's first Valentine's Day with boyfriend Ben Youcef.

PEOPLE first confirmed that Lee, 55, and Youcef, 42, were dating back in August. The two have seen been "inseparable," as a source previously put it. And though Lee plays coy about their plans with PEOPLE, she says she's "very happy."

"I think my friends have been a little jealous cause I haven't been around as much," Lee admits. "This makes Galentine's Day even more important this year."

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