How to Throw a Hot Summer Kick-Off Party

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Heat up your summer kick-off party with a refreshingly spicy SVEDKA Grapefruit Jalapeño Vodka cocktail and the perfect playlist.

We’ve been ready to come out of hibernation for a while, and finally the weather is cooperating with our plans for a summer kick-off party. To get things started with rooftop celebrating, BlackBook writers Felicity Sargent and Mark Molle are sharing what it takes to throw the ultimate party, down to the details in playlist and cocktails (like the kick of jalapeño in grapefruit flavored vodka, courtesy of SVEDKA).

There’s nothing like a dresser drink to get things started — you know, the cocktail you make to get in the mood while you’re getting the party ready. Enter the SVEDKA Dog Bite.

2 parts SVEDKA Grapefruit Jalapeño
4 parts grapefruit juice
1 slice jalapeño

Pour SVEDKA Grapefruit Jalapeño into a salt-rimmed rocks glass filled with ice. Top with grapefruit juice and stir. Garnish with a slice of jalapeño.

svedka_cocktail1_blackbook Svedka_cocktail2_blackbook svedka_cocktail3_blackbook

Next up: Tunes.

“A properly structured party playlist should naturally correspond with the three acts of a properly structured party. Let’s go ahead and pretend that we are spinning somewhere subterranean circa the late aughts,” our hosts say.

  1. The Introduction: “This is when revelers enter and prepare to cross the threshold into the party world.” (Talking Heads through The Drums)
  2. Total party immersion: “When revelers immerse themselves more and more in the party world and the party stakes rise and rise and rise until the party becomes their only world.” (The Pixies through MGMT)
  3. The beginning of the end. (Peter Bjorn and John through M83)


This next cocktail, Paloma Picante, takes center stage once the playlist is settled and guests start to filter in.

1 1/2 parts SVEDKA Grapefruit Jalapeño
3/4 part grapefruit juice
1/2 part fresh lime juice
1/2 part simple syrup
1 slice de-seeded jalapeño
lemon-lime soda


Combine ingredients, except lemon-lime soda, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with jalapeño infused ice and top with soda. Check out how here:

Hit play, serve cocktails, and make a toast. Here’s to summer!


The Cannes amfAR Party in Pictures: Zoe Kravitz, Jake Gyllenhall, Karlie Kloss + More

amfAR Cannes Zoe Kravitz & Jake Gyllenhaal
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As we well know by now, the Cannes Film Festival is about so much more than the films. Despite its celebration of artistic nuance, the surrounding festivities eschew all subtlety and restraint, and excess surely has no limit. Undoubtedly the most glamorous celluloid gathering in the universe, the star wattage culminates towards the end of the festival, when luminaries from the entertainment, fashion and philanthropy worlds collide at the Cannes amfAR Cinema Against AIDS event, now in its 22nd year.

Supermodels like Karlie Kloss, Doutzen Kroes, Adriana Lima and Joan Smalls arrived in high-style to walk a 47-piece designer black and white fashion show, curated by France’s most powerful editrix, Carine Roitfeld. Star studded fantasy packages were auctioned off, such as an intimate dinner for 12 hosted by Andrea Bocelli at either his Miami or Tuscan estate (1 million Euro), dinner on a yacht in St. Tropez with Leonardo di Caprio (250K Euro), or a package of tickets to the Golden Globes, Weinstein after party, CAA post Globes party, Spectre premiere and photo shoot with Bradley Cooper (220K Euro). But the hottest lot of the night was Jeff Koons massive Coloring Book from his Celebration Series, which commanded a whopping winning bid of over $13 Million (12M Euros) – sold to Russian oligarch and Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik, who also dropped $15 million on a Damien Hirst at the previous amfAR gala.

While celebs like Zoe Kravitz, Jake Gyllenhall and Adrien Brody mingled during the dinner, the party was energized with electrifying performances by BocelliCharli XCX, Mary J Blige, and Imagine Dragons. To cap off the glamfest, Marc Ronson got the real party started downstairs, as supermodels kicked off their heels and shimmied with stars while sipping the free flowing Moet champagne and Belvedere Vodka libations into the wee hours of the night.

