How To Throw The Perfect Casual Artful Hang

What makes for a great party that you remember for years to come? It doesn’t have to be a big blowout with dress codes and photobooths. Good parties are punctuated with good conversation, too much laughter, spilled drinks, unlikely pairings and much more. Not everyone you know throws a party like that, which is why you tend to gravitate towards a handful when they do invite. If you plan to entertain a lot more towards the end of the year, here are some trade secrets from the best in the business to create a mood that you simply can’t find at a club.

Anurag Arora, Chef, Baker, Designer

How To Throw The Perfect Casual Artful Hang

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“I am a sucker for creating great food experiences for my guests. I generally design my party meal starting with some light eats that would go great with wine, a very well designed charcuterie board is rare. The detail and extra time you spend won’t be missed by anyone, and, as a bonus It sets the course for the rest of the party..”

My way to look at a perfect table spread is captured in these three large rules:

Balance the menu:

A menu filled with only fried food may sound like an easy escape but it’s hardly appreciated by anyone. Balance your menu with a fun salad , cured meat, cheese, perhaps just one heavy entree and a really good dessert in a small portion

Don’t overdo it:

The best way to go about it is to prep everything in advance and not think about every dish as a ‘crowd pleaser’. Have a good time yourself too, that’s the most important thing

A great table spread is not about the food alone:

Beautiful decor, lighting, tableware, cutlery and most importantly the care from the host is what creates a great experience for your guests.

How To Throw The Perfect Casual Artful Hang

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I always have a fully stocked pantry with a mix of Asian (primarily Chinese + Korean), Indian and Italian condiments including chilli oils, sauces, pastes, cheese etc. All you need after that is fresh vegetables or meat to make a great meal without having to shop too much. Right towards the end of 2020 when some of the restrictions were lifted, I hosted a group of friends over some carefully selected charcuterie, a roasted Gochujang cabbage, a shareable entree - wild mushroom lasagna and a dark chocolate and old monk pannacotta to finish. People still talk about it. I assume the food was great but it also transported people into a more carefree life that they identified with. That is what a great party setup and meal can do!

Arijit Bose, Mixologist

For cocktails at home what’s most important is to have fresh lime and a sugar or honey syrup made by mixing equal parts with water. Soma Campari and vermouths always help to make drinks like negronis and old school cocktails that work. Angostura bitters is another ingredient key to making great drinks.

How To Throw The Perfect Casual Artful Hang

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I love my rums, specifically the Jamaican rums or rums that have a bit of Jamaican blend in it like the Plantation Original Dark. Exotic gins are easy ones to pair off with tonics. Mezcals are a must have. I love the Greek liquor Mathia which I tried for the first time in Cyprus with the folks over at Lost and Found Bar and have fallen in love with its complexity and ease of making any drink taste amazing. In fact I had ice teas and gelatos with it and found it to be the most efficient digestive. Skinos is the brand that I usually look out for and which is now available in Goa.

Best part of a party is to enjoy it yourself and not get stuck in the kitchen or behind your bar. Get a bar team to help out that will do all the work for you so you can focus on making the party unforgettable for everyone. Drinks and cocktails should not be the focus but rather elements that make the party fun. Having said that, always have a punch ready so drinks are easy to dispense out. Keep a bottle of premade shots ready in the fridge so the moment you see the energy going down you can lift it up by passing a round of shots.

How To Throw The Perfect Casual Artful Hang

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Besides this our go to tactics are:

- Have a nice ‘toast’ ready so that you can raise a glass once everyone is settled down.

- Prepare enough glasses and ice as they are fundamental to making sure drinks are available through the night

- Select music that are crowd pleasers and people can sing along with.

- Make sure there is enough water for hydration and food for lining the stomach for a night of revelry.

-Make sure everyone has coconut water before they leave and remember the party with fond memories the next day.

- Prevent drinking and driving.

- If you are living in a major city, figure out parking.

How To Throw The Perfect Casual Artful Hang

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I love making a drink called the Old Cuban, based on aged or dark rum depending on the profile I am in the mood for. Created by Audrey Saunders in NYC it’s a contemporary classic but quite elegant and easy to make at home.

Recipe:

Aged Rum : 45ml

Lime juice: 15 ml

Sugar: 15 ml

Mint leaves : 8

Angostura bitter: 2 dashes

Shake it all together, Strain into a martini glass and top with sparkling wine.

Tools needed : Two piece shaker, fine strainer, hawthorn strainer, peg measure.

This drink has not failed me for over 14 years years since I learnt how to make it and it’s also dependent on the quality of rum and the champagne or sparkling wine. If adventurous, I love drinking mezcal margaritas at home and with friends.

Kunal Shah, Interior Architect & Curator

How To Throw The Perfect Casual Artful Hang

Image Credit: Slim Aarons

The dos and don’ts of party lighting Dim lighting always.

Never use overhead lighting. Only table or floor lamps and candles.

How do you dress up a space without much effort?

Fragrant, seasonal flowers, garlands and candles are the best way to dress up a space. And jazz music always!

What’s a party favourite game you keep handy?

No games at all. Lots of good wine, plenty of tapas and utterly debauched conversations.

What is the secret to ‘gram-worthy table setting?

Quirky objects unexpectedly finding themselves on the dining or coffee table. Cluster of vases or candles or even objects instead of single pieces - this creates drama. Varying heights create interest. Shawls or antique bed covers used as tablecloth add a lot of personality to any table.