Jennifer Lopez is a style icon and a triple-threat entertainer, so it should come as no surprise that she’s also a maven when it comes to holiday entertaining. In an exclusive interview with TZR, the actor, singer, and entrepreneur opens up about how Delola, the ready-to-drink cocktail spritz brand she launched this year, keeps her stress-free when she’s in hostess mode — as well as her go-to tips for throwing a great party.
Lopez admits that she’s always eager to host seasonal gatherings, but even the megastar isn’t immune to the chaos that comes at the end of the year. “Yeah, it's funny because it can be so stressful during the holidays, especially if you're the house that everybody comes to, which I always am — and I like to be, I enjoy it,” she says. But this year, she has a trick up her sleeve to save time. “I have Delola so I don't have to spend the time making people drinks,” she shares of the natural botanical beverage. That’s one of the many reasons why Lopez dubs it, “the perfect holiday cocktail.”
“Whether you're hosting or cooking or just trying to grab a moment for yourself to put on some makeup, it's important to have that ease during the holidays,” she says. “Obviously, when people come over, you're going to want to serve drinks and it's just the easiest version of that. You don't want to be squeezing and cutting and mixing. All you have to do is simply open it up and pour it over a glass of ice and you have a beautiful mixology-level cocktail that is elegant and delicious.”
Even though the cocktail is ready to drink as soon as it’s poured, Lopez is an advocate of glamming up your holiday beverages with garnishes. She recently showcased her garnish game when she made Bella Berry Punch with Delola and is adamant that it was the garnishes that took the cocktail from good to great.
“I took some cranberries, apples (green and red), lemons, and oranges and I sliced them all up and put them in a big, beautiful punch bowl with ice, then poured in the Delola,” explains Lopez. “When I put it in the cup with the berries and the cranberries and everything, I added a cinnamon stick. I got to tell you, it took it to another level for me.”
She’s also been “experimenting” with adding flowers to ice cubes to provide a little extra style and flair to special occasion cocktails. “I think the ice cubes add something to it… we took the oranges and kind of put them into a bigger ice cube tray and made a flower, then poured the water, froze it, then put it in the middle of more of a goblet cup and poured the Delola on it,” she explains. “It's so cute and delicious and is perfect for Thanksgiving.”
Another reason for the ice cube glow-up is to cater to guests who don’t drink at all. When it comes to creating holiday mocktails, Lopez focuses on aesthetics. “For people that [abstain from alcohol], I think it's just about creating beautiful drinks,” she says. “Like I said, doing that ice cube [trick] or getting elderflower and rose lemonade and pouring it over ice, then putting a little rosemary [or] lavender sprig in there, things like that.”
As for the meal, Lopez refers to the “go-to dishes” she prepares for holiday feasts as “traditional with a Puerto Rican flair.” She loves to make food that represents her Puerto Rican heritage like pernil (roasted pork), arroz con gandules (a rice dish with pigeon peas and pork), and pasteles, which she says is the Puerto Rican version of the Latin American dish many know as tamales. But her table also features holiday staples we all know and love. “We do like doing turkey and sweet potatoes with the marshmallows and all that kind of stuff,” she says.
When it comes to ambiance, Lopez’s house is full of joyful noise at this time of year. “I love Christmas music [...] like Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby,” she says. Lopez also likes to play non-holiday old-time classics to set the mood. “I find that that old ’40s Hollywood kind of vibe is [perfect] around the holidays. Just all those old classic songs like ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ and stuff like that,” she says. “We keep it fun.”
After a delicious meal at Casa de Lopez, there’s no collapsing onto the couch. She makes it a point to get everyone up on their feet. “One of the things that I bring to the table is putting on salsa music and Spanish music and merengue, which is very traditional for us,” she shares. “Dancing in the middle of the living room and stuff like that is such a fun thing to do.”