My guests aren’t mingling! How do I get them to leave their little groups? “Cocktail making is a great conduit for bringing groups together! I put out a table with a few of our all-natural flavoured vodkas on it, a few different citrus juices that I fresh-press before guests arrive and a few sweeteners, like simple syrup (one part sugar to one part hot water), elderflower liqueur or anything else that’s slightly sweet. Then I just leave some glasses and ice out and let guests serve themselves. You’ll be amazed at how excited everyone gets when they become their own mixologist.”

The mood just feels…flat. How do I inject some life into it? “Music is the key—there’s nothing that the right tune at the right time can’t fix. I think the absolute master of this is my good friend DJ Zen Freeman. [He posts his playlists on SoundCloud.] Another option 
is playing ‘DJ Relay’: Guests get to pick tracks, played back to back, and then decide whose track was the best.”


It’s only 45 minutes in and some of my guests are getting a little too sloppy too fast. How do I slow the party down without sounding like their mom? “The trick is not letting them get there in the first place! First, always make water the easiest drink to pour. Second, if you know the party is going to last awhile, make sure the drinks come out at a leisurely pace, and play with the ABV [alcohol by volume] of the cocktails you serve.”


This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of ELLE Canada.