Oh, and about those films – Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan won this year’s Palme D’or.

Cannes AMFAR image 1

Cannes AMFAR image 2



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Addison Group brings a touch of glam to fuddy duddy Herald Square. Swish rooftop bar on 18th floor of Courtyard Marriott continues trend of unassuming hotels proffering “destination” nightlife. Stylish interiors are all Scandinavian cool with fantastical Tom Dixon lighting and occasional touches of cheek. All leads onto sprawling terrace, where your Monarch cocktails can be taken with Empire State views. The royal way, of course.

The Fight of the Century, Boozing, and Boxing at Overthrow NY Boxing Club

boxing main
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Photo: David X Prutting/

Every so often, a sporting event captures the collective consciousness and the world jumps at the opportunity to pick sides, pick a venue and enjoy together. This past weekend was one such event, a boxing match billed as the “Fight of the Century.” The most appropriate venue, outside of Vegas, to watch two superstars duke it out happened to be the opening night celebration of the highly anticipated OVERTHROW NY Boxing Club. Housed behind an unmarked door at 9 Bleecker Street, the former residence of off-beat music, arts and activist venue The Yippie Museum, OVERTHROW officially opened its doors for the first time. This multi-floor venue houses everything from a ring and practice facility to plenty of programming for those involved. There will be classes and matches and more. And of course, there’s an underground boxing league on the basement level. OVERTHROW’s founding partner Joey Goodwin, known as “the Soho Kid” and a former Golden Gloves contender, enlisted eight trainers, including professional boxers, former Olympians, and male models. Casses starting at $34 — now might be the time to pick up some gloves.

Overthrow was named after a publication The Yippie Museum had produced over the course of its 41 year residency of the building. It aims to provide a place at the cross of boxing and punk rock. And as the evening unfolded, it became quite clear how they’ll achieve it. As tequila cocktails liquored up attendees across all three floors, raucous boxing matches mingled with DJ sets (by likes of May Kwok) and a musical performance by David Peel. Pastings, posters and installation art lined the walls. An array of high profile New Yorkers filled the venue. And when the regular programming ceased, the Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao fight commenced.

Though the fight would be a let down for most (except boxing aficionados who could bask in the slow-burning strategy), and see the highly controversial Mayweather extend his undefeated streak, the venue itself delivered an experience worth talking about. People have been waiting over five years for a MayPac battle. New Yorkers have been hearing about OVERTHROW since June 2014. The wait is over. But for those who were disappointed with the nearly $400 million dollar fight, there’s still an opportunity to step into the ring.

Charlie Himmelstein. Photo: David X Prutting/

May Kwok. Photo: David X Prutting/

Heron Preston.
 Photo: David X Prutting/

Milou Van Groesen, Alexandra Richards. Photo: David X Prutting/

Jeremy Kost, Hunter Hill. Photo: David X Prutting/

Ashley Smith. Photo: David X Prutting/

Joey Goodwin, Peter Davis. Photo: David X Prutting/

Photo: David X Prutting/


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Super-sized, so room aplenty for diversity of crowd and sound. Populist music program includes dance, hip hop, pop, and rock DJs. Big-budget sound and light, although décor is by-the-numbers: slick red circling banquettes, backlit stairs, upper balcony reserved for VIPs. Bottle service available for those still not put off by such practices.

Drunken Horse

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Galleryland gets another place to pop a cork. Wine bar focuses on Euro vintages, strong in Italian, French, and Spanish, although also straying to Cali, Australia, and Argentina. Menu nods to the Mediterranean, with hummus, falafel, lebni, and feta-stuffed phyllo rolls. Charcuterie plates a mix of Italian and Turkish. Space is rustic-minimal, brick-walled bar and lounge area up front, intimate dining room in back.


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Young Hollywood still flocks to Richie Akiva’s wood-paneled homage to deforestation. Hallway tube leads to soaring main dining space, which resembles the inside of a just-popped roll of Pillsbury dough. Chef Alex Guarnaschelli serves up surprisingly hearty grub, with heavy meats and greenmarket veggies. Downstairs Birch Room lounge carries on tree theme. Models, promoters, and assorted trustafarians strike up desultory conversations about themselves.