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A Night in Marrakech

Written by: Celia Chen

Dreaming of an exotic vacation but just can’t seem to get away? Hosting a theme party inspired by your desired destination might be the perfect antidote to your wanderlust.

We’ve chosen the far away land of Morocco as our party theme because of its rich entertaining tradition and visually stunning design. Throw together a few colorful accent pieces with some mood lighting to set the scene. Then prepare a menu of fragrant foods served family style and, of course, a festive cocktail to welcome and transport guests to your Night in Marrakech!

The signature drink of Morocco, green tea with mint is served all day and night to visitors that come into your home. The act of serving tea to your guests is a sign of hospitality and friendship.

Inspired by these refreshing flavors, we suggest you offer your party guests a Honey Mint Lemonade Cooler, which is made from Stirrings® Simple™ Lemon Drop and Stirrings® Simple™ Mojito Mixers, honey and freshly chopped mint. Add a dash of vodka to turn it into an elegant evening cocktail that will pair well with the spice-laden foods of Morocco.

Moroccan cuisine is a mélange of flavors from the Middle East, Africa and the Mediterranean. Spices are at the heart of all of these recipes and enrich all of the slow-cooked savory stews and buttery meats.

Cooked and served in colorful tagines (ceramic or clay cookware with a domed lid), these vegetable and meat stews are served family style with a side of cous cous.

For your Night in Marrakech dinner party, we share a few of our favorite go-to recipes including Six Spice Moroccan Chicken, Vegetable Tagine and Apricot Almond Cous Cous. These simple dishes are packed with flavor, brightly colored and hearty enough to feed a group.

When it comes to theme parties, the biggest planning pitfall is going overboard with the theme itself. It’s all about bringing together a few key elements of event design to create an ambiance and mood. You don’t have to be literal to give your guests an extraordinary experience – let their imaginations fill in the rest. Better yet, let you guests contribute to the party by asking them to come dressed in inspired Moroccan attire. Kaftans, sarongs, fez hats and colorful slippers worn by partygoers would create a wonderful backdrop to your dinner.

For event décor ideas, explore the vibrant colors associated with the country. Look for combinations of red, dark pink and orange or peacock blue and emerald green for your color palettes. Festive fabrics that are embroidered with gold accents can be used as tablecloths or floor coverings. A low seating area for dinner can be created around a coffee table with oversized pillows and mats. Scatter rose petals on the floor and all over the dining table.

Lighting can be achieved through lots of candlelight. Miniature Moroccan glasses for tea often come in a variety of colors with gold patterns and can be used as votives to decorate your table. Try to find or rent traditional Moroccan metal lanterns with ornate cutout patterns, which cast a romantic and exotic glow.

A seasoned event planner and entertaining expert, Celia Chen is the Founder and Editorial Director of Notes on a Party, an online magazine about entertaining that celebrates Events from the Inside Out™. For more inspiration, ideas and tips on party planning, visit www.notesonaparty.com

©2011 Diageo, Norwalk, CT. Please Drink Responsibly.

Add a little sparkle to your sangria with Stirrings® Grapefruit soda. Ingredients 3 oz Stirrings® Simple Red Sangria Cocktail Mixer 1.5 oz Ketel One® Vodka .5 oz Pink Grapefruit Soda Garnish optional: lime wedge Directions Pour ingredients in a highball glass over ice. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

A summer-time favorite you can enjoy all year long.

1 oz Stirrings® Peach Liqueur
1 oz Myers's® Platinum Rum
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz Stirrings® Simple Syrup
2.5 oz water or club soda

Garnish: Citrus wedges
Fill a shaker full with ice and the first 4 ingredients, shake well and strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Top with the soda water. Garnish with Citrus wedges.

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