Whenever I find myself at my father and his wife Tracy’s home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, there is always some sort of magical concoction Tracy has whipped up for everyone to enjoy. Entertaining and hosting parties is probably one of our family’s favorite things to do. Whether it’s an impromptu pool party or a family holiday get together, you can bet there is a signature cocktail to go along with the occasion. I asked Tracy if she would be up for creating a cocktail with us and she jumped at the opportunity.

Tracy has been a very influential female in my life, especially on my journey launching SipCozy. It always takes a village, and nothing is more amazing than the group of women who have helped support the growth and development of this company. I sat down with Tracy and asked her some questions about mindfulness, entertaining and, of course, how she gets cozy!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“You can do anything you set your mind to.” Although it’s a grammatically incorrect sentence, it’s the best advice I’ve ever received and it came to me on a small sheet of paper at the end of a yoga class. Students were asked to write down a message, leave it in a basket and choose one on the way out. I still have this piece of paper today.

What are some activities in your wellness routine?
I wouldn’t call it a routine but I like to do all of the following at least once a week: weightlifting, beach biking, yoga, and jogging (at a very slow pace) on the beach.

Do you have any advice or tips for someone who is struggling to maintain a balance between work and life?
If you’re lucky enough to work for yourself there is no avoiding the intertwining of your work and personal life. However, feeling the need to compartmentalize is perfectly normal. Try to set your work hours for the same time-frame every day. If possible, rent a co-work space in your area so you can be around others. Don’t read work emails after hours, don’t do personal tasks during work hours and most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself — some weeks might be 70-hour weeks and others just 20. Just accept the ebb and flow of your workload and enjoy each present moment without fear of its passing and without thinking of what else you need to be doing. Keep a to-do list and look at it every day. If you think life is a struggle, then it is. Take a moment to breathe and practice both gratitude and letting go. Struggle is only a mindset.

What are some of your favorite entertaining tips for someone who is hosting a get-together?
With so many facets of a good party or get-together, it will be difficult to keep this brief. It doesn’t matter the occasion. To me, lighting and sound are the most important aspects (aside from the wonderful guests). I can’t tell you how many house parties or dinners I’ve been to where it’s so bright that I feel like I’m sitting in a cafeteria. Turn the lights down people… and light some candles!

If you’re having dinner, play some great classics like Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra or John Pizzarelli. If it’s a party with a younger crowd, play whatever they’re into to set the mood but whatever you do, never entertain without music! And never clean up with guests in your home; it’s rude… unless it’s close family and you really want help.Get fresh flowers and make everything pretty. Arrange food and hors d’oeuvres thoughtfully on plates and in bowls which should be made to look full and overflowing. Don’t put a small amount of food in a big bowl.

Give guests a place to put their things out of the way. Lately I’ve been asking guests to wash their hands when they arrive and I put hand sanitizer out… people actually respect this. Pay attention to your guests’ needs; if their glass is almost empty, ask if they’d like another.

And for the number one most important piece of advice… NEVER have more than one or two drinks at your own party. Lastly, a little pointer for when guests are overstaying their welcome: turn off the music, turn up the lights and start cleaning up. They’ll be running for their keys before you can find your fuzzy slippers.

What entertaining essentials do you always have on hand?
Unscented candles, wine, all the basic liquors, fruit juices, club soda and other mixers, cloth napkins and coasters, the proper glass for any cocktail (I’m a collector of glass and crystal, vintage and new), and good ice (never use the moon-shaped ice out of your freezer). Make ice in a nice shape or gentlemen’s cubes or spheres in advance.

You host a lot of parties, which can be exhausting. How do you get cozy after a weekend of entertaining?
I have to say, my feet are always killing me after entertaining so I make sure that I have nothing on my calendar the next day so I can relax. I’ll likely ride my battery bike on the beach with my husband or work on a puzzle, but you can rest assured that I will not be doing any cooking the next day!

What is your all-time favorite cocktail?
Ever since I had my first Perfect Manhattan at Bar Pleiades on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, it has been my favorite. But I have to say, since I created the new Strawberry Rosé Sparkler with SipCozy, it’s a tie!

Your SipCozy cocktail is delicious and so well-balanced. What helped guide your creative process when developing the recipe?
I wanted to create something summery, fruity and uncommon. I perused the liquor store shelves for something really original. For some reason I had an inclination for a hint of rose and I happened to find a strawberry/rose vodka which I thought would be a perfect start.

Strawberry Rosé Sparkler
2 oz SipCozy
1oz Smirnoff Strawberry Rosé Vodka
1 tsp Muddled strawberry
Splash of soda water (or ginger ale)
Fresh Rosemary sprig
Ice cubes

Muddle 1-3 strawberries. In a cocktail shaker, shake the SipCozy, strawberry/rose vodka, muddled strawberry and a few ice cubes. Add fresh ice to a pretty cocktail or large wine glass. I like to use a vintage crystal brandy snifter. Pour the mixture over the ice allowing the muddled strawberry to pour through too. Add a splash of soda (or ginger ale for a sweeter taste). Garnish with fresh rosemary sprig.

Xo, Team SipCozy