With her infamous pink Chanel suit and matching pillbox hat, Jackie Kennedy Onassis is seen as one of the biggest style icons of the 20th century. As First Lady, she elevated the White House from stodgy and conservative to a place of comfort and wide eyed, Camelot-style optimism.
Although she passed away in 1994, the anniversary of her birth this Saturday is the perfect time to celebrate the refined glamour that became her trademark.
Yet it wasn’t just fashion and dinner party entertainment that upon which she left her mark. She also elevated the role of the cocktail – and for that we all need to be eternally grateful.
It is said that she scandalised Washington society by introducing pre-dinner cocktails rather than the traditional Punch. Although the press complained that everything was just getting a bit “too French”, everyone adapted fairly quickly to the tradition.
A Cocktail Created For Her
The former first lady visited Cambodia in 1967 and had an honorary cocktail created for her at the capital’s Hotel Le Royal, now owned by Raffles hotels.
Called the Femme Fatale, it is still on the hotel’s menu as the signature drink in the Elephant Bar. As elegant as you’d expect, it’s a mix of Crème De Fraise Des Bois (a Wild Strawberry Liqueur), Cognac and Champagne, topped with a tropical flower.
When Raffles bought and fully renovated the premises in 1997, they claim to have found the glass she drank from, complete with red-lipstick stain. Poetic licence? Perhaps…
While Jackie may have had a reputation for drinking Champagne whenever she could, she was also a bit of a devote to cocktails. Aside from the Femme Fatale that was made for her, Jackie had a fondness for Daiquari’s and any cocktail with the French aperitif, Lillet.
As far as the Daiquiri is concerned, the Kennedy version is a subtle riff on the original. As well as the Rum, Lime and Syrup, Jackie was well known for adding a little Falernum to the mix for that hit of almond-y spice.
If you are going to pick a Lillet cocktail for the party, then we think you can’t go past the rather fun cocktail, the Right Word. A mix of Lillet Blanc, Gin, St Germain and Lime, this is a rather elegant
Although the Kennedys embodied the spirit of American optimism, Jackie’s tastes were decidedly French and one of the first things she did as First Lady was hire Rene Verdon, a French chef then working in New York. With this in mind, we thought the food as this little soiree needed to have a particularly French flair.
Crudité platters are the classic vegetable appetiser and perfect for a cocktail party. Here are a selection of recipes to make the ultimate crudité platter.
If you are after something sweeter, Chocolate covered Strawberries are an easy and relatively guilt-free treat for your guests.
This is a cocktail party definitely for the girls as mimicking the fashion style of Jackie Kennedy Onassis will be what really makes this party a winner.
The boys will probably have to stick to the suiting style of the time – plain black, single breasted suits, with a thin tie and a white shirt – jacket optional.
To embrace the Kennedy Onassis style, you are looking for cocktail dresses with a chic but effortless profile. The dresses that she wore, especially in her years as First Lady, had somewhat of a patrician feel in their simplicity. They were simple gowns, beautifully made and all clinched in at the waist.
Simple block shapes, in block colours, with a clean, simple cut, provide the wearer with polished elegance. No matter how crazed you are before you throw one on, afterward you’re all cool, calm grace. Sand let’s face it a defined waist hides a multitude of sins. While a satin fabrics are ideal for cocktail parties, this style can really be executed in any fabric and dressed up (or down) as desired.
We put together a little music to help you channel that Jackie O feeling and get the cocktails flowing.
If you are unsure what you’ll talk about, then we have a few articles that can provide some fun facts for you and your guests.
- 20 Fascinating Facts About Former First including how much she spent to renovate the White House kitchens
- Jackie Kennedy’s meticulous style – recently found handwritten note outlining her fashion choice
- The dos and don’ts of being a first lady: from Jackie Kennedy to Melania Trump
- The Top Eight Quotes from the Jackie Kennedy Tapes
- How a Groundbreaking Interior Designer Helped Jackie O. Change the White House