When it comes to taste, Jeremiah Brent has it in spades. The television personality and interior designer (who’s married to the equally talented celebrity designer Nate Berkus) has a knack for creating truly luxurious yet livable homes, but his palette extends beyond stylish spaces. Turns out Brent is also an avid entertainer (and cocktail maker) and recently joined forces with Cointreau to design and host its Collection de Voyages, where he displayed his passion for crafting spectacular soirées.
Designing the ultimate dinner party isn’t just about a pretty tablescape, although that’s certainly important. “When designing, whether it’s a living room, an event space, or a tablescape, I always want guests to feel as though they are part of an experience,” Brent tells MyDomaine. In this exclusive chat, he shares his pro tips and favorite cocktail recipes to help you up your dinner party game.
MYDOMAINE: How important is a theme when entertaining guests?
JEREMIAH BRENT: I believe there is an art to entertaining. Incorporating travel, elements from different cultures and locales, is a great way to establish the overall tone and theme for a soirée. Don’t just add umbrellas to your drinks. Take it a few steps further; create a space that someone can walk away from feeling as though they were part of something special, part of your travels, your experiences and memories.
Draw on elements from the fashion and culture, not just the cuisine. Display straw hats inspired by the Vietnamese food you are serving, images of people or monuments as place cards—essentially anything that connects someone emotionally to an experience.
MD: What are your go-to cocktails to serve?
JB: One of my go-to cocktails right now is the Cointreau Rickey. It’s a quick recipe you can make at home. Add a flavorful herb or a fresh, exotic fruit or vegetable to transport your guests to another place around the world.
MD: What atmospheric touches can you add to get the conversation flowing?
JB: Create individual moments and stations, or consider a bar in one room with the food in another. This way guests have a different feeling and the opportunity to engage with people at different points in different settings throughout the soirée.
MD: What are your favorite floral arrangements for tablescapes?
JB: Still keeping to the theme, choose plants that make your entertaining space feel at home rather than overly arranged. For this, I like to play with equatorial foliage, everything from cacti and succulents to bougainvillea and palm plants.
MD: What kind of playlist works for entertaining and dinner parties?
JB: Scents aside, music is the final layer to any soirée. I’m a big fan of and proponent for ambient music, nothing over the top. The subtler, the better. You can curate a playlist inspired by the locale and theme of the soirée to help instantly transport guests to feel as though they are visiting the city.
MD: Aside from the food, what are the perfect ingredients for a pretty tablescape?
JB: Tablescapes should be considered a canvas to help drive home your overall vision and theme for a soirée; they can serve as conversation starters, icebreakers even, and help to make a table feel layered and warm. Curate yours with items you have collected from your travels: a vase from Vietnam, beads you picked up on a trip to Peru, olive oil dishes from your honeymoon in Florence.
MD: Who would be on your dream dinner party guest list?
JB: My husband, Hillary Clinton, Michelle and Barack Obama, Hedi Slimane, Yves Saint Laurent, Axel Vervoordt, Michele Alessandro, Nelson Mandela, and Edgar Allan Poe.
1 oz. Cointreau
3 oz. malvasia white wine
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz. club soda
Build all ingredients over ice in a wineglass, and stir gently. Garnish with an orange slice.
2 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. fresh lime juice
3 to 4 oz. club soda
Pour Cointreau and fresh lime juice into a glass. Add ice, top with club soda, and stir. Garnish with an orange twist.
Make your own cocktails tonight with our stylish selects below.