Socially Savvy: Marrakech in Minneapolis

Distance from home provides the opportunity to experience hospitality in new ways. A different location, be it your backyard or a different region of the world, gives us new perspectives on entertaining. Kim Havey doesn’t hesitate to share his travels with friends. His most recent trip to Morocco was the theme for his latest get-together; call it Marrakech in Minneapolis.

Kim is master of the fast, fun, and friendly party. Playful themes, email invitations and simple expectations are keys to his continued successes. More of an open house then private event, a party at Kim’s is always a blast.

Adorned from head-to-toe in loose-fitting white linen clothes and pointed-toed slippers, Kim’s attire befitted the theme (he brought back so many outfits he probably paid tariffs). With views of Hennepin Avenue from his 5th floor condominium, Kim and his friends gathered on a steamy summer evening to celebrate his return, and his birthday.

Guests arrived through the open door and were greeted by vacation slides on the television. The photographs of his travels to ‘The Land of the Farthest West’ were awash with brilliant blue skies, whitewashed stucco, golden sand, deep pinks & violet (the famous colors of Morocco). Kim’s eye for detail tied in his usual space, right down to the arched glass doors on the kitchen cabinetry that recall the Moorish arches of Marrakech.

Many party guests arrived in costume like their host wearing fabulous wraps and hats. The most popular accessory seemed to be the fez, the cylindrical felt chapeau that often sports a tassel. Not since the last Shriners Convention have so many fezes been in the same room. Beautiful barista Louise poured colorful cocktails to nourish the guests. One cocktail was aptly named the Feztini, a blue concoction with a tasty bite. Accompanying the cocktails was a selection of wines, mostly hostess gifts from previous parties. A simple table of appetizers kept everyone nibbling, with accents of lemon and mint on traditional Mediterranean foods like hummus & pita along with exotic flavors like curry.

What makes Kim Havey’s parties so easy (for guests & hosts alike) is their simplicity. They start early, around happy hour, so it doesn’t tie up a whole evening, unless you choose to let it. The guests are notified well in advance to get on their calendars, via e-mail evite. The food is kept very simple, finger foods and dips, so refilling and clean-up is a snap. And most importantly there are no expectations, so guests may come as they are and feel free to leave when they’d like.

Bringing your travel experiences into your entertaining keeps fresh ideas flowing, consider these tips:

• Look for inexpensive trinkets or clothes that can help complete a theme. Local markets are wonderful resources.

• Take wonderful photographs, even just a few. When you return you can place them in frames around the rooms you’re entertaining in or simply play them on a video monitor like Kim did.

• Take note of flavor on your travels. A key ingredient can help carry your party theme.

The signature drink of Kim’s soiree, the bold color on this cocktail adds instant décor.

Feztini
This tasty cocktail was served at the party. It takes a day to prep, but it’s worth the wait.
In a shaker combine:
2oz. white rum
1oz. pineapple juice
½ oz. Blue Curacao
½ oz. lime juice

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a sour cherry.

Mint is one of the signature flavors found throughout Morocco and by combining it with orange liqueur, it brightens the taste buds.

Green Tea Martini
In a shaker combine:
2oz. mint green tea vodka
1oz. Grand Marnier
1oz. fresh lemon juice

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a fresh mint sprig or lemon wedge.

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