1. Make a Punch. Punches are fantastic - they keep themselves cold and allow your guests to help themselves so you're not running around shaking cocktails for everyone all night. Also, everyone likes to flirt over a gorgeous punch bowl. Pro tip: spring for a vintage punch bowl for extra styling points.
Pomegranate Champagne Punch
2 bottles chilled champagne or sparkling white wine
1 1/2 c. Brugal white rum
1 1/4 c. pomegranate juice
1 c. Simple Syrup
1 lemon sliced
Fresh mint leaves
Ice block (freeze water in a large ziplock bag the night before)
Recipe modified from Bon App
2. Make a Cheese Plate. Everyone loves a good cheese plate - especially when you pick really delicious creamy cheeses. We always serve St. Agur and Delice which is a triple cream (read, heavenly). Pick up a few baguettes, a jar of savory cranberry jalapeno jam, and some curry cashews and you've got yourself one delightful spread.
3. Pick Stylish Platters. This might be a simple concept, but it often gets over looked. Have some nice platters on hand so when you put things out, they look nice and styled. These walnut trays by Teal and Gold with brass details will look significantly more handsome than your ikea plates, trust me.
4. Pick Delicious Booze. Always ask your guests to bring wine, and you select good spirits that will impress. White rum for the punch, anejo rum for sipping. We recommend Brugal 1888 for all lovers of brown spirits. It is double distilled and double aged, first in American oak barrels and then in sherry barrels. Sips like a bourbon but is sweeter and full of flavors of caramel, toffee, licorice, chocolate, and dried fruit.
5. Meat Pies. Party food should not mean a veggie tray from key foods, nor do you have to stress out about making a ten course gourmet meal for your guests. Order up some Nuchas Empanadas for your party - they come in a range of scrumptious flavors from Short Rib to Jambalaya to Shiitake Curry. We recommend 2-3 per person.
6. Accessorize! Quickly putting on some festive jewels is a great way to look holiday without wearing sequins head to toe (which is difficult to pull off when you're not on a red carpet). We are absolutely in love with the holiday 2012 collection by Wanderluster - our picks are the Smoketree Earrings and the Amargosa X Necklace.
7. Cocktail Ring. No Cocktail party is complete with out a statement cocktail ring. We are smitten with this vintage Jean Vendome tourmaline ring from the 1970s.
8. LBD (Little Black Dress). We love black dresses because you can wear them all year and they are versatile to wear to lots of different types of events. A black lace dress is great to dress up and dress down, perfect for cocktail parties or even work functions. This one is by Diane Von Furstenberg, one of our favorites.
9. Red Lipstick. Always. Why? Because you're the boss.
10. Wear Flats. One of the best party tips we've ever received is to be dressed 30 minutes before your guests arrive, and to put your shoes by the door. When the doorbell rings you can quickly slip into them and be ready to greet your guests. But we're going to take this a step further. Wear flats. Since you'll be running around all night, start out in flats so you're not forced to retire into your shearling slippers at 9 pm. (But if you do, make sure said slippers are black). We love these McQueen Silver Studded Flats with brass studs on the heels. Yes, please.
11. Retro Tunes. Why not break out your parents' record collection on a cool retro Crosley record player. Guests love picking out music to play, and you never know what treasures you'll find in that old stack of vinyl.
12. Boozy Ice Cream Floats. Hit two birds with one stone - dessert and night cap. We love to serve mini ice cream floats in shot glasses with vanilla ice cream, Patron XO Cafe Dark, and a bit of sparkling water. Prep a big tray early so they are quick and easy to serve!
Mini Boozy Floats
1 1/2 T. Patron XO Cafe Dark
6 t. Vanilla Ice cream
2 T. Soda Water