Paper Party 2016: The Cocktails (and Recipes!)

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that we offered two signature cocktails to guests at Paper Party 2016. In the past we’ve offered an open (cash) bar so that guests could order whatever they liked, but I’ve always wanted to do a custom cocktail menu – after all, it is kind of one of the things we do best around here! So we finally did it! Andrew came up with two recipes that we thought worked well for both the time of year and the number of guests (we were estimating around 250 people): a Pineapple Mai Tai and a Lavender Collins. They’re both so, so good and perfect for summer get togethers! Today we’re sharing the recipes for both drinks, along with the cocktail coasters, stir sticks, menus, and matchbox favors that we made for the Paper Party!

Paper Party 2016 Cocktail Menus, Stir Sticks, Coasters, and Matchbox Favors / Oh So Beautiful Paper

First, the stationery! Sarah from Parrott Design Studio designed the gorgeous cocktail menus – I printed them at home using my Epson WorkForce WF-7610 printer (which can print borderless!). I printed a smaller 5×7 size to scatter around the venue, and a larger 8×10 size to display at the bar.

Paper Party 2016 Cocktail Menus, Stir Sticks, Coasters, and Matchbox Favors / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Paper Party 2016 Cocktail Menus, Stir Sticks, Coasters, and Matchbox Favors / Oh So Beautiful Paper

We also worked with Foryourparty.com to make some fun wood cocktail stir sticks in shiny lavender foil, coasters in shiny lavender foil, and – my personal favorite – Riviera matchbox party favors with shiny silver foil on lavender Color Plan paper. I just can’t get enough lavender these days!

Paper Party 2016 Cocktail Menus, Stir Sticks, Coasters, and Matchbox Favors / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Paper Party 2016 Cocktail Menus, Stir Sticks, Coasters, and Matchbox Favors / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Paper Party 2016 Cocktail Menus, Stir Sticks, Coasters, and Matchbox Favors / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Okay, so I may have gone a bit coaster crazy for the party this year, but after seeing this absolutely AMAZING hologram foil called Micro Glitter at Bella Figura when selecting a foil for the Paper Party invitations, I asked if they’d be willing to print up some coasters for the party. Can you blame me? The Micro Glitter hologram foil is just ridiculously awesome. It reminds me of a disco ball! How could I resist?

Paper Party 2016 Cocktail Menus, Stir Sticks, Coasters, and Matchbox Favors / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Okay, now on to the cocktail recipes! I wanted one of the cocktails to be fruity and tropical, and the other cocktail to be effervescent and refreshing (especially after a long day at the Javits Center). A Pineapple Mai Tai and Lavender Collins were the perfect fit! I highly recommend giving both of these cocktails a spin at home!

Paper Party 2016 Cocktail Menu / Design by Parrott Design Studio for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Cocktail menu design by Parrott Design Studio

Pineapple Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Pineapple Mai Tai

1 oz Silver Rum
1 oz Aged Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz El Guapo Orgeat
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Orange Curaçao

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker filled two-thirds with ice and shake gently. Strain into a lowball glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with a mint bouquet. Enjoy!

One quick note about shaken drinks: If you’re making a large quantity of a shaken cocktail recipe in advance, chances are you won’t individually shake each cocktail in a cocktail shaker. But! Shaking a cocktail with ice adds water to a drink, so without it the drink can come out a bit on the strong side. When pre-mixing a large batch of cocktails in advance, you’ll need to add extra water to the recipe to compensate. We recommend adding about half an ounce of water per serving for these kinds of drinks.

Pineapple Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Lavender-Lemon Collins Cocktail Recipe / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Lavender Collins

2 oz Dry Gin
1 oz Royal Rose Lavender-Lemon Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
Soda Water
Mint

Add mint and ice to a highball glass, then add the gin, lavender-lemon syrup, and lemon juice. Top with soda water and give it a good stir to combine. Enjoy!

Lavender-Lemon Collins Cocktail Recipe / Oh So Beautiful Paper

A huge thanks to El Guapo Bitters and Royal Rose who so generously donated their syrups for the Paper Party so that we could make these wonderful cocktails!

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

An End of Summer Picnic Party

Anyone else not ready to let go of summer just yet?? The past few months in DC have been a ridiculously hot and humid, so I’ll admit that I’m looking forward to the arrival of cooler weather, but I’ll miss the slower pace and relaxed vibe of summer! I’ve been working with mike’s hard lemonade to celebrate backyard entertaining, and the long Labor Day weekend felt like the perfect excuse to throw an end of summer picnic. And since this was our last big summer hurrah, I thought I’d bring along some of my favorite vintage watermelon glasses and watermelon accessories!

