kind: I feel antsy about hosting. It’s been so long.
Reese Wonge: The key is to take into consideration who’s coming and what their needs are. Keep in touch with everybody and stay open to their ideas or… just get everyone to commit to letting you take control! Whether it’s a brunch theme, thai full moon party or Mexican fiesta, give everyone the heads up and work from there. Canadians are craving connection more than ever and tequila is something that really brings people together. Grab a bottle of Jose Cuervo Tradicional and rally your friends. It's time to toast to the summer.
kind: A theme night sounds totally fun.
RW: Totally! And it actually makes things easier so the night’s not scattered all over the place. Plus, it’s easier to assign tasks if there’s a theme.
kind: What a treat to be able to socialize again! For those of us out of practice, what are some tips for backyard hosting?
Reese Wonge: Juice!! Have lots of juice and sparkling water around the house. I always have orange and pineapple juice because they’re perfect for mixers and chasers and I also love Fever Tree elderflower tonic water. It’s a sneaky fan favourite that a lot of people don't know about and it goes with everything.
kind: Let’s go back to the Cuervo thing. What’s the best way to serve that up to really compliment summer cocktails?
RW: For summer, I love margaritas because there’s so many different types and obviously tequila with super fresh Mexican food is the way to go. I make my margaritas shaken or frozen; sometimes super sweet, other times spicy. That’s the best thing about margaritas—there’s so many different flavours that when you’re hosting at your house, you don’t have to stick to just one.
kind: It feels good to be talking about this stuff. Feels hopeful.
RW: Agreed. With COVID, it’s hard not to feel lonely and so with the restrictions loosening up, in Canada and around the world, it’s nice to share the idea of getting together and enjoying each other with a cold, refreshing drink.
kind: How about some design ideas for freshening up the ol’ crib?
RW: Place settings are nice, table arrangements, and whether it’s a bouquet of flowers or greenery used as a runner, it pulls everything together and makes it feel special, like a holiday. I like the idea that when people come over it feels intentional. I know when I go to someone else’s place and it’s set up that it makes it feel important. Like they went out of their way to plan something.
kind: Probably the same thing would go for putting on something nice. Getting a little dressed up.
RW: I had some girlfriends who wanted to stop by ask me, Is it OK if I dress up? By all means, I said: dress to the nines. We haven’t gotten dressed up at all in the past year and half so getting out of sweatpants is fine by me. I love that.
kind: What about some tips for accentuating our Tradicional drinks?
RW: I love ice cubes. The large ice cubes in different shapes are amazing and I just love fun rocks glasses—Crate & Barrel is my favourite. I collect the hell out of glassware.
kind: How do I hook up a drink for my loved one?
RW: Garnish is great in the summer months. I have an herb garden in my window and a tiny detail like basil or mint or rimming the glass with a lime on the end just makes it feel like a party. Sometimes I garnish with grenadine and syrup but I also rim the glass with sugar and salt and add fruit on top and—you know, you’re making me want to pour a drink!
kind: Let’s both do it. What should we pour?
RW: Let’s have a Tequila Paloma. It’s a grapefruit drink where the tartness of the grapefruit cuts through the tequila or let’s mix the tequila with a little pineapple juice or coconut water. We can sip on some of those and it’s a party.
To follow along at Bar Wonge, see @reesewonge.
1½ oz Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado
Makes 1 serving.
Build all ingredients in a highball with ice, stir and garnish.