Cocktails & Candy, Anyone?

By Lara Shriftman
Photograhy by Amy Neunsinger for

Candy, sweets, and yummy cocktails are at the top of everyone’s guilty pleasure list.  So why not treat yourself and your friends to a night of bliss by throwing a festive “Cocktails & Candy Party” like the photo shoot I hosted at my home for Here’s how you can charm your guests at your next gathering…

Entertaining a great deal can be both invigorating and exhausting: invigorating because hosting is always fun and exhausting because creating new and different themes can sometimes be a challenge. One of my favorite entertaining shoots I’ve ever done is for a new card line for, which is a one-stop web destination for modern celebrations and home entertaining.

For every reason to celebrate, they’ve got ideas, tools, and products to help you do that… all with personal style. Cocodot, like The Society Diaries, wants everything related to entertaining to be beautiful, useful, indulgent, and optimistic. The site aims to inspire and help you creatively approach challenges related to entertaining and celebrating. We teamed with Amy Neunsinger, who has photographed for Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, In Style, and W, to create the imagery for this shoot. For my first collection on Cocodot we did a “Cocktails and Candy” shoot that has inspired a line of online invitations, thank you notes, and social stationary. So, what are you waiting for? Turn any ordinary cocktail party into your own Cocktail & Candy Party.


  • Always invite more than expected to compensate for people who don’t attend.
  • Send Cocodot invites to guests and confirm all RSVP’s.
  • Create the invite and do the thank you notes & social stationary at the same time.


  • Figure out a color scheme. Our color scheme is black and white with a hint of pink and gold, inspired by my living room.
  • Go through everything in your home. Look for glasses, vases, and bowls that are different shapes & heights and then arrange them creatively. I created a candy bar on my console table and I put out containers in different heights and then figured out the candy allocation.
  • I used black, linen cocktail napkins and a swaths of black fabric to add some texture to the table. I also enlisted feathers to create the tablescaping.
  • Set up a fully-stocked interactive candy bar for your guests to enjoy. Make sure to have plenty so you don’t run out. I bought black and white lollipops, black and white stirrers, white lollipops, white gum-balls, and marshmallows. Utilize any candy that looks great and colorful, and can fill bowls attractively. Glass always looks great.
  • I created the same theme on my center cocktail table in the living room and created one centerpiece. Make sure to have scoops for the self serve candy and  always over buy the candy (you can always donate it or use it to make gift bags).
  • Create a signature cocktail and prepare it ahead of time. Then, figure out how you are going to serve it to go with the cocktails and candy theme.
  • The lead designer from Cocodot created an incredible monogram and I then had cookies, labels, and gift bags custom made using that monogram.
  • We set up the bar on another console using gold glasses and gold display trays. I also incorporated the candy and cut pink roses by placing them in the glasses. A  large, round glass bowl was filled with ice to chill the Grey Goose vodka and another glass to use rock candy as stirrers.
  • Buy an adult piñata, make sure you have some sexy masks on hand, too, like the one we had from Kiki Mon Pardu.


  • Use candy garnishes like rock candy stirrers and gummy bear toothpicks.

Cocktails & Candy Drink Recipes

Make sure you decorate the trays for serving with candy, flowers and feathers. A variety will punch up any tray and make the drinks more enticing.

Tootsie Roll Grey Goose Martini

  • 6 part Grey Goose vodka
  • 1 part Godiva chocolate liquor
  • 1 part Grand Marnier
  • Tootsie Roll Log for Stir stick

Mint and Key Lime Gimlet

  • 2 gallons simple syrup with 1/2 gallon chopped mint
  • 1 Gallon lemon juice
  • This is the base and it sits for a couple days, then strained
  •  It is shaken with Grey Goose vodka and finished with a splash of sparkling water garnished with fresh mint over ice. So refreshing.


  • Have cellophane bags and stickers at the interactive candy bar next to the variety of candy so everyone can fill their own gift bag with their favorite treats to take home and/or give away fun party books like Dylan’s Candy Bar: Unwrap You Sweet Life.
  • More sweetly inspired goodies to add to your gift bag could be Candy Land board game, a colorful tooth brush, candy flavored lip balm, or inexpensive candy scented nail polish. No doubt your guests will love their sweet treats and spirits party that will inspire their own entertaining endeavors.