End of Summer Watermelon and Flamingo Party with Mike's Hard Lemonade / Oh So Beautiful Paper

End of Summer Watermelon and Flamingo Party with Mike's Hard Lemonade / Oh So Beautiful Paper

I love picnic parties because the set up is just so simple and easy! I made a bright pink picnic blanket from a tie dyed drop cloth using traditional Shibori dyeing techniques (more on that soon!) and added a few large honeycomb balls in shades of pink, peach, and mint green, some colorful napkins, and a couple lawn flamingos to create a fun and festive atmosphere. A watermelon cooler bag filled with ice kept drinks nice and cold through the afternoon and evening.

End of Summer Watermelon and Flamingo Party with Mike's Hard Lemonade / Oh So Beautiful Paper

We wanted the food and drinks to match the laid back picnic vibe – no intricate cocktail recipes allowed! We also wanted to be able to prepare everything ahead of time and just pack it all into a couple baskets for everyone to enjoy at their own pace. We made these mini baguette sandwiches with salami, mozzarella, and basil for a picnic party last year and LOVED them – so we decided to make them again this year! No need to mess with a good thing. Just wrap the sandwiches in parchment or wax paper, tie everything up with a bit of twine, and you’ll be good to go!

End of Summer Watermelon and Flamingo Party with Mike's Hard Lemonade / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Normally we would have a few pre-made cocktails in large swing bottles to offer enough variety for a get together, but this time there was no need! There are plenty of mike’s hard lemonade flavor options to go around – from the new Flavors of America variety pack, which features four refreshing flavors inspired by the iconic flavors from different regions of the country, to the classic bottles of the original hard lemonade.

End of Summer Watermelon and Flamingo Party with Mike's Hard Lemonade / Oh So Beautiful Paper

End of Summer Watermelon and Flamingo Party with Mike's Hard Lemonade / Oh So Beautiful Paper

End of Summer Watermelon and Flamingo Party with Mike's Hard Lemonade / Oh So Beautiful Paper

I can’t believe how fast this summer flew by! As much as I’m looking forward to cooler weather, I know I’ll miss these summer nights with late sunsets, fireflies, and cool evening breezes. This past year with two young girls under age 3 has been a wee bit of a whirlwind, and I’m so grateful for late summer nights with good friends. But hopefully the end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of backyard entertaining! Before I know it we’ll be gathering around the fire pit and drinking hot toddies!

End of Summer Watermelon and Flamingo Party with Mike's Hard Lemonade / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Sources: Vintage Watermelon Glasses | Watermelon Cooler Bag | Watermelon Cutting Board | DIY Watermelon Coasters

This post was created in partnership with Mike’s Hard Lemonade. All content and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make Oh So Beautiful Paper possible!

Photos by Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Paper Party 2015!

I’m so excited to FINALLY share the photos from this year’s Paper Party during the National Stationery Show! I can’t believe the party was almost two weeks ago already – the whole evening went by so fast! I shared the party invitations designed by Moglea and printed by Bella Figura a couple of weeks ago, and the invitations really helped guide the overall party design. This year’s party had a tropical vibe, with a color palette inspired by the party invitations – shades of pink, dark blue, and gold – and lots of tropical details from foliage to flamingos!

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This year’s party was again held at Hudson Terrace – but this time in their rooftop terrace! My talented friend (and professional event planner) Janice from Bellwether Events helped me plan the party and kept the entire evening running smoothly and Mandy (one of our resident DIY mavens) helped with a lot of the party décor. We also partnered with an incredible team of sponsors and creative companies to bring the party to life, including The National Stationery ShowMinted, Etsy Wholesale, Silhouette AmericaSmock, Simply Framed, Rifle Paper Co., Hester & Cook Design Group, Legion Paper, Postable, Mailchimp, May DesignsFlower Muse, StationeryHQForyourparty.com, and Swiss Cottage Designs.

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Mandy made the most amazing sign for the Paper Party this year! She hand painted some white canvas fabric in our party colors then cut out the letters and backed them with gold fabric! We accented with lasercut tropical paper foliage and pineapples from Alexis Mattox Design. Our tables featured gorgeous table runners and placemats from the new Chilewich + Hester & Cook collaboration (so pretty!) and table confetti from Minted! Michele from Meant to Be Calligraphy also lettered our menu selections on Chilewich + Hester & Cook place cards.

