written by:
August 29, 2012

It took a small army of contributing writers and photographers to bring the stories in our first-ever entertaining issue, Open House (September 2012), to life. Many are consummate hosts themselves and we polled a few to get the low down on their go-to recipes and party advice. Read on for mixology tips, an easy summer meal, and one way to set the vibe for a casual get together that involves a muted surf movie.

Kevin Sintumuang, writer of "Above the Fray"

"If you're visiting my home, whether it's a dinner party or you're just swinging by, you're going to be drinking. I like to start people off with an easy classic before I move into cocktails with Fernet Branca or tastings of aged rums. I often run out of staples like rice and pasta and milk, but the kitchen is never without ingredients for a gin and tonic or a Manhattan.

For a G+T I always have either Fever Tree or Q tonic on hand. A quality tonic really makes the drink—I'd argue it's more important than the gin.

I like to make my Manhattans with Carpano Antica, it's the king of sweet vermouths, and a rye whiskey, usually from Rittenhouse or Michter's. If I had the storage space, I'd buy these things by the case."

Kevin's recipes:

2 to 3 ounces rye whiskey
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 to 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Cherry garnish is optional.

Gin & Tonic
2 ounces gin
4 ounces chilled tonic
1 lime wedge
Fill a highball or rocks glass with gin, ice and then tonic. Stir gently and garnish with lime wedge.

Alissa Walker, writer of "American Pastoral"

Tomato Pie by Alissa Walker

Read more about Alissa's recipe for Tomato Pie on gelatobaby.com.

"This time of year, I like to make something quick, simple, and savory that I can cook well in advance and then turn my attention to the important part of the party: THE COCKTAILS. This tomato pie is an incredible way to take advantage of August's farmers market bounty but it won't keep you in the kitchen for more than an hour. All you need to round out this summer meal is a little salad on the side and maybe some watermelon for dessert. Enjoy!" Click here to read Alissa's recipe.

Addie Broyles, writer of "Trailer Flash"

"I've been drinking calimochos—a drink made with red wine, Coca-Cola, and a squeeze of lemon juice, served over ice—since I lived in Spain. For entertaining, it's a way to use up wine that isn't exactly top notch or even leftover from last night's dinner. Mexican or cane-sugar Coke works the best and I like to run the lemon peel around the rim of the glass just before serving. It's the perfect hot weather drink and because it's not as boozy as cocktails or straight wine since it's about 50 percent soda." Click here for a calimochios recipe from Addie.

Erika Heet, writer of "Borrego Springs Eternal"

"Since my family and I live up in the woods, it's hard to keep things on hand. For surprise guests and neighbors I always try to have a bottle of good vodka in the freezer (Stoli at minimum), a jug of cranberry juice in the fridge, plenty of ice, and bottles of Pellegrino in the cupboard—in glass, not plastic. I attempt to get a fresh loaf of French bread every day or two, which can be quickly sliced down and set out with Jarlsberg, ham, warm Brie, and olive oil with salt, pepper, and rosemary for dipping. We pop a Bruce Brown surf movie in and mute it so we can chat, then stream King Tubby dub from Grooveshark. Oh, also very important: I always have a string of party lights ready to plug in to keep things festive regardless of the season."

Brian Finke, photographer of "Above the Fray"

BBQ by Brian Finke

Photographer Brian Finke's backyard BBQ.

"The summer BBQ is regular event and smoked baby back ribs are a favorite: spare ribs from the local butcher, marinated in Bone Suckin' dry rub for a day, then finished off with a hefty lathering of Dinosaur's original BBQ sauce after 2 1/2 hours on the smoker."

Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano, writers of "Party Down"

"Our radio show is designed to help people win dinner parties. In our latest episode Molly Ringwald gives etiquette tips, we learn the history of swing music, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt tells us what snails have in common with the milky way."

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