Whenever I think about throwing a dinner party I always feel as though it might be too much work, I should save it for the holidays, or I am being too old fashioned. Well, actually, none of those are correct.
My mom was a 1960′s Mad Men housewife. She belonged to a gourmet club where five couples would rotate as hosts, the wives would pull out their best recipes, and each would contribute something to their elegant at-home dinner parties. She was amazingly organized, and even had a party planner diary. Things have changed, of course, but what she taught me remains true today.
Here are the top eight tips she taught me on how to throw a fabulous dinner party:
1. When: Anytime you want
2. Guest List: Make up your guest list and get those invites out. Emailing them is not only perfectly acceptable, but will save you time, energy, money and is cutting edge ‘green’. Ask as many people as you can seat, and don’t be afraid to pull in more tables! Cozy is a good thing!
3. Hire the Staff: Doesn’t that sound totally ostentatious? Well, it’s not as snobby as it sounds. If you want to have fun at your own party, stick a crowbar in your wallet and splurge for two people to help for that night. One in the kitchen and one to serve. YES, they can be high school or college kids for $8 to $10 an hour. You will have them for a whomping 4 hours – ummm $80. Not so unachievable now, is it?
4. The Music: Plan ahead on this one. Make sure your playlist has the right mood music for your theme –a little Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles or Mariachi tunes. You chose. It’s your party!
5. The Drinks Menu: Yes this is very, very, very important. Greet your guests at the door with this drink,The Silver Dollar, created by The Daily Basics’ Mixologist, Warren Bobrow (recipe below). Choose your wines to coordinate with your menu. If you don’t know what to get, ask for suggestions from your local wine merchant.
THE SILVER DOLLAR
3 shots of Milagro Silver tequila
½ shot of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth (or your choice)
¼ cup equal parts freshly squeezed (essential!) lime, grapefruit and lemon juices
1 dash Bitter End Thai Bitters
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled ½ with whole ice cubes. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass with one large ice cube- garnish w/a maraschino cherry and a sprig of crushed spearmint.
6. The Menu: It doesn’t have to be like the ’60s when everything was made with Bisquick or you served a cassarole – you can plan menu you’d like. With all of the food blogs available, you can find virtually anything…or anything virtually. The easiest, most practical, and most interesting meal to plan is to have everyone bring something – you know, a good ol’ pot luck supper. Pick a theme: Italian, French, American, or how about Irish for the upcoming St. Patty’s Day? You, the hostess, can set the table, supply the wine and prepare one dish.