Party Hacks Every 20-Something Should Know

You never really need a reason to throw a good party — but the prep and cleanup might beg some justification. In the interest of fostering hassle-free fetes, we offer up these tricks and tips that make any gathering a breeze — from easy ice cubes for frosty cocktails to the best way to roast a chicken. So go ahead, invite everyone over for dinner.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANNY KIM; STYLE BY ALI NARDI.
Clean Wine Glasses — Without Breaking Them

Beautiful glassware is an excellent accessory for any party, but cleaning it afterward can be a pain. Professionals will recommend polishing wine glasses with a cloth for a crystal-clear effect, but in real life, you just want them dry and stainless.

The trick? Don't even bother hand drying your glasses. After washing them with hot water, place the glasses upside down on a cooling rack or oven rack. If you don't have either, simply place the glasses upside down on two chopsticks. Once they're dry, polish up the edge of the glasses, and you're done.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DAVIDE LUCIANO.
How To Make A Watermelon Keg

Nothing says party like a keg — a watermelon keg, that is. Grab a large watermelon, a sharp knife or drill, and a spigot, and you've got yourself a fun, creative booze dispenser in four steps.

1. Find a stable base for your watermelon. Cut off the top and scoop out all the fruit with a spoon. Pro tip: Save the juice for drinks (and eat the melon!).

2. Choose a spot to attach the spigot, about a quarter of the way up from the base of the watermelon. One glass should be able to fit underneath the spigot (but if you make it too high, no liquid will flow out).

3. Use a sharp knife or drill to create a small incision at the selected spot. Slowly widen the hole with a knife until it's the right size.

4. Insert the spigot and test by pouring a bit of water into the top of the watermelon. If it works, just pat the inside dry and fill it with the drink of your choice. Our favorite: mojitos.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Alternative Ice Cubes For EVERY Drink

Guests are here, the food is ready, but your white wine is warm — now what? Lucky for you, there's a slew of items you can keep in your freezer for last-minute ice cubes that don't dilute your drink.

Other ideas include: Pickle Juice for Bloody Marys, Leftover Coffee for Ice Coffee, Orange Juice for Margaritas, Lime Juice for Gin & Tonics or Gimlets, Waterbaloons for Scotch Drinks

*Editor's note: For the last water balloon trick, freeze small balloons filled with water. When ready to serve, cut away the balloon, rinse the ice sphere with water, and drop into whiskey.
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ILLUSTRATED BY ELLIOT SALAZAR.
3 Secret Tricks To The Best Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is the best dinner party meal by far, but making incredible roast chicken at home is no small feat. Luckily, we have some tricks up our sleeves.

Secret #1: When roasting the chicken, put a quart of water in a separate pan into the oven as well. The extra water will prevent the meat from drying out.

Secret #2: Baste the chicken by putting some white wine and lemon in a spray bottle. This will let you mist the bird but not rinse off the aromatics.

Secret #3: Try not to cover the chicken once it is done. If you cover it, the meat will steam up, and it will taste reheated.
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ILLUSTRATED BY ELLIOT SALAZAR.
Salty Soup? Here's A Quick Save

Soups have a tendency to get saltier than expected — an hour or so of simmering means you're losing water and increasing the effect of any added salt. Luckily, there's an easy trick to getting that salt out of there: Adding a whole potato and boiling it for a few minutes. The potato will soak up the extra salt and add some starch for a thicker broth.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
The Fastest Way To Make Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes — so delicious, yet so annoying to make. Skip the hand mixer, fork pressing, and, well, potato mashing. Simply boil your potatoes, and once they're fully cooked, push them through a sieve for a perfectly smooth, effortless side dish.
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The One Hack To Decorating Cakes

Congratulations, you baked a cake! Now what? If you're not up for pastry tips and homemade buttercream, the best way to decorate a cake might be to make your own stencils. Cut them out on paper, or use lace doilies, and sprinkle powdered sugar or sprinkles over the top of the cake, using the stencils to create a pattern. Voilà — an Instagram-ready dessert.
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PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANNY KIM.
The Secret To Cleaning Up Red Wine Stains

Even a great gathering usually has some party fouls — a tribute to the festive gods, perhaps? If you're wearing white, for example, you might run into trouble. Luckily, there's one surprising trick that helps with red wine stains, especially on white blouses: salt.

That's right. Immediately change your shirt, pour a pile of salt directly onto the stain, and let it sit overnight. Then, take it directly to the cleaners. The salt will absorb most of the liquid, making it easier for the cleaners to remove the stain the next morning.
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