Emily Henderson’s tips for a flawless cocktail party

This LA-based stylist and designer knows her stuff when it comes to decorating, entertaining, and elevating an event. Here she offers her tricks for hosting a festive gathering without all the fuss—and even shares a signature cocktail recipe. Bottoms up!

Stephanie Sisco for Real Simple

When hosting a holiday party, Emily Henderson suggests that you start by considering what feeling you want the celebration to evoke, not just how it will look. Her advice? “A relaxed approach to hosting will likely give guests permission to have more fun.”

1. Set Up Drink Stations Throughout Your Home

Having multiple spots will help with crowd control and prevent bottlenecking at the bar. At each station, offer up assorted garnishes and corresponding liquor options for customization, but leave suggestions for how to make your signature drink as well. Best of all, with little accessorizing, these drink stations end up doing double-duty as thoughtful décor.

Related: 9 ways to simplify party planning

2. Mix Modern and Vintage Pieces Together

f you’re having a sit down meal at your gathering, create a tablescape using old and new pieces. (Try pairing vintage silverware with a modern plate for eclectic contrast and soften it up with a solid linen napkin.)

Related: The stress-free holiday party plan

3. Don’t Feel Tied Down to a Traditional Color Palette

Liven things up with more energetic hues, like rich pomegranate reds, melon and berry pinks, and various shades of orange. Use flowers, linens, and dinnerware to infuse these hues.

Related: 3 classic cocktails that won’t wreck your diet

Emily Henderson’s IZZE New Fashioned Cocktail

• 6 ounces IZZE Sparkling Clementine
• 1½ ounces Bourbon
• 2 dashes of bitters
• Splash of lemon juice
• 1½ teaspoon maple syrup
• 1 sprig fresh thyme

Muddle the thyme, bitters, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Add bourbon, IZZE, and shake. Pour over ice and enjoy!

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