Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It’s Just Your Good Libations: Throwing a Wine Party

Every once in awhile, don't you just want to put on a Ritz?

I think I was born in the wrong era. How else can I explain my love of art, travel, opera, classical music, and the pursuit of all things lofty—or the fact that everyone turns and pointedly stares at me whenever that, “Oh you fancy, huh” song comes on?

This year, I'm taking my over-the-topness to another level. As I’ve mentioned on this blog, every once in awhile I like to round up my friends and force them to indulge in my delusions of grandeur. I morph into a complete diva while tyrannically enforcing a semiformal dress code. If I see jeans, I’ll likely swoon and catch the vapors. If I see flip flops, then you better get your Oliver Twist, vagrant, vaudevillian tramp looking behind away from me before my imaginary southern gentleman boyfriend, Bill Compton, takes his glove off and smacks you. I do declare!

Welcome to the fictional world of lace, rosewater, and tea, in which I currently reside.

Since you have possibly read my entry on low tea and perhaps made similar ventures of your own, let us take a turn about the room and discuss the merits wine and imported cheese.

Now that you have elevated your friends to the status of "polite society," you will be surprised how easy it is to get everyone on board for a wine party—easier than a tea party, I declare. Even if some of your friends' experience with wine is limited to that shot they had at communion or their bat mitzvah, every God fearing American knows their alcohol and should be prevailed upon to bring a bottle $10 or under.  

Have a BYOW policy and establish who is bringing what; make sure you have a good balance of red, white, blush, sweet, and dry. Otherwise, you might end up with 10 bottles of Moscato and 5 bottles of Chardonnay and a Marvin Gaye CD for some unfathomable reason.

Make every bottle opening a reason to converse. Ask “who brought it”, “what is it,” and “where is it from”. Pretend you can't read the words clearly printed on the label.

I learned this the hard way; don’t tell people that there will be food and insult them by serving a wheel of brie and crackers. If that's the case, then definitely have a late party. Otherwise you'll be scandalized by how quickly the expensive cheeses have disappeared and how smashed everyone has gotten.

The "food" was definitely nothing to complain about, though. I went with a simple arrangement of baguettes, crackers and brie. All cheaply purchased at BJ’s (A slightly nicer Sam's Club/Costco). And I didn’t even crack a "that's what he said" when my friend Serge wildly proclaimed to everyone that I was amazing for introducing him to BJ’s. And now I've introduced you all to BJ’s. BJs, like syphilis, is the gift that keeps on giving!

Props to the hostess Sally for fixing these delectable homemade empanadas from scratch. I'm going to probe her for her secret recipe and post it here, shh. These were ALMOST good enough for me to forgive her for trying to wear jeans to the wine party.

Last tip: Don’t forget to set the mood. I'm not saying you have to produce a baby grand piano and slink on top of it in a bejeweled black dress. But do put some jazz on—or the Marvin Gaye that somebody inexplicably brought; we don’t have to let it go to waste. Or just some mellow Alternative.

The wine party was a success…except for the fact that somebody thought she could drink 13 glasses of wine consecutively. Me? No, of course not. Well, I never! Mr. Compton, will you please bring your white glove over here, at once!

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