New This Month

It’s Cocktail O’Clock!

Whether you're planning a New Year's Eve bash or just a fun get-together with friends, we’ve got the guys for you -- Patrick Janelle, the Instagram phenom behind A Guy Named Patrick, and his partner in cocktails and revelry, Maxwell Britten. Their winning party recipe: Take traditions of the past, add a splash of fresh style, and mix well.

What happens when an Instagram star known for his impeccable taste and a master mixologist plan a party together? A swinging soirée where the cocktails are bracing, the appetizers are bountiful, and the crowd shows up ready to party like it’s 1959. At least, that was the result of our collaboration with Patrick Janelle -- who currently has more than 400,000 followers under his handle, @aguynamedpatrick -- and Maxwell Britten, who created the bar program at Maison Premiere, Brooklyn’s James Beard Award-winning oyster-and-drinks lounge.

The duo (along with Janelle’s two brothers) are also the brains behind the Liquor Cabinet, a new app that provides classic cocktail recipes, as well as a catalog of the best modern-day booze with which to make them. In other words, they’re a certified drinks dream team -- and the ideal pair to plan a splashy holiday get-together.

Among their key tips: Set the tone from the get-go, starting with your invitation. As Janelle puts it, “give guests just enough information that they know what vibe to expect.” For this soiree, he invited friends via email to “wear something sparkly and come for a cocktail.”

When planning the menu, the pair took cues from personal traditions. Britten, who grew up in Tucson, Arizona, borrowed flavors from his father’s yearly seafood-centric Christmas Eve party. And Janelle paid homage to his family’s annual New Year’s Eve gathering in Fort Collins, Colorado, which was “the one time of year my mom pulled out her fondue set,” he says. His reinterpretation: fondue as finger food, in the form of melted cheese bites served in bread cups.

Letting guests in on the action is another signature strategy. This might mean a “choose your own adventure” martini cart (as Britten describes it), or a crowd-sourced playlist. “As guests walk in, they can put a favorite on Spotify, nouveau-jukebox style,” suggests Janelle.

But the number-one rule? “A party is about having fun,” Janelle says. “Things will go wrong; just roll with the punches.” Or, in this case, the punch bowl.

With a Twist

For some retro-modern flair, our hosts created a Champagne fizz, left and top, as an update on the classic sparkling cocktail. Instead of a bitters-saturated sugar cube, pour bubbly over a piece of candied ginger soaked in angostura bitters.

 

THE DETAILS: Zara Frilled Shiny dress, $50, zara.com (above). Oscar de la Renta black oval stone accent ring, $290, lordandtaylor.com. Oscar de la Renta crystal firework ring, $265, oscardelarenta.com. Reiss Ancona clutch, $240, reiss.com.

Play Station

“I love interactive elements at a party,” says Janelle of this mix-your-own martini cart. To get the ball rolling, make the first drink, then let guests show each other the ropes so you’re free to play host. This setup works for any cocktail that’s stirred (shakers need to be rinsed between uses): Try gimlets in spring and Negronis in summer.

THE DETAILS: Michele Varian Outline bar cart, $1,375, michelevarian.com. Yarai Seamless mixing glass, $40, and Teardrop bar spoon, 40 cm, in Gold-Plated, $35, cocktailkingdom.com. CB2 pinch jigger, $6, and copper place-card holders, $10 for 4, cb2.com.

A Knockout Punch

Decorated with wheels of fruit and star anise, this self-serve refreshment, based on a recipe Janelle and Britten saw in an 1869 steward and barkeeper’s manual, is a party in a bowl. To assemble it, they arranged pineapple slices around the bowl; added large, slow-to-melt ice cubes; and then poured in the punch (which contains sherry, Bordeaux, Jamaican rum, and black tea) and Champagne right before guests arrived. They finished with citrus slices and the starburst-shaped spice. 

Get Daniel Webster's Punch Recipe

THE DETAILS: Williams-Sonoma gold-rimmed glass punch bowl, $90, williams-sonoma.com. Libbey Carats double rocks/old-fashioned glasses, 12 oz., $28 for 12, webstaurantstore.com. Michele Varian Ellipse serving board, in Large, $200, michelevarian.com.

Love Bites

“We wanted people to be able to eat on their feet,” says Janelle. The solution: traditional finger foods reimagined for today’s taste buds. That meant cream-cheese-stuffed Peppadew peppers wrapped in bacon (instead of blue cheese-filled dates); crostini with mortadella, artichoke hearts, and olives as a tasty take on bruschetta; and a portable form of fondue, with cheese served in bread cups and topped with cornichons.

THE DETAILS: Michele Varian Ellipse serving tray (top right), $98, michelevarian.com. Gold beverage napkins, $6 for 125, partycity.com.

Tower of Power

With their handy built-in serving vessels, shellfish are nature’s party food. These clams and oysters casino, made with crispy pancetta and set on pink Himalayan sea salt, honor Britten’s dad’s Christmas Eve shindig, for which a bounty of seafood was shipped to landlocked Arizona. “At 12 years old, I’d be out in the backyard shucking,” Britten recalls. Bonus idea: If your holiday includes an Italian “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” this recipe crosses two off the list.

Get the Clams & Oysters Casino Recipe

Sparkle, Spice, and Everything Nice