Simple Holiday Cocktails With Simone LeBlanc

By Carmen Collins
cocktail party with simone leblanc

Choosing the perfect gifts for friends and family can be a challenge, especially when you’re shopping for those tough-to-buy for people on your list (we’ve all got ’em.) But if there’s one LA gal who’s got the art of the gift down pat, it’s Simone LeBlanc, one of the chicest women we know whose namesake business is all about making great gifting easy. We caught up with Simone at an elegant cocktail party she hosted at her home to discuss her entertaining style and favorite gifts to give this holiday season. Keep reading for details on her go-to hostess outfit, perfect dinner party playlist, and more.

photos by Jenna Peffley

What’s the one entertaining rule you rarely break?

Soft lighting from multiple sources is key. There must always be enough to drink, and make sure that nobody leaves hungry or craving sweets!

What’s your must-have entertaining tool?

A simple signature cocktail and a delicious cheese plate with fruits of the season is my must. People need to be nourished right away.

Shop: Daybreak & Moonrise chocolate bars

Where did you learn to cook?

My mom, she’s a fantastic Southern cook.

What’s your go-to source for recipes?

I love Ina Garten, Gwenyth Paltrow’s cookbooks, Pamela Salzman, and Alice Waters.

What’s your standard hostess outfit?

A dress that feels considered yet relaxed, great earrings, and a bold lip. I never wear high heels when entertaining in my home. I try to keep it chic and easy.

The perfect dinner party playlist includes:

Bossanova, jazz, and the late-night old-school greats that everyone knows the words to and hasn’t heard in ages. That’s how memories are made.

What’s the one restaurant meal you’ll never forget?

Gambas in Palamos, Spain on our honeymoon.

Your go-to centerpiece solution?

Low, loose rambling florals and foliage.

Shop: Ember candle with linen wrap

What’s your signature dish for parties?

The main dish might change, but a stunning cheese plate, both visually and for the tastes buds, is a given in our home.

And your signature cocktail?

Aperol Spritz or Mezcal, lime, and ice.

What’s your secret to a great dinner party?

Keep your mood relaxed and welcoming mixed with elegance and refinement. Your guests should feel like they’re stepping into a great friend’s home while also feeling like the evening is special. I believe in graciousness.

Who are your dream dinner guests?

A collection of new friends and old. And Michelle Obama, Georgia O’Keefe, Sheryl Sandberg, Rashida Jones, Brenée Brown — I could go on!

“It’s not a party without __________.”

Laughter and great conversation.

Shop: Leather and suede coasters