Planning a cocktail party – even if just for the family bubble – for the Christmas (opens in new tab) holidays and need to get things organized to ensure it runs smoothly?
Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin – the genius team behind The Home Edit (opens in new tab) – know a thing or two about organization. When they're not singing the praises of the humble perspex storage box (opens in new tab), or decluttering the homes of clients like Kim Kardashian and Reese Witherspoon, they're sharing their neat and tidy ideas on their very own Netflix (opens in new tab) show.
Thankfully, their words of wisdom are not just reserved for the rich and famous - Clea and Joanna have kindly shared their top tips and hacks for hosting the perfect party this holiday season.
In association with Cointreau (opens in new tab), the Nashville-based duo have applied their stylish and methodical minds to the usually messy business of parties, and come up with invaluable advice to see you through a super-organised get-together.
So whether you're just celebrating with close family this Christmas, planning a socially-distanced gathering with friends or just keeping it 'virtual', read on for instant inspiration!
1. Keep a well-stocked bar cart
'Nothing simplifies holiday hosting more than a bar cart,' says Clea. 'When guests can serve themselves all night, everyone wins! We recommend a bar cart on wheels, which allows it to move where the party moves and then back to the kitchen when items need replenishing.'
Don't just move the contents from your drinks cabinet out onto the cart - plan exactly what you need for the evening, from the alcohol to the mixers and garnishes.
'Three staples our bar cart always has?', she offers. 'A bottle of Cointreau, a base spirit like vodka and fresh fruit.'
- If you're looking for some Christmas dining room inspiration (opens in new tab), we have you covered
2. Mix it up with some cool cocktails
'Create a signature cocktail for the night, display the recipe and invite your guests to channel their inner mixologist,' suggest Joanna. 'Set up all the ingredients ahead of time, including an ice bucket, and any garnishes, glasses, and tools that are needed.'
'We also suggest prepping a batch ahead of time and welcoming guests with the cocktail as they arrive,' she adds. 'Set up an area in the main entertaining space with a screen - either a tablet or laptop - to make your virtual guests still feel a part of the festivities.'
Need some cocktail inspiration? This recipe for a Winter Sangria makes the ideal 'here's one I made earlier' drink as it can be prepared well in advance of a party. Simply mix 1 cup of Cointreau, a bottle of dry red wine, 1/3 cup of brandy and a handful each of orange, apple and lime slices. Let it sit overnight in the fridge, then serve on ice with a spring of rosemary as a garnish.
3. Style your space
'When it comes to styling your bar cart, stick to the same color palette as your signature cocktail,' suggests Clea. 'Incorporate items such as linen napkins, colored straws, garlands, candles and decorative glassware.'
As a bar cart has limited surface space, making use of different levels and height will give you more room to display everything.
Clea suggests to: 'Utilize risers and turntables on the bar cart to maximize space and provide easier accessibility, while also creating some depth and height.'
'It’s best to also think about the cocktails your guests will make and the steps that go into it, ensuring the set-up provides a seamless flow.' says Clea. 'You could create small cards to place throughout the cart, walking guests through each step.'
'Going the extra mile with your bar cart allows for a fun and unique focal point in the room and it also makes for a great Instagrammable moment,' she adds.
4. Serve a festive menu
'When cocktails are involved, light snacks should be, too,' insists Joanna. 'You can never go wrong with some hors d’oeuvres that are assembly-only, such as a charcuterie board! Mix it up with a variety of nuts, cheeses, crackers, dried or fresh fruit, honey or jams and more.'
'We love creating these large boards and platters for parties as they cater to a variety of taste buds,' she says, 'and you can really tailor the board to complement your holiday cocktail offerings.'
5. Have a go-to holiday gift ready
'Through the years,' Clea says, 'we have found that it’s a game-changer to have a go-to holiday giftable on hand at home and to keep a few ready to gift whenever and wherever you need.'
'One of our favorite gifts is a chic cocktail kit that has everything you need to make a classic Cosmopolitan or an original Margarita - a bottle of Cointreau, a bottle of vodka or tequila, cranberry or lime juice, salt, recipe cards, a shaker and a citrus squeezer.'
'You really can’t go wrong with a beautifully curated cocktail kit,' she says 'and if you are really feeling creative, you can customize these with fun gift boxes, baskets and holiday cards too.'
- Need some more holiday gift inspiration? Take a look at these gorgeous gift ideas (opens in new tab)
Ginevra Benedetti is Associate Editor on the Homes Content Team at Future. She has been writing about interiors for the past 16 years on the majority of Britain’s monthly interiors titles, such as Ideal Home, Country Homes & Interiors and Style at Home, as well as Livingetc and of course, Homes & Gardens. This naturally lead her into writing for websites like HomesandGardens.com.
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