Entertaining Notes - featuring Natalie Jacob

Natalie Jacob is a bartender and blogger based in the NYC area. She has been in the hospitality industry for 15 years and has worked in various classic cocktail-focused bars - most notably, PKNY and Dutch Kills. She runs her own beverage and creative consulting business along with writing her own blog, Aresenic-Lace. Her drinks have been featured in Time Out New York, Business Insider, Wine Enthusiast and Refinery 29 (among many others). Natalie also contributes recipes to A Beautiful Mess and Palm Springs Style.

Arsenic-Lace is a cocktail blog about how to make world class drinks in the comfort of your own home. My articles focus on educating and inspiring readers to use fresh ingredients, high quality spirits, cocktails, drink history, technique and home entertaining. My inspiration comes from my professional bartending career and background in design.

I was born to be a host and my work greatly affects my entertaining style. Whether I’m hosting a guest sitting at my bar or a friend visiting me at home, I always make sure that they feel welcome and that there are plenty of drinks to go around. One of my greatest early influences has been Martha Stewart; I always use to say that I was a Martha Stewart in training. Now I’m inspired by many other bloggers. Some of my favorites are Joy the Baker, A Cozy Kitchen, Minimalist Baker, Food 52, Dine X Design and A Beautiful Mess.

I hosted an interesting cocktail party last spring with my friends from Love & Victory and Women & Whiskies. The event was hosted at a bar in Brooklyn called Tuffet, which we decorated for the occasion - I made all of the cocktails. The evening was a great excuse to have some drinks, hang out in the backyard and get together with a lot of inspiring ladies.

The cocktail that I’m most proud of creating is called Flying Down to Rio, named after my favorite Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film. It has Amburana Cachaca, banana liqueur, pineapple juice, orange juice, coconut and nutmeg in it. It is a variation on the piña colada, which is probably my favorite drink of all time.

With my bar cart, I try to be prepared with some essential tools and ingredients. I always have a cocktail shaker, mixing glass, bar spoon, strainer and jigger. It’s a good idea to have a bottle of each popular spirit so that you have something ready for all your guests, as well as an amaro for after dinner. Angostura bitters is a staple but having other bitters, like orange, chocolate and Peychaud’s, can come in handy. Always have sugar for an old fashioned or to make simple syrup. Dry and sweet vermouths should be kept refrigerated, but have them on hand for martinis and manhattans.

The greatest party tip I can give anyone is to invest in a punch bowl; make large-format cocktails so that guests can serve themselves. You can make batches of cocktails ahead of time and refill the punch bowl as needed so that you’re not in the kitchen making drinks the whole time. This gives you more time to spend with your guests, which is why you threw a party in the first place! For music, I like to play Motown and lots of Rock 'n’ Roll - mostly ’50, ‘60s, and ‘70s hits – and lots of Elvis and Frank Sinatra!

I love to drink Chopin Vodka in a classic martini with a lemon twist or in a cranberry gimlet with spiced cranberry syrup .The most important thing is to enjoy yourself and to have a good time. In the words of Lilly Pulitzer, “That’s what life is all about: Let’s have a party. Let’s have it tonight.”

Natalie’s bar cart features the limited edition Chopin Pink bottle, which we have sold every October since 2011. Chopin is committed to realizing a world without breast cancer, which is why a part of the proceeds from this bottle are donated to breast cancer research. To date, Chopin has donated $70,000 in support of this important cause.