Black-Tie Cocktail Party
When guests show up in formal attire, it’s a shame to hide all that glamour behind a dinner table. A posh cocktail party is the perfect setting for revelers to mingle while showing off their swanky duds. Collin Hardy Duwe of Kehoe Designs (kehoedesigns.com) updates the traditional black-tie palette by adding an enlivening dash of canary yellow and mod accessories. “Yellow is a pop of color that’s really current, and we added some greenery since it’s the dead of winter,” he says. “Using color infuses a party with something different that makes it your own.” Duwe layers textures like the fuzzy green moss and smooth gold stones in the shadow boxes to create interest and drama. The whole vibe is sophisticated, colorful and fresh—a visual treat that’s a welcome contrast to the cold, gray weather outside.
Inspired by Kehoe’s theme, chef Mike Cisternino of Catering by Michaels (cateringbymichaels.com) created a scrumptious menu that’s also a feast for the eyes. His team chose items that add elegance and color to the buffet as well as being tasty and easy to eat. The Japanese soy marinated salmon—charmingly served in a votive holder—delivers entreeworthy complexity in a single bite. When planning a menu for a fancy party, “there are two ways to add impact,” says Cisternino. “You can either use high-end ingredients, or cut against the grain and pick lower-cost ingredients and present them in a high-end way.” This menu reflects both approaches, ranging from a lavish caviar bar to an artistic array of crostini topped with shaved Brussels sprouts, marinated carrots and honeycomb. Of course, no cocktail party is complete without something special to sip on. Bubbly is a must, but Cisternino recommends serving a signature drink, like his Sour Cherry Bourbon Mash. Greeting guests at the door with a passed cocktail makes everyone immediately feel festive and welcome (and eases the initial crush at the bar). What a great way to spread the spirit of the season. –MK
Caterer: Catering by Michaels Executive Chef
Event Planner: Kehoe Designs Event Producer
Collin Hardy Duwe