Laura's Christmas Cocktail Soiree

Photography by Tiffany Piotrowski

Posted on Dec 18, 2014

Two holiday outfits on bed with matching jewelry

Cocktail Outfit

The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to wear a lot of sparkle! This year I chose to wear one of my favourite dresses for my cocktail party; it’s a simple tone-on-tone black sequined dress from French Connection. I like to shop my own wardrobe during the holidays and see what treasures I have hidden in the back of my closet. As for accessories, the gold multi-layered necklace and my Stella and Dot Pheonix Pendant were definite contenders to finish off the night’s look. The gold piece was a gift from an old client after a long press day when I used to work as a music publicist. I mentioned to her that I loved her necklace, and at the end of the day upon arriving back to her hotel, she had put the necklace in a little bag and told me she wanted me to have it. It was one of the sweetest gifts I had ever received!
Laura's Christmas Cocktail Soiree

This year I picked my tree from Evergreen Brick Works after having the best brunch at Cafe Belong. Brick Works always has fun markets and events happening during the holidays and it’s a great spot to grab a tree if you’re in the city. It was love at first sight when I spotted this Douglas Fir – it’s shape and size seemed like just the right fit for my quaint apartment.

Laura's Christmas Cocktail Soiree

My Christmas colour scheme is neutral with hits of gold, silver, cream and white. When it comes to decor, I like to keep it simple. And besides – all the pizzazz and personality I need comes from my friends and family who visit during the holidays!

I love to wrap all my presents in complimentary soft hues as it adds to the overall warm and serene feeling I want my space to convey for the season. Hidden here and there in my tree and throughout my apartment are decorative owls.  When I was younger my Grandfather Kenneth gave me an owl from his personal collection and I started collecting them ever since.

Styled occasional table featuring wooden letter L with Christmas decorations.

Letter L

My entry console is the perfect spot for my vintage silver shell dish that I picked up for a steal at Of Things Past. I’ve filled it with glittery pinecones to add some holiday charm and placed it alongside a pair of beaded cone trees from HomeSense for added sparkle.  The aged iron initial from Restoration Hardware is one of my favourite pieces; it’s a fun way to personalize my space.
Laura's Christmas Cocktail Soiree

In a small space, you have to get creative when “decking the halls”.  In lieu of a fireplace, I hung my soft velvety stockings from the door pulls on my modern sideboard. I also turn on the faux fire channel when entertaining to make the atmosphere fun and lighthearted.

My gallery wall is a reflection of all the great places that I’ve traveled to. I took my best travel photos and printed them in black and white for a sophisticated and monochromatic wall treatment. I also framed a few remnants of my favourite designer fabrics, which make for super stylish and inexpensive art! To round off my collection, I’ve framed a few personal prints like a birthday card that I received from a good friend and a page featuring a dog illustration from a German children’s book. The author Monika Wieber is a family friend, so it just so happens that I know the real dog the illustration was created in likeness of. His name is Domino!

Laura's Christmas Cocktail Soiree

To make my place extra cozy in the colder months, I’ve added a couple RENS sheepskins from Ikea as throws on the backs of my armchairs; they provide great texture and warmth and really make the space inviting.

The large vertical mirror is usually on the wall across from my entry table, but at Christmastime I move it adjacent to my tree so that it reflects the Christmas lights. In the evening it gives good sparkle and casts a light around the room, which makes my space particularly magical. I also added a small square boxwood wreath to the mirror with a simple natural ribbon for an extra festive layer.

White tray filled with holiday cocktails on top of bar cart.

Holiday Cocktails

The bar cart is always fully stocked during the holiday season because you never know who’s going to pop over for a visit. To style my bar cart, I picked up a few stems of cotton flower for my party, which are low maintenance and remind me of fluffy white snow. I love the contrast of the rustic stem against the glossy blue and white vase. My simple white tray from West Elm holds all my vintage barware glasses, decanters and pitchers. For an added personal touch, I used a set of owl skewers that were a gift from my Aunt Gail to garnish the cocktails with cranberries.
Laura pouring champagne into champagne flutes.

Laura's Holiday Cocktails

Champagne Cocktail Recipe

Original recipe from Sweet Paul

You will need:

(Makes 1 glass)

  • 3 oz champagne
  • 1⁄3 oz cognac
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 sugar cube 

Steps:

  1. Soak sugar cube in a champagne flute with angostura bitters.
  2. Add desired amount of pomegrante seeds.
  3. Add champagne and cognac.

TIP: You can also use prosecco in place of the champagne in this cocktail.

 

Pitcher Cosmopolitan Recipe

Original recipe from Canadian Living

(Makes 8 glasses)

You will need:

  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) vodka
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) cranberry juice
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) orange-flavoured liqueur
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
  • 8 frozen cranberries

Steps:

  1. In pitcher, stir together vodka, cranberry juice, liqueur and lime juice.
  2. Add desired amount of cranberries.  
  3. Top with ice; stir until well chilled. 
  4. Garnish glasses with cranberry skewers.
  5. Strain cocktail into glasses.

TIP: For non-alcoholic Cosmopolitans, omit vodka and orange liqueur. Increase cranberry juice to 2 cups (500 ml). Add 1 cup (250 ml) ginger ale, 1/2 cup (125 ml) orange juice and 2 tbsp (25 ml) lime juice. Add desired amount of cranberries and top with ice.

Bar cart with white tray filled with holiday cocktails.

Holiday Cocktails

Laura pouring champagne into champagne flutes
When I’m hosting a holiday gathering, I always encourage my guests to help themselves. For this reason, I make sure the bar is fully stocked with all the essentials. Having everything at the ready makes entertaining a breeze so you can spend more time mingling with guests.

 

My Bar Cart Essentials:

  • Glassware: wine glasses, tumblers/rock glasses, champagne flutes, and beer glasses
  • Wine: white wine, red wine, champagne or prosecco
  • Spirits: vodka, Bailey’s, scotch, rum, tequila, gin, and a selection of beers
  • Mix: tonic water, soda water, selection of sodas, and non-alcoholic drink options
  • Garnishes: lemons, limes, cranberries, pomegranate seeds, sprigs of rosemary, lots of ice for drinks and ice buckets
Wooden tray filled with meats, crackers and cheese.

Meat and cheese spread

The spread: prosciutto, salami, Brie cheese, blue cheeses, baguette, artisanal crackers, olives, fig jam, cranberries and figs for garnish. A side of veggies and dip, and a bowl of pistachios round out the assortment of hors d’oeuvre. Sweets include chocolate drizzled coconut macaroons and festive snowflake gingerbread cookies.
Table filled with various appetizers and a bowl filled with gold and silver ornaments.

Holiday Spread

Snowflake cookie on white scalloped plate.

Snowflake Cookie

Laura's bedecked holiday apartment with festive dining table and twinkling Christmas tree.

Laura's apartment.

The bar is stocked, the table is set, and my apartment is decked out in holiday style. Here’s to good food, great friends and a happy and healthy holiday season!