Love & Sex

Don Q’s Party Data – How do you host a successful holiday bash?

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Don Q has been distilling their delicious premium rum for decades – but only in Puerto Rico. But they’ve decided they just couldn’t possibly keep the US so deprived anymore, and are thankfully coming to our shores and our liquor cabinets. Now that they’re here, they’re not content to simply sell their wares – that would be enough, but they care more than that. They know that good drinks are only truly great when you’re having the time to match and company that’s as enjoyable as your mojito. In that spirit of generosity, they supplied all the alcohol for a recent house party in Brooklyn, and we knew it would be the perfect opportunity to not only give you a peek at the festivities, but also find out what the guests had to say about throwing a holiday bash, mixology, and creating the perfect look. Today we’re featuring Graham – the host – and asking him what goes in to ensuring you and your friends really raise the bar for New Year’s Eve.

What do you think is essential for a holiday party?

I would say the right drinks and definitely music. Music’s a big thing.

And what kind of music works best?

Well I think it’s gotta be…I prefer a dance-y playlist that sort of builds. You gotta start it off right, energetic, but you don’t want to blow your load too early.

So you need to plan it out, it can’t just be random?

Yeah. You gotta figure out how many hours it’s gonna go and be pretty calculated about it. It’s a science.

Did you decorate specially for the party?

Well, my brother works in lighting and film and TV, so he helped out with lighting, he always does. It sort of looks like this all the time though; we’re sort of in transition, kinda moving things around. So this is kind of a coming out party for my apartment. In a more solidified state.

So what would be some things you would really want if this had been a housewarming party?

We need ladles really badly. It’s hard to ladle things with serving spoons, it turns out.

And what do you think is required of a good host?

To be a good host… I think you have to have the right ratios of things, drinks and food and music. Plan the times right. You have to figure out what kind of party you want to have. If you want to be a drag-out rager, or if you want it to be a dinner party. Obviously most people want it somewhere in between, so I think it’s important to figure out what your friends want to do at that given moment. And because it’s Christmas season, they just wanted to drink a lot while they’re wearing sweaters. And I provide that.

And what did you think about as far as the food?

I wanted it to be simple for me to do, but have a little bit of panache. Like, I did a bacon-wrapped fig. Something like that which is kind of a crowd pleaser and seasonal. I think food that seems a little special but is kind of easy.

How close should you stay to a theme for a holiday party?

I think when it all comes down to it, parties are sort of similar. A good party. I like some dancing, mingling. In a way they all breakdown into the same elements. Maybe it’s more superficial, but it’s good to change it up and feel like you’re doing different things.

How long before tonight did you start planning?

Well I think – about invites – it’s important not to do it too early, like some people want to get you two months before and you totally forget. I tend to go on the later side of things, and just rely on my charm and my magnetic draw. And also, the fact that I don’t have many parties. You can’t over saturate them, like, "Oh, I can’t go to Graham’s again." You need to pick your moments, pick your friends right.

And what’s your preferred mode of invite?

I guess I’m kind of a luddite, because I don’t have Facebook. So I go with straight email, which turns out works fine, with a text follow-up maybe, just to make them feel special. You can’t just blast them. Maybe a personal email to go along with a mass email. It’s all about making people feel like they’re important when they’re actually not at all. Whatsoever.