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Award-Winning Author, Designer, and Entertaining Expert

An authority on entertaining and event planning, Mark Addison is the author of Cocktail Chameleon, named "Best Cocktail Book in the US" and "Best in the World" Silver Medal at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

His New York-based event production company EVENTSTYLE produces events for launches, fundraisers, and galas around the world.

Influenced by one of his favorite cocktails, Mark shows us how to design a bold, bright spring table with SFERRA's Festival collection. In the process, Mark gives his advice for prepping and planning your event with charm and grace.

“My goal is always to surprise and delight, adding a touch of whimsy in every element

and then threading it through the design, the menu, and of course, the drinks.

“My goal is always to surprise and delight, adding a touch of whimsy in every element and then threading it through the design, the menu, and of course, the drinks.


SFERRA: What is your advice for a successful spring gathering?

MARK ADDISON: My top entertaining rule is my 50/50 rule. First, plan your event with at least 50% tried-and-true recipes and decorations. Practice new recipes and elements ahead of time.

Second, aim to execute 50% of your party plan days and even weeks before your event. Include as much menu preparation and set up as possible. Do not overlook the ice and tasks such as invitations, menu planning, and shopping.

Third, your menu should consistent of 50% room temperature hors d’oeuvres and side dishes that you can prepare in advance. The other half of the menu should be hot or freshly prepared items that you can finish cooking while guests are mingling. Always have a selection of bites outnever leave guests wanting food.

S: Walk us through the inspiration behind your signature Sangria Flora and how this cocktail inspired your SFERRA tablescape.

M: The inspiration for this table was Sangria Flora from my book Cocktail Chameleon. It has a delightful bouquet, not only from the wine and tequila but also from the elderflower liqueur and floral salt rim. I like to get creative with brightly colored and flavor-rich fruits like raspberries, strawberries, sliced red and green grapes, and mandarin oranges. The flower garnish is a lovely finishing touch.

Using SFERRA’s Festival collection, I chose a color palette inspired by the colors of the Sangria Flora—Orchid and Coral were the two primary colors for the dinner napkins and placemats, and I added another layer of Tangerine and Pale Pink dinner napkins to add a peekaboo of color.

I also worked with Italian artist Alessandra Fabre Repetto to custom design the whimsical hand-painted flower napkin rings with colors taken directly from the Festival color chart. The napkin rings twist around the napkins organically, with the yellow and green ginkgo leaves playfully springing out from behind the linens.


1 bottle (750 ml) dry white wine
1 c. elderflower liqueur
4 oz. orange liqueur
4 oz. blanco tequila
1/2 c. mixed green and red seedless grapes
1/2 c. sliced strawberries
1/2 c. raspberries
1/2 c. mandarin orange sections
6 mandarin orange wheels
Floral Salt
Simple syrup

Combine the first 9 ingredients in a pitcher, then cover and refrigerate for 4-8 hours. Before serving, moisten the rim of the glasses with simple syrup and dredge it in the floral salt. Fill the glasses with ice and divide the cocktail and fruit among them. Garnish each cocktail with an edible flower.