You’ve probably already attended a holiday party (or ten) this season, and you might even be contemplating hosting your own festive affair to ring in the new year. Gathering together friends and family for merry-making can be daunting, but there are a few pro tricks to help you kick back with your guests and perfect your signature entertaining style. We check in with Mark Oldman, the reigning king of adult beverages, for his best hospitality tips. Savor the season and go ahead and finalize that guest list…
Even as a child, Mark Oldman confidently rocked his unique style. Here he is with his sister, Elizabeth, sporting his finest 70’s Glam. (Christmas 1976).
Entertaining at home is one of the best parts of the holidays, but some people can get a little overwhelmed by the idea. What are your key ingredients to a successful holiday soirée?
There are four simple keys to successful entertaining: keep the lights low, the room cool, the music good, and the wine flowing.
Regarding the booze, there is no need to stock a complicated or expensive bar. I’ve had highly successful parties where the only alcohol is free-flowing Prosecco and an affordable Spanish red, both served in the same all-purpose wine glass.
What is your no-fail app or hors d’oeuvres secret?
I have found that pigs-in-the-blanket, whether store bought or homemade, are a universal lusted-for hors d’oeuvre. Some no-fun types may try to tell you that blanketed mini-dogs aren’t special enough, but they are wrong. As I once pointed out to a skeptical society princess, the grandest wedding reception I ever attended — a black-tie affair for 700 at a Gatsbyesque Palm Beach estate — served both Beluga caviar and pigs-in-the-blanket as hors d’oeuvres. While the former lingered for the entirety of the reception, the latter was devoured in fifteen minutes.
Make sure the phyllo dough is crisped to a golden brown and that there is plenty of spicy mustard on hand.
Go-to soundtrack? Favorite beverage? Essential bar item?
Brazilian jazz works perfectly. Try Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Stone Flower.” Or even better, use the free service Pandora and create a station for Antonio Carlos Jobim. It will be exotic, unobtrusive, and chic.
Bubbly — especially affordable American sparkling wine or cava/Prosecco from Spain — is always in style. Even better if it comes in a magnum, that marvelous vessel of festivity. A tip: always have a glass ready to hand folks when they come through the door. It sets the night right.
An essential bar item is a Sharpie marker, so everyone can sign a bottle at the end of the night, creating a unique keepsake for the host.
Describe your entertaining style in either a few words or a phrase…
Unpretentious over-delivery of pleasure.