TLM Does the Playboy Mansion – Again
Toasting St. Tropez With Provencal Absinthe in Beverly Hills
I had one of those “I’ve arrived” moment when I received an invitation to the 4-Star Byblos Hotel's 40th Birthday Party at the Playboy Mansion. Forget Disneyland. St. Tropez’s hottest hotel and its nightclub “Les Caves du Roy” throwing an anniversary bash at the Playboy Mansion is the “happiest place on Earth” as far as I’m concerned.
I stayed at the Byblos, a few years ago, with some friends from Paris. We had our own table at “Les Caves” at the side of the dance floor for the week. By the end of our stay, I’d probably had one too many champagne showers spewed from $1000 magnum bottles all over my sticky sunburned skin and party dresses. But, as you can see in this photo from that vacation, I reveled in the hedonistic French Riviera none-the-less.
(Sidenote: I grew up spending summers with my French grandparents down the coast in Beaulieu Sur Mer. Let's just say that its way better as a grown up, and without a chaperone...)
World famous DJ Jack E’s nightly declarations at Les Caves are almost as famous as the discotheque itself. “Weeelcooome Back to Saaaaaaaint Tropeeeez!” reverberates around the world beckoning the high-flying “rich and famous.” Guests at the Playboy Mansion were treated to Jack E’s spinning during the party (pictured here).
Unsurprisingly, my friend, photographer Claire Barrett (pictured here raising a glass near the Grotto) and I were the first ones up and dancing!
Anyone who checks in with The Liquid Muse knows that I am a Playboy fan, and have seen every episode of "The Girls Next Door.” I even have a collector’s edition of Playboy from 1981 featuring “Playmate Roommates: Imagine These Girls Next Door.” Kinda weird to think that Kendra (current girlfriend #3 in ranking) wasn’t even born when that pictoral was shot!
One of the most fun projects during my career as a Mixologist was creating four poker-themed cocktails for the Celebrity Poker Tournament at the Playboy Mansion, last April. Although the "girls" weren’t there I had a blast and even got my photo taken in the Grotto (wearing a suit, like a total dork)! This time, Holly, Bridget and Kendra were at the party being filmed and photographed with Hef, sequestered in a tiny section of the giant tent party surrounding the infamous Grotto. So, we didn't really get to mingle with them, much to my chagrin...
However, just like my last visit to their legendary home, my big dilemma for the Byblos party was: “What do you wear to the Playboy Mansion when you’re 30-something, married and packed on a few pounds since the wedding?” Luckily, over time, I’ve realized that people are more inclined to overlook imperfections if you dazzle ‘em with cleavage. Which was exactly what I went for when I bought this dress.
Other party guests included American Idol’s Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest, shown here lounging on the couch. Matthew Modine and Dr. Gary Atler of Dr. 90210 also took in the festivities.
All the while, a couple of little minions from TMZ snuck in and out of their environ to make notes on who was picking their nose or other such oh-so-fascinating reports for which TMZ is known.
Back on the red carpet, these adorable Playboy bunnies posed for photos with guests. I just love the little fur coats and matching furry tails! Apparently the Byblos and Caves du Roy team did, as well. Pictured here are the Byblos / Caves du Roy big-wigs: Stephan Personi, DJ Jack E, Antoine Chevanne and "Junior."
The party was a smashing success despite the unusual rainy weather. The bartenders were awesome, and Joe (in this picture) has worked for Hef for a decade!
At this party, I also tried Versinthe Absinthe for the first time. Versinthe is made in Provence and won the “silver” place at Absinthiades Pontarlier, a French absinthe competition.
In addition to traditional absinthe, Versinthe also makes "La Blanche," or white absinthe. It is crystal clear and has a wonderful, smooth anis flavor. It also has the maximum legal thujone level, so the absinthe-champange cocktails this bartender and I experimented with were potent, indeed!
Jack E.'s music made me wish I could follow the Byblos crew around the world as they continue on this global anniversary tour. After LA, they hit Moscow, London, Paris, Milan and wrap up with its closing bash at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Antoine Chevanne, owner of the Byblos, extended a personal invitation to Hef and the girls for to stick around for a bit this summer. (No, I’m not jealous. Ok, maybe just a teeny, weeny bit. Alright, I'm green with both Absinthe and envy!)
Which made the goodie bags we received upon leaving extra sweet. In addtion to Sisley Cosmetics, we were presented with the not -yet released Volume 3 Byblos CD and small bottles of Versinthe Absinthe - both the traditional and “La Blanche.” They thoughtfully included an absinthe spoon, absinthe-infused chocolate and even absinthe perfume for him and her.
Needless to say, my "happy place" has nothing to do with Mickey Mouse but rather Green Fairies and Hef's Cottontails prancing hand-in-hand around the Grotto, while I groove on the dance floor to the tunes of a world-famous DJ. The only thing that would make it better is transporiting the whole kit-and-kaboodle to the sandy beaches of St. Tropez... and something tells me that party may not be too far off...
"Official" photos are courtesy of: Brian Lindensmith- Patrick McMullan. The rest of the snapshots belong to: The Liquid Muse