When I was around 24 years old, my friends and I created an exclusive membership-only organization: Cocktail Club. My girlfriend Nicole was the President, Richard was either co-President or Vice President, and I was probably the Secretary or something like that.
Here were the rules (as I remember them, which means maybe this didn’t happen at all, but if it did, it went more or less like this):
- Once a month, a Cocktail Club member would host a cocktail party. I think it was always on a Thursday night.
- The host chose the venue, and supplied things like cups, napkins, food/hors d’oeuvres, juice and other mixers.
- The guests brought the alcohol. Entrance to a Cocktail Club party was only allowed under 2 strict conditions: 1. The invite, and 2. Each guest had to bring one unopened bottle of alcohol. Vodka, Rum, lots of wine, cases of beer… entry was denied to any guest who showed up – member or non-member – who didn’t bring their “entrance ticket.” Didn’t matter if you came as a couple – two people meant two bottles. (With this system, even though people drank a lot at each party, the host was always left with a bottles and bottles of leftover wine & alcohol.)
- Members attending the party were allowed to bring one, and only one, non-Cocktail Club member.
- The host, on the other hand, could invite anyone he/she wanted. So the parties always had completely different feels to them, depending on who was hosting, where they were hosting, and who their crowd of non-Cocktail Club member friends were.
I asked Nicole if she had the original copy of the RULES but sadly, she didn’t. She did, however, remember two rules I had forgotten:
- 1. Only clear or light-colored liquids allowed. This rule, I believe, went into effect following the party at our friend Katie Brown’s Hancock Park mansion (rented from the King of Malaysia, if memory serves) where I gracefully managed to spill my glass of red wine all over her white sofa. This was the same Katie Brown who went on to give Martha Stuart a run for her money with her cooking TV shows, workshops, etc… Whoops.
- 2. As soon as the party was over, people had to leave immediately. No stragglers. This way, the host would never have to worry about dealing with energy-suckers after hours.
My friend Caroline hosted her event at the Chateau Marmont, supposedly in the same bungalow where John Belushi died. One person hosted his at a comedy club. Another outside, in a lush garden. I hosted my event in my Spanish style, hardwood floor apartment. People like Margaret Cho showed up and got drunk with the rest of us.
What happened to cocktail club? In a word: Rehab.
Two of our core founding members went into AA and Al-Anon, others of us “cut down” or completely stopped partying, and the whole thing promptly fizzled.
And in another word: Love! (My friend Caroline met her future husband and the father of her 2 kids at cocktail club, too.)
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)