Tis the season for holiday parties! If you’re looking for a fun and festive way to entertain at home with your family and best of friends, you’re in luck. Cooking Channel stars and mixology experts, Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark were kind enough to join me for another great interview, this time to dish on how we can make holiday entertaining easy and fun, amazing hostess gifts and delicious signature coffee cocktails that you and your guests will adore!
Candace Rose: With the holidays upon us, how can we make it easy and fun and where do we start?
Georgia Hardstark: “I feel like you start a couple of days ahead, which means you put up your decorations, you can even set your table. Anything you can do to make it not crazy the day of is so important.”
Alie Ward: “I cut up my vegetables the night before, we even pick out our outfits before the party (a day or two at least) that way you’ve got the doorbell about to ring, you’re not scrambling and trying to decide ‘Does this look good on me? I don’t know?’ You’ve just got it picked out.”
Candace Rose: What are some top entertaining tips to get people through the holidays?
Alie Ward: “I think when you’re having a holiday party, really put your own spin on it. If you’re not very fussy or you’re rustic, throw a party in that way. Don’t feel so much pressure to have it be perfect.”
Georgia Hardstark: “I like using other colors than the Christmasy red and green, so we’ll use creams and silvers and golds and fun colors like that, so you can really make it your own.”
Alie Ward: “We’re also kind of big on the mood. We really want people to enjoy each other and the time they’re having, so it’s great to have a playlist that you organize a day or two ahead of time and you can just hit play or rely on an internet radio station that’s got some classic holiday tunes that everyone knows the words to. If your crowd is more into pop, then throw on some vintage Mariah Carey. Just go for it!”
Candace Rose: What’s a unique way to end a holiday meal?
Georgia Hardstark: “We love not kicking everyone out and instead giving them a choice of coffee or tea or even a coffee cocktail – we’re really into those right now.”
Alie Ward: “We’re kind of obsessed with our Nescafe Dolce Gusto machines. I use these every morning, but also at all my parties I always have this out and I have a bunch of pods to choose from, so our guests can have a cup of coffee at the end of the night, but they can really choose their favorite. People get so excited, you have no idea. This makes a great gift too because once people try it they want to get one for themselves. It’s great to sit around with a cup of coffee at the end of the night, maybe you have a half a dozen people left but you hear the best stories at the end of the night when you’re just chill.”
Georgia Hardstark: “We have a ton of coffee cocktail recipes. We made one called the Almond Rum Caramelatte, which is spiced rum and almond liqueur – that’s on our YouTube page. It’s so delicious. When you give someone a coffee cocktail they don’t mind that you ask them to do the dishes as well.”
Alie Ward: “It’s a great bribery for cleanup! And on our YouTube page we make those drinks in under a minute, it’s really easy – just quick, quick, quick into a glass. Those are really fun ways to add a new twist on an after dinner drink.”
Candace Rose: Many of us will be heading to holiday parties this season. What would make a great hostess gift?
Alie Ward: “One of these (Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine) of course! I’m always a proponent for – shoot a text or give a quick call ahead of time and say ‘Do you need anything’? Because a lot of times the hostess might really need a bag of ice and you don’t need to bring a super expensive bottle of wine when she might need something a lot simpler.”
Georgia Hardstark: “If you want to bring a bottle of champagne to pop right away and share, so while the hostess is busy getting everything ready, your guests are relaxing, so it kind of helps set the mood.”
Candace Rose: Do either of you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Alie Ward: “You can find a lot of information on Nescafe Dolce Gusto machines at LiveWithGusto.com. You can find recipes that we’ve made for coffee cocktails at our YouTube Alie and Georgia! We are on Facebook, Twitter and all of that. Shoot us a hello and maybe you’ll come to our next holiday party.