Nog, Nog— Who’s There?
Effortless Holiday Entertaining
Amy Beth Cupp wears many creative hats. She’s a stylist, an artist, and has completed culinary school as well as a floral-design program. She also loves to entertain and likes to keep it simple, be it a dinner party for ten or a holiday get together on a Saturday afternoon. Good friends, great hors d’oeuvres, festive decorations, and, of course, the perfect libations. For Cupp that means whipping up a batch of her famous eggnog. “It’s my aunt’s recipe from my childhood,” says Cupp. “She made it every Christmas Eve when I was a girl and she’d bring it to my grandmother’s house where we always had holiday dinner. I never do a holiday party without it.”
Cupp and her husband Scott Dragoo have lived in the northwest corner for many years and now own the former Rooster Tail Inn in Warren, reincarnated as 11 Cornwall Road. They use one of the public rooms as a venue for their own holiday entertaining. Cupp keeps the décor festive but easy to create: a beautifully shaped Christmas tree trimmed with only colored lights, table arrangements of magnolia leaves and red berries, and garlands down the center of the table with red bows. And, of course, food and drinks. “I tend to think of the party as an art installation. Starting with the guest list, choosing the invitation, decorating the space, planning the food, and making sure it’s all in place by the time guests arrive,” says Cupp.
“A drinks station is set up and the Champagne and wine are on ice. Everyone gets into a party mode immediately and I want to be able to enjoy my guests and not have to worry about last minute details.”
Cupp keeps the food seasy to serve and perfectly presented: a variety of cheeses, paté, a charcuterie platter, a variety of sliced organic vegetables, fresh bread, crisp crackers—easily handled finger food. And she does all the baking herself.
“The week before the party I bake my heart out. I make all the traditional cookies I grew up with and made with my mom and grandma. I also make Swedish tea ring, Nun’s cake, and, everyone’s favorite, chocolate chip pumpkin bread.”
For this particular holiday gathering Cupp and Dragoo invited guests to come late afternoon so that even if they have another engagement later, there would be time to enjoy the festivities. A relaxed atmosphere, cozy fire, laughter, new friends, old friends, their beloved standard poodle Tauren, and enough to eat and drink. A nice formula for a successful party. And Cupp does it with grace, ease, and great style.