Success Stories from Our Book

We love hearing from you, especially when you are writing to tell us that our book Cocktail Parties, Straight Up! helped you throw a great party. Here are a few entertaining success stories we've received recently. We hope they inspire you to start planning a wonderful party of your own.

Before I read (and memorized certain portions of) Cocktail Parties, Straight Up!, I had never thrown a cocktail party. The practical and refreshingly specific advice offered by the Purcell Sisters inspired me to throw a Valentine's party that we have made an annual event. The Pink Panther was such a hit our first year that we made it again this year, and all of the hors d'oeuvres we have made have been wonderful (and, fortunately for me, easy to make)! From the tips on food and drink to the not-so-obvious but still crucial tips on lighting, music and logistics, Cocktail Parties, Straight Up! is a fantastic resource for the wary hostess.

-Tama Donovan, Massachusetts


I love Cocktail Parties, Straight Up! The theme parties are great ideas that I fantasize making into reality. And the cocktails all sound killer. But the recipes are what I find gets the RSVPs on the line when I send out invites. Especially the spicy sausage squares. They are so popular, this year I made 200 of them for our annual Christmas party and there were only 8 of them left over for our hangover breakfast the next morning! I made them to bring to family friends at the holidays as well. When I went into the kitchen to refill the tray, there was the host hunched over the pan with one square in his hand and one in his mouth! Now that is a good hors d'oeuvre!

-Meg D'Incecco, New York

I wanted to thank you for your book! Desperately looking for some fun ideas for my second cocktail party (the first was ho-hum boring), I found your book at Barnes & Noble. Right away I knew that the "Between the Sheets" party would be perfect.

As you referenced in your book, Ping Pong balls are irresistible. By midnight they were flying everywhere, and by 2 AM every kitchen utensil was being used like a makeshift racket. It was a blast! People are still talking about that party.

Thank you again!!!

- April Hladczuk, Pennsylvania

I just mailed your book as a thank you gift to a cousin who helped out a great deal at my husband's "Big Fat Greek 40th Birthday Cocktail Party." She just raved about the food. I'll have to make sure that I get your next book autographed! Anyhow, I thought I would share my theme with you since it was such a successful event. My husband who is Greek turned 40 in December. We made the baby lamb chops with rosemary mustard cream, wild mushroom tartlets (big, big hit!), the artichoke and green olive dip, asparagus spears with lemon dipping sauce, tomato-basil-mozzarella skewers, and Greek kalamata olives for the bowl food. I know I had one extra hors d'oeuvre but all the recipes sounded so good I had a hard time limiting the menu.

The signature drinks were "The Adonis" and "Aphrodite's Love Potion". My mother-in-law made additional, authentic Greek pastries and I had a photo album of my husband's "40 years" circulating and had everyone sign the book. Everyone enjoyed the party, from the invitations to the food and drink. Thank you so much for the inspiration and great recipes. I can't wait until my next party. Oh, and by the way, I had been in the hospital for over 3 weeks prior to the party and was still able to pull it off successfully because of your book!  Thank you again!

-Sue Stavridis, Ontario

I threw a "Make Your Own Martini" party this past Saturday, and it was wildly successful.  Many comments the night of the party and several phone calls since all said GREAT party, one of the best among our groups of friends, co-workers and neighbors.  We had 45 guests, but the theme worked well with catered food and a spillover onto the deck.  People who typically would not strike up conversation (my daughter's softball coach and a Yahoo VP) were mixing and shaking together like old friends. It was incredible to see the new connections being made while discussing martini flavors and recommendations to the next "station."

Thank you for helping elevate our party experience to a new level.  I am truly looking forward to the next one - I think we'll be doing the Map-Happy theme!

-Kristen Beeman Pruitt, North Carolina

I absolutely love your book.  It is time to throw a another Martini Madness party at the Valentino residence.  Your pork tenderloin recipe with the two sauces was a definite hit at my last martini party. As a matter of fact, it was such a hit I had to check the kitchen: Did I put it out there, where did it go? Ha! Like magic, it was gone, and people had that "cat that ate the canary" look on their face. Note to self, double batch next time! Keep up the good work. Look forward to another great book from you both!

-Susan Johns Valentino, California