8 Tips to Achieving a Unique Soirée Slideshow
November 16, 2012
New Yorkers are concerned about having an event that feels unique and unlike any other New York event they have attended, so consequently we have done untold numbers of events with tweaks and twists to give them a special feel and set them apart from other local events. One thing we have been doing is cocktail pairing, much the same way as wine is paired to each course. It’s distinctive, a fun way to dine, and can be a great way to incorporate some interesting and beautiful glassware. Pairing can be as simple as matching cuisine elements with spirit origins, such as sake-based cocktails with Japanese cuisine, tequila with any Mexican-inspired meal, and brandy cocktails with French gastronomy, or, one can highlight flavors by contrast, pairing things like a spicy Asian entrée with a light, airy, refreshing cocktail. Even a wine spritzer can work beautifully!
The most successful pairings are also the ones that feel the most logical: a dry gin-based cocktail with meats, vodka-based cocktails with poultry, and sweeter ones (think French martini) for desserts.
Serve Palate Cleansers After Dinner
Butler a variety of palate-cleansing sorbets, such as champagne, calvados, and limoncello immediately following your dinner party. Guests can then continue on with their conversations or linger over another cocktail, keeping the flow of the evening organic and intact.
Create a First-Course Buffet
Whether you serve it in a martini glass or on a small plate, and whether you feature one salad or several to choose from, the guests will surely enjoy being able to chat a bit more before sitting for the entrée. For a recent dinner, we served salads in martini glasses with small forks. Some great ideas for beautiful salads are Israeli couscous with grilled vegetable ragout and feta, chicken taco salad, and mixed greens with an American honey and red wine vinaigrette.
Taste is Paramount
Creating a beautiful meal with the freshest and best ingredients is the start to making a meal stand out. Raves from guests saying it is the best meal they have ever had is not uncommon, but we work hard to make sure that the meal is striking in other ways as well. Assigning meaning to the meal is one way to ensure that it will be noticed and remembered above and beyond exceptional taste. One way to do this is by incorporating childhood favorites. For one dessert, we created a buffet of Jell-O 1-2-3, orange snowballs, champagne and pear aspic, popcorn balls, grapenut custard, oatmeal parfait, and butterscotch dumplings.
Use a variety of wrapped boxes, place different favors in different colored boxes, and let guests choose. One idea is to make the host's favorite sweets, including old-fashioned lemon bars, chewy crispy chocolate chip cookies, ganache-iced toffee brownies, and sugar-crusted shortbread. Then, wrap up just one kind of dessert in each box. Guests won't be able to wait and open their favors as they are leaving. You can also have fun watching them look at what everyone else got and then watch as they trade to get their favorite treats!
A Combination of Sweet and Savory Foods
They continue to be all the rage, and we continue to hear rave reviews for things like our cured Atlantic salmon with gooseberry gelée, tarragon essence, micro beet greens, salted macadamia cookie crisp, savory ice-cream, and savory macaroons (with fillings such as truffled foie gras and sesame hummus).
What to Wear?
It's easy to figure out what staff should wear for a formal New Year's Eve party. However, when the host wants a setting that is more casual and festive, but of course in good taste, "what to wear" becomes a bit tricky. We solved the dilemma with a classic bowtie, but you can opt for different colored bowties on a black shirt for a unified, whimsical look. .
Don't forget the ceiling!
When decorating a room that will hold many guests during your dinner event, lots of décor may get covered up as soon as the room gets crowded, and it can get crowded quickly! So don’t forget to decorate the spaces that guests will see… like the ceiling. For example, lighting to evoke fall branches was projected onto a white ceiling for a fall-themed event, an eye-catching technique that is relatively inexpensive.