The Best Summer Cocktail Party You Will Ever Have

Annette Joseph is a stylist known as @annettejosephstyle on Instagram has over 70,000 followers.She is a food stylist, photographer, author, brand ambassador, instructor, Today Show contributor, entertaining editor for Atlanta Magazine’s Home.

Annette operates creative workshops retreats, cooking courses at her renovated 12th century fortress in the Tuscan countryside. She styles weddings and private retreats at the location as known as La Fortezza. 

Annette Joseph

Her new book Cocktail Italiano, has been greeted by rave reviews. This book celebrates the daily Italian ritual of Aperitivo all along the coastline of the Italian Riviera, part cocktail and nibbles recipe book, part travelogue, this book is an essential read if you plan to spend time in Italy.

Her first book Picture Perfect Parties, teaches you how to entertain like a professional stylist. It is in homes all over the world used as the quintessential entertaining primer.

Currently Annette spends half her time in Atlanta,  styling and producing stories for various magazines, and cookbooks, and blogs. You can find her in Italy the other half conducting her retreats and workshops and hosting guests on the expansive terrace of her Tuscan home. Annette has owned and operated her own production company for 25 years. She is currently working on her 3rd book a fun filled autobiography of her life in Italy called “Italy is my Boyfriend.”

We had a chance to catch up with Annette before she took off for her summer travels! Happily, Annette sent a copy of her book for my summer party inspiration!

What advice would you offer to other self-starters and those who hope to start their own business?
1. Have a well thought out idea of the business you want to create and operate.
2. Be laser focused on getting the word out there.
3. Talk about your product with everyone.
4. Be creative in marketing your product
5. Be nice and be ethical.
6. Be genuine. Your enthusiasm will encourage people to try your product.
7. Be patient, Roma was not built in a day.
8. Don’t over spend, keep to a tight budget.

What were your biggest challenges when you started your business?
Being patient, I never realized how long it would take to build a base of great clients to build my portfolio and my brand. Learning to navigate the rough waters was tough but being flexible and able to change course quickly was the biggest lesson I learned in 25 years of being in business.

Do you have an all-time favorite cocktail? 
I do have a favorite Italian cocktail, I love a Negroni!

Recipe from Cocktail Italiano.

Classic Negroni {made for 1}

A very strong cocktail this drink is another classic Italian cocktail.  The Negroni has become very popular in America in the last 5 years.

1 ounce dry Gin

1 ounce Campari

1 ounce Italian vermouth

Shake well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled highball glass and garnish with a twist of orange peel.


Wandering Italy

Instead of doing the typical college spring break trip to Cancun or Florida, I went to Italy. Somehow we managed to squeeze 4 destinations into just 6 days. Here are some of my favorite parts.

First we stayed two and a half days in Rome where we did the typical sight seeing, the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Vatican City. Standing on the same grounds where the ancient Romans spent their days was unimaginably surreal. I’m not a huge fan of history but I have to admit that I enjoyed learning about the ancient roman life. It brought about some sort of aura that you can’t feel unless you’re physically there.

Roman Forum Colosseum

The next stop in Rome was the Vatican and I must say that although I’m not the biggest fan of staring at art in museums or galleries either, I enjoyed St. Peter’s the most, solely for it’s impeccable art and design. The inside of St. Peter’s Basilica is absolutely stunning. Not a single wall, floor, ceiling, or crevice of the building is bare. It left me speechless. It’s definitely something that you must see in person if you ever have the chance.

St. Peter's

Next we went to Florence for two days. The city of Florence is absolutely beautiful with tons of great shopping. My favorite part about the entire vacation (even though I did love the shopping) was the day trip we took to Cinque Terre. It was just a short bus ride from the center of Florence. There, you will find the most stunning, jaw dropping views of the Italian-Mediterranean coast line with beautiful, brightly colored houses embedded into the ocean-side cliffs. I’m at a loss for words to describe how incredible the views were. Take a look for yourself.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Lastly, we stayed a day and a half in Venice and that’s just about all the time you need. Venice is like no other place on earth, a true one of a kind. Although there wasn’t much to do, just wandering the streets is enough of an experience in itself. The only way to fully enjoy Venice is to just go and get lost. Explore. Every corner you turn you’ll find something interesting. I found myself taking photos every turn I made, every bridge I stood on, and every piazza I stepped in.



What I loved so much about Italy was the unique culture, unbelievable scenery, and interesting history. Oh and not to mention the food and shopping. The Italians really know how to cook and shop. Two of my favorite things.