Saturday, December 11, 2010

December: 'Tis the season for many things, not the least of which is the glut of social engagements we're all slated to enjoy. And while seasonal music is nice, it gets a bit tedious, and sometimes a break is needed while hosting a party.

Here are songs that pair well with all sorts of booze.  They run the gamut from loungey to full-blown-danceability.  When assembling a playlist for a party, it's important that it starts out a little slowly.  There's nothing more jarring than being an early-arriver to a party, only to be blasted with a too-big-song.  Ease into the festivities with something a little more restrained, then ramp it up.  Oh, and every playlist needs a few old school hits (SEE: Tina Turner's "Steel Claw".  Amazing.)


1. Ensure nary a glass runs dry.
2. Put out a pitcher of water and some small tumblers so people can self-serve a glass without having to endure the shame of asking for water at a cocktail party.
3. Lighting, lighting, lighting.
4. Intercept new friends and introduce with thoughtful details (Thanks, Bridget.)
5. If you're over the age of 30, "BYOB" has no place on your invite.

1. Never come empty-handed. Wine is nice, but not if it costs less than $12 or can be found on the list of your local hole-in-the-wall pub.  Your hosts likely spent hundreds of dollars on this shindig: Bring something decent.  
2. Don't get wasted and start playing bartender.  Nobody cares about your gross concoctions.
3. Same goes for DJ'ing.  Have your own party.
4. And know when to leave.

(These rules do not apply to anyone who is under 25 or a full-time student.  These rules also do not apply if you're a guest in the host's home more than 5 times annually.  And check out more tips to being a good guest from an old post, August 2008.)

Songs for Winter Cocktailing

  1. The First Taste - Fiona Apple
  2. Valerie - Amy Winehouse
  3. Wanna Be Loved - Jill Scott
  4. Could Have Been You - Joss Stone
  5. Speak Low (Bent Remix) - Billie Holiday
  6. Brothers - Hot Chip
  7. Change of Heart (Rakamonie Remix) - El Perro Del Mar
  8. Dear Miami - Roisin Murphy
  9. Lilac Wine (The Album Leaf Remix) - Nina Simone
10. We Dance to the Beat - Robyn
11. And I Was a Boy From School - Hot Chip
12. Clap Your Hands - Sia
13. You Can Dance - Chilly Gonzales
14. Don't Make Me Wait - Jazmine Sullivan
15. Paranoid - Kanye West
16. Heavy Cross - Gossip
17. We're in a Thunderstorm - Gentleman Reg
18. I'm Not Afraid - Jill Scott
19. Criminal Intent - Robyn
20. Alive - Goldfrapp
21. You Know Me Better - Roisin Murphy
22. Listen Up! - Gossip
23. Steel Claw - Tina Turner
24. Love is a Stranger - Eurythmics
25. Head First - Goldfrapp
26. Just One of Those Things (Brazilian Girls Remix) - Blossom Dearie
27. Get Myself Together - Robyn
28. Brave - Kelis

(PS: I've changed the way I host these playlists, so it's a few steps easier now.  Just click the word Download and the file will start comin'atcha.  Again, to retain the order of the songs, drag the contents of the folder into a Playlist you've created in iTunes.)


  1. Ah - the Bridget reference!
    I wish I was a guest at one of your parties once.

  2. could you please forward #5 from the 'hosting' list and #3 from the attending list to several in my social circles. please and thank you.

  3. I'm sorry for your troubles, Beth. Perhaps just forward this along, subtly, bolding the parts that apply to them.

    I mean, really, if you don't want to host, don't host. But don't expect your guests to outfit your party. Be an adult. Amirite?!

  4. OH! And I feel like I should say: These issues do not affect me personally. I culled those one-way-friendships years ago. ;)

  5. Ahaha. I love it. I remember having a conversation with you about this a few years ago after a particular barbecue, I think ??

    Downloading your playlist now.

  6. Man the pressure is on for tonight. Oh you mind bringing.....Ha!

    downloading the playlist now for tonight. Can't wait. bring an appetite.

  7. Yes! I was just listening the sunny autumn afternoon playlist earlier today thinking, "can't wait for another playlist, hope he doesn't wait until valentines!"

  8. Gee Golly! I can't wait till next year when I have to pay attention to these rules! (or should i say rulez)

  9. Incidentally, this playlist also works for "Eating an omelette the size of my head for brunch whilst ignoring all items on my to-do list and perusing wistfully instead". Just tried it.

  10. so when's your party? should i be checking my mailbox for an invite?

    we should do a festive lunch.

  11. good tunes should be on your list....specifically, your playlists! they are fantastic...thanks!

  12. ohmygosh, "have your own party" - indeed! These are words to live by.

    I read your other post too and duly noted, circumcision, a no go. Martha Stewart would be proud.

  13. Love all your playlists - I just need to start downloading them. Also love your party hosting tips. I need to host a holiday party!

  14. I just held a holiday party at my new house on Saturday and have been dubbed the "best hostess/lighting Nazi".

    I am so obsessive about lighting, so I had everything on dimmers, the Christmas tree on and candles everywhere, yet my girlfriends felt the need to flick on every glaring light in the house. I followed them around turning them off. lol.

    Don't they understand that when 11pm rolls around and they're blitzed, bright lighting does not work in their favour?

  15. If you didnt live all the way in freakin' Canada, I'd have you throw my holiday party this weekend.

    Im tryin to keep it classy. More get-to-gether than 'party', but as I am sure you know, the list keeps growing.

  16. Hey Tim -
    Make sure you continue serving the drinks - If the bar becomes a free-for-all, it's a house party. In fact, I dream of hiring a bartender. Wouldn't it be nice to know people are taken care of, but you don't have to??

  17. Ah, what a pleasure to see another round of rules from you, kindred spirit. Reggie approves of all those you outline here, which are right up his alley. Merry Christmas -- Reggie

  18. Rules. I remember them. And also how ashamed I was for generally SUCKING on the whole "hosting" side of things. Though I'm a fairly good guest, I think.