Master the Cocktail Party: Jessica Seinfeld's Tips for Planning the Perfect Soirée

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Jessica Seinfeld is the author of three New York Times bestselling cookbooks, most recently, The Can't Cook Book, and the President and Founder of Baby Buggy, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing clothing and equipment to families in cities across the U.S. She lives in New York City with her husband, two dogs, and three children. Here, Seinfeld gives us her entertaining tips to help us prepare for the perfect cocktail party.

Have you ever felt stressed out over planning a cocktail party? Jessica Seinfeld can relate—and she's here with her foolproof entertaining tips that will completely prepare you for having people over to your house.

In order to enjoy yourself and not frantically run around throughout the event, thinking ahead is required. Seinfeld suggests making everything self-serve, so that people can help themselves and leave you free to socialize with friends and party-goers.

RELATED: Jessica Seinfeld Shows Us How to Make Easy, 3-Ingredient Smoothies

Master the cocktail party, and read on for Seinfeld's full list of instructions.

How-to get set up:

1. To protect your furniture, cover your credenza, side table, or dinner table with placemats before laying out your faux bar.

2. Choose your signature cocktail and give it a unique name (try one of Jessica's favorite recipes, below)place in festive carafes alongside seltzer water.

Note: For the house cocktail, figure 12 to 16 ounces per person.

3. Uncork multiple bottles of wine and chill in an ice bucket (or in Jessica's case, a punch bowl filled with ice) before guests arrive so they can serve themselves.

Note: For wine, figure 1 to 3 glasses per person. There are 4 glasses of wine per bottle.

4. Use a multipurpose glass that works for any type of beverage—also use these to hold cut up lemons and limes.

5. For a pop of color, set out bright straws.

6. Always have a full ice bucket and a wine opener on-hand.

7. For a personalized touch, add a stack of stylish cocktail napkins.

8. Finish off with votives for an additional decor element.

How-to make Jessica's signature cocktail:

Combine 2 parts fresh grapefruit juice, 1 part tequila, and 1 part club soda in a glass pitcher. Stir in sliced grapefruit and lime for color.

Watch the video above for the full tutorial, and be sure to share your own favorite recipes with us on social media using #InStylexJess. For more of Jessica Seinfeld's favorite meals and entertaining ideas visit, and be sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Plus, view more of Jessica Seinfeld’s recipe videos for InStyle here.

RELATED: Jessica Seinfeld Demonstrates How to Make Perfect Poached Eggs

—Coordinated by’s Senior Fashion Editor Violet Gaynor


[MUSIC] Hi, InStyle. I'm Jessica Seinfeld. Does the idea of having people over your house completely stress you out? If so, you're totally normal. Everyone I know is horrified by the idea of a bunch of people coming to their house coming to their house for a cocktail party or any kind of gathering. Because everyone feels totally unprepared. So this video is going to completely prepare you for having people over your house, and actually enjoying yourself. Okay. So your mindset is so important to having people over. And knowing that you're not going to be running around the whole entire time, is super, super important. So, that requires preparation and thought before people come over. And, really, the whole idea is to make everything self-serve, so people can help themselves, and you can sit around with your friends and enjoy your night instead of running around back and forth. So what we're gonna do is completely set you up. So, the first thing I do is protect my furniture from my messy friends. I put place mats over everything. I've created an area that's a bar here. It's not really a bar but, I've made it a bar and it's now covered with place mats so people can spill and it doesn't bother me. I choose my drink of choice of the night, which in this case it's tequila, which people are wild about now. I, all I hear about is people drinking tequila. Probably because it's low in sugar, and I have friends who claim it doesn't give them a hangover, so. I created a drink with tequila, soda, grapefruit juice, lemon, lime and grapefruit. I name it because that's kind of a memorable thing and I usually name my drink after someone who's coming or some event or something that's pertinent to the night. I serve red wine,. White wine. And if it's a summer I'll, I'll choose rose. But I open my wine bottles before people come and I chill them at least half an hour before people come. This is not a nice bucket. This is a wine bucket, but it's not even a wine bucket, it's a punch bowl that I got for something many years ago for very little money. And I fill it with ice, and everything's chilling. So again, it's open and people can do self serve. I just have one style of glass for everything. This serves as my wine glass, my water glass, and our cocktail glass. And it's just so much easier, especially for New York City people, or city people who have small apartments [MUSIC] There's not a lot of place for storage. So one glass serves multi purposes. And, you know, you can even serve champagne in it, who cares. You know? If a purist is watching this, and is offended by it, I'm sorry about that. But I just think it's very nice and cool to have your own signature moves. And this is one of them. Serving everything in one glass. You can have straws, it's not essential. I got that my ice bucket, I think, from Crate and Barrel a few years ago on sale. Ice buckets are always on sale. Ice is something that is a great thing to ask that polite friend of yours who says can I bring anything. Yes, you can bring me some ice. It's available at convenience stores, grocery stores, and it's not that expensive. As far as quantity is concerned, you wanna think about who's coming. People tend to drink anywhere between one and three glasses of wine if they drink wine. My friends tend to drink three glasses of wine, so I know. That there's four glasses of wine in a bottle of wine. So I just do the math and I think how many people are coming? They're each going to have about three glasses of wine. That's x numbers that I have to buy. I just got this this is an upgrade from what I used to have. But it's a fancy wine opener, and it's kind of worth the investment after all this time of getting cork in the bottle of my wine. I just, took the plunge. And also, because this is a self-serve party, if you have a nice wine opener. Even your most incompetent friends can open wine for you, which is the point. You want to ask people to help you out. You don't have to do everything yourself. Always serve water. Have that ready so people can just self serve. Again, in your glasses that everyone is drinking wine, cocktails, water from. And I always have lemon, lime, oranges, sometimes I have a straw if the cocktail I'm serving is particularly festive. And cocktail napkins are a nice touch, you don't need them, you can. You can just get little plain white napkins, but they have cute ones online, they have cute ones in stores. And they have personalized ones which I think are a nice gift to give, or a nice gift to get. Okay, so this will be totally organized for you on InStyle dot com, so you know exactly what you're doing when you have your first cocktail party. [MUSIC]
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