• Image about Colin Cowie
©Colin Miller (2)

Colin Cowie (colincowie.com) is known for orchestrating some of the world’s most elegant and elaborate parties and has penned more than eight books on the subject. We asked the celebrated lifestyle expert for some tips on how to throw the perfect party this holiday season.

WHAT’S THE SECRET TO THROWING A GREAT PARTY AT HOME?
An unflappable entertainer is one who has basically done as much preparation in advance as possible; the bar is set up and the food is laid out before the guests arrive so the host can concentrate on being a relaxed, charming host.
  • Image about Colin Cowie
©Colin Miller (2)

SHOULD I SERVE DINNER, OR ARE COCKTAILS ENOUGH?
The key is to look at how much space you have to work with. During the holidays, an open-house cocktail party is a great way to go because guests may have other parties to attend that same night. In these tough economic times it also costs less money because you don’t have to entertain for six or eight hours. This allows you to see a larger group of people in a smaller amount of time.

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE?
You certainly don’t have to chop, dice, and peel it all yourself. If you’re not handy in the kitchen, you can go to your favorite restaurant and have things prepared, or hire a caterer. I like the idea of various stations around the room where you pair different foods with a different beverage. For instance, you could do a salmon station with frozen vodka, or a cheese buffet with a nice port. I also love the idea of a cocktail du jour. Red and white wine and champagne is so proverbial, why not serve a good well-loaded cocktail to jump-start the night? It doesn’t have to be a vodka drink. For me, tequila is the new vodka.