Absolut Elyx CEO Jonas Tahlin is betting that the age of blowing hundreds and thousands of dollars on tall, frosted bottles of premium liquor at the club is over. Millennials are all about partying at home, he told me when I visited him at his custom decorated home/office in the Hollywood Hills recently.
Tahlin and the Elyx brand live in the Los Angeles mansion, where the Swedish transplant hosts some of the most exclusive parties in the world to help promote the luxury vodka. He sees the house and its A-list events as a sort of master class in how to entertain at home.
I spoke at length with Tahlin about Elyx and the strategy to convince millennials to pay a little more for better vodka, which you can read all about here, but I also asked him to share some of his personal secrets for throwing a perfect party.
He told me it starts with curating a great guest list and then making sure they feel at home when they arrive.
"(It's about) making sure you have a mix of fun people, regular people, maybe sprinkle in a couple of celebrities and really give people a sense that this is not a club, that it's more relaxed," Tahlin explains. "I've had Jay-Z and Beyonce standing and dancing on sofas, you don't see them do that in a night club."
Nearly as important is the food, he says. When the eats and drinks are truly delicious, it can elevate a party to the next level.
The final key component is a great DJ that can take the pulse of the room and adjust accordingly to maintain or redirect the vibe.
There are also more subtle but equally important details to consider when planning a party, such as timing.
"If you're going to go on until three or four or five (a.m.) you don't want to start at six (p.m.). People just don't have that much energy and attention."
Tahlin prefers to compress his gatherings into a relatively shorter period of time.
As the CEO of the country's fastest growing vodka brand and perhaps one of the world's most prominent party hosts at the moment, Tahlin concedes that his tolerance for alcohol is probably much higher than most. Still he says he makes sure to pace himself and be responsible. Last year, he took an extended break and didn't have a drop of alcohol for the entire month of November.
"I'll sometimes instruct my bartenders to make something that looks like an Elyx martini with ice and a garnish, but it's really just water," he told me. "I never get hammered. People who are really drunk are just not cool."
I also asked him about his rituals for the day after an epic blast and his mind immediately went to a surprising place.
"I think the best way to feel good after a party is exercise. I'm not saying run twenty miles, but for me just to walk outside and take a hike and force yourself to drink a ton of water is great."
Finally, I asked Tahlin's advice for avoiding the dreaded hangover. He suggested avoided drinks with sugar and fruit juices in favor of, say, a martini. And if you're going to go that route, he might know a spirits brand you should try.