Nick & Amy Penna’s New Year’s Eve Party Hosting: What to Serve & What to Wear

December 22, 2016


SalonCapri co-owners, Nick and Amy Penna, never shy away from hosting family and friends and like to offer one or two specialty cocktails to spark conversation and surprise their guests.  The couple recently hopped behind the bar at Boston’s The Hawthorne craft cocktail bar to learn a handful of new drink recipes (and a few expert tips) from Events Manager (and former bartender), Anna Schindelar. Anna certainly knows a thing or two about setting a beverage menu and picking fan-favorites for a crowd.

What to serve and what to wear as hosts really depends on the type of party you want to throw. Are you going for a casual get-together or something more formal? Read below for Nick and Amy’s cocktail recipe picks and outfit ideas for two different types of parties.


 Casual Party: What to Serve


HIS: “Since there are typically some whiskey drinkers at our parties, Anna recommended a classic whiskey sour, called the ‘Rosco Pound.’”

Step 1: Grab a Boston Shaker  (a 16 oz. clear glass so you can see the color of the drink and a 28 oz. metal shaker tin) and add ¾ of an ounce of honey and ginger syrup.

Bartender Tip: When combining cocktail ingredients, always start by adding the least expensive ingredient first (never the finest alcohol), in case you mess up and have to start over.

Step 2: Add ¾ of an ounce of lemon juice.

Step 3: Add 2 full ounces of a bourbon such as Anna’s recommendation of WL Weller Special Reserve.


Step 4: Fill the mixing glass with extra-large square ice cubes.

Bartender Tip: You can make these at home – just buy the proper ice tray. Bigger-sized cubes are always best to add to liquor drinks because they don’t water down the drink as much!

Step 5: Pop the shaker tin on top of the clear glass and shake.


Step 6: Double strain the mixed drink by adding a Hawthorne strainer (The Hawthorne is named after this bar item) to the top of the glass and straining it through a tea strainer. For the serving glass, a coupe cup presents the drink well!

HERS:  “The ‘Zacopani Swizzle’ is a ginger beer-based tiki-type drink that tastes so good.”

Step 1: Pour ½ an ounce of cinnamon syrup and ½ an ounce of lemon juice into a 16 oz. mixing glass.


Step 2: Add ½ an ounce of Velvet Falernum, a spirit used for many tiki drinks that can be found in most liquor stores.

Step 3: Add ½ an ounce of Laird’s Apple Brandy (it’s 100 proof!), which adds the nice apple spice flavor to the drink.


Bartender Tip: When pouring liquor out of the bottle in front of guests, face the label out so people can see the label and always pour directly over the glass.

Step 4: Add 1 full ounce of Zubrowka “Zu” Bison Grass Vodka (it’s super smooth).

Step 5: Dry-shake the cocktail, which means to shake the ingredients in a shaker with no ice.


Step 6: Grab a tall glass, such as a highball, and pour the drink into it (no strainer needed). Fill the glass with crushed ice.

Step 7: Use a swizzle stick (you can order these online) and “swizzle” by running it in between your flat palms so it spins.


Step 8: Add 1.5 ounces of Notch, a spicy and floral IPA, to the top of the drink and stick a spoon straw in.


Step 9: Add an apple “fan” garnish, which are apple slices fanned out and secured with a little bamboo stick.



 Casual Party: What to Wear


Nick’s Casual Outfit:  Tokohama Shirt, Raw Edge Jack Shirt and Fit 2 Jean in Indigo Selvage from rag & bone on Newbury Street

Amy’s Casual Outfit: Troy Dress in Caroline by Ace & Jig and Clare V. flat clutch from Covet + Lou



 Formal Party: What to Serve


HIS: “I’m a fan of gin-based drinks so this stirred gin drink, called ‘Attention,’ is completely different than a basic gin and tonic.”

Step 1: Add a “bar spoon” of absinthe - which is a little more than a teaspoon – and a dash of Regan’s orange bitters.

Step 2: Add a bar spoon of Crème de Violette (for a floral taste and to add a pretty color) and ¾ of an ounce of fine vermouth, such as Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry.


Bartender Tip: All vermouths should be kept refrigerated and, once opened, they really only last for a couple of weeks.

Step 3: Add 2 ounces of gin (e.g., Tanqueray) and fill the glass with large ice cubes and stir.


Bartender Tip: The technique for stirring entails twisting the spoon along the outside of the glass with the back of the spoon facing the outside.


Step 3: Pour the drink through a Hawthorne strainer and add an “in and out” lemon garnish, which means that the garnish is tossed out after you’ve added the lemon’s flavor to the drink. Shave a piece of the lemon rind with a bit of the pith included. Twist the lemon rind over the drink to squeeze the lemon oil out and then rub the rind along the edges of the glass and even down the glass stem.


Bartender Tip: Rimming the glass stem lets the drinker really smell the garnish’s oil because it gets on his or her fingertips a bit and is also inhaled as the drink is sipped.

HERS: “My pick for a formal drink to serve is the ‘DTO,’ which is a Boston version of a rum sour daiquiri.”


Step 1: Using a dropper, add 1 full squeeze of Peychaud’s Bitters, Southern Creole bitters into a 16 oz. glass.


Step 2: Add ¾ of an ounce of simple syrup and ¾ of an ounce of lime juice.

Step 3: Add 2 ounces of white rum (e.g., Bully Boy).


Step 4: Add big ice cubes to the top, pop on the shaker tin top and shake it for a long time to dilute the spirit and chill the drink.

Bartender Tip: It’s a general rule that if there’s citrus in a drink (e.g., lime juice), you shake it.

Step 5: Double strain the drink into a coupe cup so the ice shards don’t fall in.



 Formal Party: What to Wear


Nick’s formal party outfit: Andrew dress shirt in burgundy and Razor Jacket from rag & bone on Newbury Street

Amy’s formal party dress: Miranda Bennett Everyday Dress in Slate from Covet + Lou


Photos by Christopher Padgett

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