By Jill Di Donato
Holiday soiree season is almost upon us. Want to throw a memorable fête; who better to ask than Dita Von Teese?
The Cointreau brand ambassador, known for her elegant and sophisticated aesthetic, invited me into her kitchen (in a virtual event hosted by Cointreau) and shares hostess tips for throwing a stylish, chic party. Dita admits to being a DIY gal. So forget the caterers and planners. With a little foresight and a flair for impeccable manners of a bygone era, you too can be a hostess that offers guests the ultimate party experience.
Have a theme party – Sometimes, a fun theme is reason enough to have a party. Dita explains, “I like to have classes for my friends. So recently I invited all my girlfriends over and had a hula-hooping lesson here at my house.”
She also throws potluck parties with different themes for the food – such as brunch or Mexican food – with cocktails to match, of course. As she spends much of her time entertaining others, she loves to host “garden art parties,” where each guest brings an artistic endeavor to share at the party.
Batching cocktails – Instead of running back and forth to the kitchen making drinks for your guests all night, pre-batch your cocktails and serve them in beautiful carafes, or vintage punch bowls. They look beautiful and allow you, as the hostess, to spend time with your guests. Allow a cocktail per hour for each guest – No one wants to run out of spirits at a cocktail party.
Place cards – Use place cards to make your party feel intimate and guests feel special. Dita loves to put people together who don’t usually talk to one another.
Parting gifts – A small parting gift is serves as a nice memento of the evening. For cocktail parties, Dita loves to give guests handwritten recipe card of her signature cocktail.
Pay attention to lighting – “Lighting is a good place to start…to set the tone,” says Dita. She recommends using scented candles that “suit the season” or using dimmer switches where possible. Proper lighting can turn your home into a “lair of seduction.”
Use mixed barware – Don’t be afraid to use mixed or mismatched barware or glassware. Dita loves finding vintage glassware at flea markets and frequently uses it when entertaining. It’s another way for your guests to identify their glasses because each one is different. Dita’s favorite?1950s and 1960s barware, especially pieces with jeweled accents for holiday dazzle.
Vintage Vases in all rooms – Fresh cut flowers are an easy way to liven every room and set a sophisticated mood when placed in vintage vases. Don’t forget the powder room!
Keep it simple – Simplicity is the golden rule of entertaining. Dita explains, “The cocktails should be simple, all the food should be quite simple and that’s the key to having a good party that doesn’t make you frazzled.” Your guests don’t want to see you stress, but admire the intimacy of a DIY party. The key?
Prepare the food and cocktails yourself with simple and quality products. Fresh fruits make suburb garnishes and look beautiful displayed on the bar or cocktail buffet.
Infuse spice to a fruity liqueur by adding a jalapeno pepper to your favorite bottle. Skip the mixer and muddle fresh fruit, herbs like mint basil or rosemary and top off with carbonated water. Give a French twist to your favorite cocktail by serving it in a flute and topping it off with champagne.
Dita serves deviled eggs, which are always the first to go! Pair with
Cointreau Rickey using mixologist Kyle Ford’s easy recipe: 2 parts Cointreau; 1 part fresh lime juice; on the rocks & top with club soda; garnish with orange peel and lime twist.
Attire – When attending a party, Dita would much rather be overdressed than underdressed. “You never know who you’ll meet!” When she’s the hostess, she chooses the no-fuss glamour of 1930s and 40s, glamorous pajama gowns.