Eat. Drink. Play. Recover.

Mary Giuliani

Mary Giuliani

Woodstock, Rhinebeck to host book-signings for Mary Giuliani’s The Cocktail Party

She’s known as “the caterer to the stars,” and her website indicates a dedication to a “creative, boutique, customized approach to high-end entertaining.” Don’t let these superlative descriptors belie the fact that Mary Giuliani’s approach to throwing a perfect party – no matter if it’s small, large, high-end or down-and-gritty – is totally approachable. In fact, she insists on it being fun. Her new book, The Cocktail Party, is proof that this party girl’s mission is for you to have a good time entertaining your guests.

The book’s subtitle is her motto: Eat. Drink. Play. Recover. All aspects of a basic party plan are geared to enjoying the experience, from choosing and creating delightful edibles and inventive drinks to injecting frivolity into the process and end product as well, to plotting your own recuperation after the last guest leaves. It is an entirely thoughtful instruction book, replete with hints on how to accomplish what for some is a foreboding task and how to do so by breaking certain old-fashioned rules, like replacing a sit-down dinner at your wedding with a cocktail party. Like going all quirky with your setting and your service: How do you suppose Mason jars became the fashionable container for all kinds of libations? Like surprising your guests with breakfast hors d’oeuvres a few moments after midnight on New Year’s.

The book – expertly, frivolously designed and illustrated by local creative Jason O’Malley – includes inspiring stories and helpful anecdotes, along with party prep playlists and, perhaps most important at this point in the year, pages of advice on dealing with the holidays: Keep the cheese tray separate. Pre-batch your drinks. Walk through your party from start to finish from the perspective of your guests. Clean up the same night. Like that. What’s more, Giuliani landed some awesome approbation in Mario Batali’s generous preface.

Some people are naturally organized and ready to throw a party at the slightest suggestion, but I think that it takes some savvy. Giuliani is all about sharing hers in The Cocktail Party. Oh, and the recipes are tried-and-true. Follow them and you too might gain a few superlatives for your reputation.


Mary Giuliani’s The Cocktail Party book-signing, Friday, October 30, 6 p.m., Golden Notebook, 29 Tinker Street, Woodstock; (845) 679-8000, Book-signing/cocktail party, Saturday, November 7, 3-6 p.m., bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy, 6423 Montgomery Street, Rhinebeck; (845) 876-1117,

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