photographs by Brittany Ambridge
produced and styled by Elaina Sullivan
A hectic schedule doesn’t have to prevent you from being a happy hostess. Caroline Z. Hurley, a New York City textile designer (and practiced party giver) shows us how to entertain friends in a pinch without breaking a sweat.
When painter and textile designer Caroline Z. Hurley
throws a get-together in her West Village studio apartment, she knows how to utilize her immediate surroundings—even when she’s racing against the clock. Her first stop is the corner market, where she picks up a few finger foods (serve them on a pretty platter, and they’ll never know!) and a colorful bouquet of flowers. Then it’s back home, where she turns on the music, lights the candles, and starts to mix up a bowl of her favorite punch. Her secrets to a successful night? Strong cocktails, beautiful serving pieces, and, most important, a laid-back atmosphere. “When you come to my house, you can expect to kick off your shoes for a bit,” she says. “I like to let my friends shape how the night goes—if they want to have dessert first, no problem!”
- ⅓ cup water
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 15 fresh mint sprigs, divided
- 4 cups strained fresh pink
- grapefruit juice
- 2½ cups bourbon
- 12 dashes aromatic bitters
- 1 cup club soda
- garnishes: grapefruit,
- lemon, lime
Add water and sugar to a small saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Add 5 fresh mint sprigs. Remove saucepan from heat; cool syrup completely. Strain syrup into a punch bowl. Add juice, bourbon, and bitters; mix in soda and remaining 10 mint sprigs. Add ice to bowl. Garnish with thin slices of grapefruit, lemon, and lime.
Whip up a party-worthy menu with a quick trip to the corner grocer.
- cheese one hard (Gouda or Manchego) and one soft (La Tur or Camembert)
- crackers water biscuits or flatbread
- olives picholine or pimento-stuffed
- spiced nuts almonds or pecans
BLUE PILLOW Caroline Z. Hurley “Pick-Up Sticks” $90 domino.com/ cocktail-party-in-an-hour WHITE MATTE VASE (at far right) Canvas “Morandi” 8.5" round jug $48 domino.com/cocktail-party-in-an-hour GRAY GLASS VASE (at right) Canvas handmade “Stone” $22 domino.com/cocktail-party-in-an-hour TALL GLASS VASE (at right, near back of table) Canvas handmade “Stone” $40 domino.com/ cocktail-party-in-an-hour CHEESE PLATE Canvas “Dauville” platinum-glazed charger $50 domino.com/cocktail-party-in-an-hour NUTS BOWL Caroline Z. Hurley handmade porcelain $17 domino.com/cocktail-party-in-an-hour ART Caroline Z. Hurley e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing
woman of the cloth
By drawing from her own collection of linens, ceramics, and paintings, Hurley brings an artist’s touch to her gatherings. To instantly lift the mood of a space, she advises using a boldly patterned tablecloth for the food station and breaking a bouquet of flowers up into a collection of bud vases.
Caroline Z. Hurley