Fall is here! As a total homebody, I really love this time of year. The falling temperatures and shorter days call for getting cozy with friends and family, plus there’s so much incredible color in nature that inspires me when it comes to decorating. In today’s post, I wanted to share how these inspirations from the new season came to life in a recent fall dinner party I hosted. To kick off the season, I partnered with my friends at ANGOSTURA® to share my tips for hosting a memorable fall gathering. Beyond my entertaining advice, below you’ll also find tips for surprising ways you can use ANGOSTURA® bitters (hint: it’s not just in a cocktail!).1. Make it atmospheric | There’s no denying the power of music to set a mood, and I believe it’s key to ensuring a fall dinner party sets the right tone. I always like to have a playlist ready for the whole evening – it’s playing before my guests arrive and means I don’t have to worry about music running out mid-dinner. I like to play this Jazzy Romance playlist to create a cozy and romantic vibe when the heart mate and I are having a date night at home. For a relaxed fall dinner party with friends, the acoustic tones of Autumn Vibes set the perfect atmosphere, while Fall Feels is a great playlist if you want something seasonal but also upbeat.
2. Surprise your guests || A great way to make a dinner party memorable is to surprise your guests. For dessert, I took a fall classic – pumpkin pie – and added a surprising twist to the recipe: ANGOSTURA orange bitters. Have you heard of ANGOSTURA bitters? I knew it as a cocktail ingredient, but never realized that you can cook with bitters, too! On the ANGOSTURA website, they have plenty of recipe inspiration for adding ANGOSTURA aromatic and orange bitters to seasonal and year-round dishes, from sweet to savory. It was there that I found this recipe for pumpkin pie with ANGOSTURA orange bitters, a delicious twist on a fall favorite. It was there that I found the recipe for this pumpkin pie that includes aromatic bitters as a way to add a surprising twist to the classic fall dish.
ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters is made from a recipe that combines barks, roots, herbs, spices and botanicals, and I always knew it as an ingredient for adding layers of flavor to cocktails (such as an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan). It wasn’t until recently that I discovered ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters are delicious in sauces and marinades, too.
More recently, ANGOSTURA developed their signature orange bitters – the only divergence from the original recipe in almost 200 years – to provide added zest and complexity to a range of food and drink. Made from the citrus oils of tropical oranges and a blend of spices, ANGOSTURA orange bitters are the perfect fall-friendly addition to recipes using honey, cinnamon and chocolate. Yum!3. Think touch and taste | A memorable fall dinner party, of course, means you need to serve delicious food and drinks. With ANGOSTURA aromatic and orange bitters complementing and enhancing the flavors of drinks, dinner and dessert, I have taste down pat. However, the touch and feel of the evening is important, too. No, this doesn’t mean you need to go around touching all your guests (!), but rather focus on making the dining experience a tactile one. Do this by introducing textural elements to your fall tablescape that make the dinner party visibly and tangibly memorable. Essentially, you want to appeal to as many of your guests’ senses as you can. Consider layering dinner plates on wooden chargers to give a rustic, autumnal vibe, and topping your table with a linen tablecloth in a nod to the crisp crunch of fallen leaves under foot on an October stroll.
4. Embrace an unexpected palette | Color is a great way to make a fall dinner party memorable. I threw this dinner party at my beach house, which is typically decorated in a classic blue and white nautical palette. For this tablescape, I surprised my guests by switching up the usual beachy hues to reflect the colors of the season instead. Rich jewel tones layered against ochre, rust and chestnut create a warm and inviting vibe. A splash of metallic in the gold flatware offsets the natural elements of the table and gives an air of luxury to the proceedings.5. Layer up | I promise this tip isn’t just an excuse for you to buy more pillows (although we can totally make it that if you want it to be!). Here’s the thing: in a group of friends, there’s always one person who’s cold, right?! Be sure to have a light throw on the back of their chair so they can cozy up anytime. Plus, if you have banquette seating you can use that as an extension of the tabletop decor. Embrace seasonal pillows in a palette that complements the dinnerware – mixing up patterns, texture, colors and sizes to create an effortless but visually compelling assortment.
6. Seasonal touches | Use scent to invite the season in. You can do this via scented candles and fresh blooms.
Beyond scent, florals also bring drama and dimension to a fall dinner party table, while helping to pull together the color palette with one central focal point. Think maple leaves paired with a Burgundy amaryllis, for example. You can buy amaryllis bulbs year-round, and they’ll flower indoors for a long life span.TThis was such a fun dinner party to prep and host that I kinda want to do it all over again! Who’s coming over next time?! Are you hosting a fall dinner party this season? I’d love to hear your favorite ways to make your parties memorable, too!// Photography and styling by Will Taylor | This post was brought to you in partnership with Angostura.