Holiday Party Snapshots: Skip the Prosecco for Bloody Marys and Time With Santa

This year's holiday cocktail: the Bloody Mary.

Photo: Susan Lucas Hoffman

It’s a zany season—of course you’re busy and tired. I feel you. So I promise to keep this snappy. Here’s what I’ve seen on the holiday party circuit:

1. Parrish Hello and Goodbye
My holiday season always starts off fast, with the Parish Art Museum’s Winter Bazaar in Southampton, which is on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving. It was the last event ever for the museum at its landmarked old building designed by Grosvenor Atterbury of McKim, Mead & White in 1897. It was a great oddball mix, with a book signing by Tom Wolfe, fashion people like Cristina Greeven Cuomo, Kelli Delaney, and Debbie Bancroft, and a luxury goods and castoffs sale; but it was sad, particularly because of rumors that developers are eyeing the property for condos.

They’ve taken a 180-degree spin from turn of the 19th century to a completely vast and modern barn by Herzog & de Meuron. I’m sure that it will be the venue for Hamptons events in 2013. Contact Kendra Korczak to find out more: 631.283.2118.

2. Prosecco Non Grazie
I did a little survey of event throwers and goers, and here’s a unanimous finding: No more prosecco, please, but if you must, serve it with bitters. The recovery may suck, but it’s time to move off of this.

3. Instead, Have Yourself a Bloody Little Christmas!
Bloody Marys are back and not a moment too soon. Maybe one reason are all these nifty new pre-fab gift bottles on the market. First BizBash editor in chief Chad Kaydo got me hooked on one by McClure’s Pickles. Bronson van Wyck is hawking something called “Hellfire Club” mix “by way of Paris, Los Angeles, and New York City,” but it’s bottled in Arkansas and someone named Jeremy would give me neither the bottler's name nor the recipe. Smart Jeremy!

So you’ll have to do with my father’s recipe “by way of Long Island and New Jersey”: Crush one tablespoon black peppercorns with two tablespoons horseradish (fresh is always better) and the zest of a whole and juice of half a lemon. Mix in one quart of Clamato (decidedly unfresh but still great) with the juice of a dozen clams. Chill. Put one clam in the bottom of a highball glass and pour in vodka first (I say three fingers, but I have a wooden leg). Gently pour in tomato stuff. DO NOT STIR. Two dashes of Tabasco on top and more fresh pepper. No straws. The idea is to sip slowly: the vodka rises slowly to the top, so at first you don’t even taste it, but you get a blast of pepper and the sea. You don’t have to eat the clam, but why wouldn’t you if no one is looking?

4. Embossed, Stamped, Lined, That Look
If you are one of those people who miss Mrs. John L. Strong for her little gold embossed bumblebees and scarab stationary, the place to go today is Pickett’s Press. Socialites Somers Farkas and Suzanne Johnson are discreetly quoted on the clients page with just their name and last initial. Expect no bargains, I imagine, but when you go this look, isn’t it better to overpay?

5. Why Pay Less?
Since we’re on the topic, if you’ve got some Benjamins to burn, I say put them into your pocket and have Eddie bring the car around to take you to Bronson van Wyck’s holiday pop-up shop, where I found out about his bloody mix. Be prepared for a hardcore Tartan onslaught, with a little Old South thrown in. I’m not a fan of the brown-green magnolia leaf wreathes that seem to be popular (my stylish but contemporary-look-devoted pal Susan Murphy even has one on her dining table). If the price tag of $100 for four six-inch napkins doesn’t turn you off, why not have Bronson order you up a whole tree? Here’s a video where he explains that you better have lots of power because his tree arrives ready to plug in with hundreds of lights: “You better know where the fuse boxes are.”

6. I Pay Less
I have no shame in finding a great bargain, and mine this year was Il Frascati by Monte Porzio Catone of Rome. It’s less than 10 dollars for a stout, distinctive bottle complete with festive gold netting, and it's low in alcohol (12%) but dry and sophisticated. Here’s a review if you don’t trust my judgement. (And why should you?)

7. No Time for Custom, Crystal, or China?
For my own business holiday event, passed hors d’oeuvres were served with holiday motif napkins and plates from Caspari. I like “Pepperberries” a lot but landed on some festive stripes.

8. Santa Is Back!
While I don’t believe he has ever gone out of style with the young folk, Santa as adult entertainment—and I am not talking about porn, mind you—is landing again. Santa arrived on a sleigh at a super-exclusive party at the 21 Club hosted by Jay McInerney and Anne Hearst. I was invited as a last-minute plus-one, but I was committed to the V.I.P. opening at the Refinery 29 Tinseltown Holiday Bazaar on Mulberry Street, where young and hip people drank vodka and lemonade. Shucks. But socialites Muffie Potter Aston and Somers Farkas both reported to me that it was the definitive party of the season. Santa arrived on a sleigh, and there were carving stations. (Me: “What kind? Filet? Prime rib?” Somers: “Darling, you know I don’t eat very much.”) Alison Mazzola handled the party ins and outs. I have never met her but I hope to one day. Apparently she does very elaborate and beautiful invitations, also.

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