Words: Evan Siegel

If there’s one word that describes Patrick Janelle’s style, it’s “eclectic”. 'There's not necessarily one sort of seamless style,' he explains, 'but I think that when you can really bring things together that you just love, it's going to work.' His apartment in New York’s SoHo neighborhood is a museum of keepsakes from the far-flung travels he shares on Instagram with his 430,000 followers. Known simply as @aguynamedpatrick, Janelle curates experiences (both on his feed and through his event series, "The Gathering”) that, like his handle, are understated and elegant. Here, he shares his tips for hosting during the holidays.

'I have a small one-bedroom, 500 square feet apartment. It's very cozy. I've put it together in just the way that I want it, but I can't really have more than six people over at a time: it's just not really comfortable, especially for eating a meal. So I do it one of two ways. Either I have four to six people over, and this is who I'm having over for Thanksgiving, and that's that. Or, I just make food, cooking throughout the day and I invite people to come over any time that they're free. So, depending on people's schedules, I'll say "come over and have cinnamon rolls in the morning," "come over and have lunch or early supper," or "come over for a proper dinner or a nightcap..."

I'm a huge proponent of the fact that Thanksgiving is a time when you invite people who you may not even know as well, or people who don't otherwise have friends or family in town who might be interested in joining you for the meal. I love an eclectic mix, where you have some really close friends and somebody who's more of an acquaintance. One year I was getting coffee on Thanksgiving morning, and my barista was working until the coffee shop closed at 3. I asked what he was doing and he was like, "oh, I don't have any plans." I was like, "oh my God, come over for Thanksgiving dinner." So our barista came over and had Thanksgiving dinner with us. So that, I feel, embodies the true spirit of both Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving, and that is something I'm a huge advocate for.

My brothers and I created this app called The Liquor Cabinet, which is essentially a cocktail recipe app. The great thing about it is if you don't have a wide knowledge of cocktails, either the variety that exist or you don't necessarily use the recipes for the cocktails, this is a really good resource, because the foundation for the app is 120 classic cocktails. [When it comes to cocktail selection,] there's two directions you can go. One is a spritzy, light thing, because everything else [on Thanksgiving] is going to be very filling and heavy, so I think it can be nice to have something that has a sparkle to it… [The second is] doing something that you think of more as a wintertime drink: something that's whiskey-based; something that could either be like a whiskey sour - like lemon and whiskey - or something a little boozier, like one of my favorite drinks is a blood & sand, which is scotch based.'

On Drinks

'It depends on what experience you want. You either have something that's super easy to prepare, like in this case, we made an amaro spritz, which is three ingredients. Or, if you want to have a cocktail you can go back to throughout the day, prebatching in advance is something that not necessarily a lot of people think about doing but it's basically like making a punch of yesteryear. You can prebatch any cocktail and it'll be delicious. In the past I've offered guests the opportunity to make their own, but a lot of times I find that people are uncomfortable making cocktails because they don't have a lot of experience doing it themselves. So if you have a few different cocktails set up - where you have the right ingredients and spirits - and little cards with the instructions for how to make them, then guests can make their own.'

Setting the Scene

'I think that it is important to know some of the things you really want to have to make an afternoon or evening great. For me, personally, the way I like to entertain, I always like some sort of fresh foliage or flowers. I enjoy even just going to the bodega and grabbing some things to put together; that's a fun activity for me... I love to have candles burning, whether it's a scented candle, or regardless, I think it's important to have taper candles or tea candles - candles for lighting - I think can set a really nice mood. I always love to make sure that there's music playing, so to have either settled on a playlist that you've put together or a playlist that you know that you love and is right for the holidays, but to make sure the music's always playing is really important, too.'

On Cooking

'I'm not huge on traditions. There are certain favorite cookbook recipes that are really fitting for Thanksgiving that I've used time and time again, but I think I'm actually more interested in being creative and exploring new dishes. One year we did an all-vegetarian Thanksgiving; we didn't even do a bird, we didn't do a protein. I think that that's really fun, because my favorite thing at Thanksgiving is all the side dishes, anyway. One year, I did duck instead of turkey. While I love traditions, it's interesting to think about what you actually want and what you really love and riff on the idea of the holiday meal, more than feeling like you're bound to have specific things.'

On indulgence

'I think of indulgence as something that's almost like a daily ritual. I don't think that you need to have a special moment of the year to indulge. I think you should give yourself permission to know the things you really love and that are fulfilling for you and be willing to indulge in those things regularly. So, for me, I love good food, and I'm going to indulge in having good food, whether that's things I make at home or going to a restaurant that I really love, and I don't necessarily need to wait for a special occasion. It's more important for me to indulge in a moment when I feel like that would be really fulfilling for me.'

'Let's be honest, when you have an eclectic mix of people it can be awkward and it can be funny. That's going to be the case regardless. It's just embracing the fact that things can be awkward or funny; sometimes things can go wrong. All of that is ok, because the whole point is to show generosity to your friends and yourself, to give yourself time to do the things you love and be open to other people.'


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