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Courtney from Swiss Cottage Designs offered to help out with some of the day-of stationery pieces – didn’t she do the most amazing job?? Courtney designed a fun tropical-inspired cocktail menu, name tags, cocktail stir sticks, coasters, matchboxes, and a giant welcome sign! For Your Party printed the coasters, matchboxes, and stir sticks in rose gold foil.

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Coasters, stir sticks, and matchboxes from For Your Party!

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Stripey party straws and drink flags from Minted!

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I had a blast making signs for the party! I used my favorite DIY technique for making spray painted acrylic signs – but instead of a paint pen I used my Silhouette CAMEO to cut out vinyl decals! Michele from Meant to Be Calligraphy and Jenna from Mon Voir kindly provided lettering, which I cut out in white and hot pink vinyl. The signs ranged in size from 5″ x 7″ to 18″ x 24″ and were seriously so easy to make!

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We also had a table with a demo of the Silhouettte CAMEO for party guests – we cut pineapples out of yellow and navy vinyl to wear as stickers around the party. They were such a hit! Mandy made a pineapple garland from navy card stock (so cute).

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These cascading honeycombs probably made the biggest visual impact and were one of my favorite decorations at the party! We mixed 5″ honeycombs with crepe paper streamers and Mandy‘s DIY air plants. We had 4 or 5 of these cascades around the party. I love how they turned out!

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The team from Smock made a couple of these “chandeliers” using strips of their gift wrap! They looked so beautiful blowing in the breeze.

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This gallery wall in collaboration with Simply Framed was hands down my favorite element of the party! We mixed original calligraphy artwork from some of my favorite calligraphers with tropical-inspired illustrations, and I looooooove how it all came together! The prints all look amazing together and Simply Framed did a wonderful job matching each print to its perfect frame. Stay tuned for a little something special involving these prints tomorrow!

Artwork sources top row from left: Moglea, Idlewild Co., A Fabulous FeteAshley Buzzy Calligraphy and LetterpressMeera Lee PatelRifle Paper Co.

Bottom row from left: Fleur de LettersIdlewild Co.Mon VoirBlue Eye Brown Eye CalligraphyMeera Lee Patel

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For this year’s party gift bags we partnered with the amazing Rifle Paper Co.! The bags feature a gorgeous custom Rifle design created just for the party – and don’t worry, I set some bags aside for a few lucky readers! Stay tuned for more details soon!

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Can we talk about the AMAZING floral arrangements for a few minutes? Dawn from Soirée Floral absolutely killed it! We combined gorgeous peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and greens from Flower Muse with a few tropical flowers like king protea and pink ginger flowers. We mixed a few large arrangements with smaller cocktail-size arrangements that guests could take home at the end of the evening. I’m still dreaming about these amazing blooms!

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Yay for Etsy Wholesale! This was the second year that we’ve had an Etsy Wholesale lounge and I love that it’s becoming a little tradition at the party!

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Our Smilebooth backdrop featured more lasercut tropical paper foliage from Alexis Mattox Design: palm fronds, philodendron leaves, and even a few pineapples! We also had some plastic flamingos for props, along with real philodendron leaves, protea, and ginger flowers. So. Much. Fun!

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You can find the full photo gallery from Paper Party 2015 right here – and the Smilebooth photos right here!

Finally, a HUGE thank you to the wonderful sponsors and people who made the evening possible:

  • Infinite thanks to Janice and Mandy for all of their invaluable help over the past few months and throughout the evening – and Carrie, Kristina (and husband!) and our small army of friends who helped stuff gift bags or with set up before the party. We couldn’t have done it without you!

And of course a big thanks to Charlie Juliet Photography for the gorgeous photos and Hudson Terrace for having us! See you all next year!

Party Sources

Event Coordination: Bellwether Events

Floral Arrangements: Soirée Floral

Flowers: Flower Muse

Gallery Wall: Simply Framed

Day-of Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy

Day-of Stationery: Swiss Cottage Designs

Coasters, Stir Sticks, and Matchboxes: For Your Party

Table Confetti, Stripey Straws + Drink Flags: Minted

Tropical paper foliage for Smilebooth backdrop: Alexis Mattox Design

Table Runner, Placemats, and Place Cards: Hester & Cook Design Group

Venue: Hudson Terrace

Photo Credits: Charlie Juliet Photography

Blackberry St-Germain Granita

Our final frozen cocktail recipe happens to be one of our most recent favorites! Nole has been making delicious frozen granitas out of fresh fruit for years at home, so I don’t know why it took so long for us to add booze to one. But I’m glad we did. It’s the perfect way to use abundant in-season fruit – in this case, blackberries! – Andrew

Blackberry St-Germain Cocktail Granita Recipe by Oh So Beautiful Paper / Photo by Sweet Root Village

Blackberry St-Germain Cocktail Granita Recipe by Oh So Beautiful Paper / Photo by Sweet Root VillageBlackberry St-Germain Cocktail Granita Recipe by Oh So Beautiful Paper / Photo by Sweet Root Village / Calligraphy by A Fabulous Fete

Blackberry St-Germain Granita

4 Cups Blackberries
1 Cup St-Germain
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
A pinch of kosher salt

Purée the blackberries, St-Germain, sugar, lemon juice, and salt with a cup of water in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a 9 x 13″ metal baking pan, pressing on the solids to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Freeze the mixture until the edges begin to set, then use a fork to scrape, breaking up the frozen sections into light flakes. Freeze, scraping and breaking up mixture every 20–30 minutes, until it resembles fluffy shaved ice, about 2–4 hours. Serve with a spoon.

Blackberry St-Germain Granita Cocktail Recipe Card by Dinara Mirtalipova for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Illustration by Dinara Mirtalipova for Oh So Beautiful Paper

We made this recipe both with and without St-Germain, and we both agree: with St-Germain is better. The succulent fruitiness of the blackberries is a perfect match for St-Germain’s robust floral notes, and the St-Germain adds just enough alcohol to give the granita some oomph without overwhelming it as a dessert. St-Germain, as a liqueur, also has a much lower proof than a liquor, which is perfect for a dessert like this – alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature than water, so too much alcohol in the recipe will keep the drink from freezing properly. Not this recipe: it came out just fine, fluffy and crunchy and delicious.

Blackberry St-Germain Cocktail Granita Recipe by Oh So Beautiful Paper / Photo by Sweet Root Village

Blackberry St-Germain Cocktail Granita Recipe by Oh So Beautiful Paper / Photo by Sweet Root Village

Calligraphy by Lauren Saylor of A Fabulous Fete

Styling by Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photos by Sweet Root Village for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Frozen St-Germain Daiquiri

In hoity-toity cocktail circles, the blender has become something of a joke. It’s too closely associated with the dark years of the 1980s and 1990s, when frozen drinks were sickly sweet and garishly colored from artificial mixers. But blended drinks go back – way back, to the mid-1800s, when drinks like the Absinthe Frappe were all the rage. Let’s reclaim another one: the Frozen Daiquiri.  – Andrew

Frozen St-Germain Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe by Oh So Beautiful Paper / Photo by Sweet Root Village

Frozen St-Germain Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe by Oh So Beautiful Paper / Photo by Sweet Root VillageFrozen St-Germain Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe by Oh So Beautiful Paper / Photo by Sweet Root Village

Frozen St-Germain Daiquiri

2 oz Bacardi Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz St-Germain
1/2 oz Rich Simple Syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a blender with an equal amount of crushed ice. Start to blend at the lowest setting and slowly add more crushed ice, a bit at a time, until the drink starts to fold over on itself. Pour into a chilled glass and enjoy!

Frozen St-Germain Daiquiri Recipe Card by Dinara Mirtalipova for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Illustration by Dinara Mirtalipova for Oh So Beautiful Paper

This is an easy enough technique once you’ve mastered it, but plenty easy to screw up. I recommend practicing ahead of time so you’ve nailed it down once it’s time to serve your guests. I definitely screwed up a few batches before I got the right consistency down, watering down the drink with too much ice or not blending enough and leaving the drink full of big ice chunks. The ideal frozen daiquiri is smooth enough to sip easily through a straw, but still with enough body to chew on. (As a texture eater, I love chomping on those micro-ice crystals.) It should taste just like a St-Germain daiquiri that you’d shake with ice – sweet and tart and floral – but feel like a smoothie. You might consider adding a bit more sugar, since the cold will dull your sense of taste a bit (the same reason we put so much sugar in ice cream). Delicious. Just watch out for brain freeze.

Frozen St-Germain Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe by Oh So Beautiful Paper / Photo by Sweet Root Village

Frozen St-Germain Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe by Oh So Beautiful Paper / Photo by Sweet Root Village

Calligraphy by Lauren Saylor of A Fabulous Fete

Styling by Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photos by Sweet Root Village for Oh So Beautiful Paper