Putting the 'Art' Back in 'Dinner Party'

Lindsey Reynolds and Cameron Cooper, also known as The Goodetime Gals, bring the art of the dinner party back to Austin with creative cocktails and themed soirees.

By Becca Chavoya

Guests sit among themselves laughing and conversing with drinks in hand. Their hostesses, clad in polkadot dresses, kitten heels and pearls serve up classic cocktails like Manhattans, gimlets and gin martinis with dainty, manicured fingers. This is not the 1950s – just a dinner party put together by Austin’s Lindsey Reynolds and Cameron Cooper, otherwise known as The Goodetime Gals.

University of Texas grads Reynolds, 28, and Cooper, 30, launched The Goodetime Gals in 2011 after feeling creatively unfulfilled by their post-graduation gigs. The self-taught bartenders’ appreciation for mid-century vintage is reflected in their “freelance bartending” service, which takes the stress off of party planning by crafting creative, yet simple, cocktails right in their clients' own homes.

The witty pair helps their customers every step of the way, from decorating the living space with a theme to creating a customized drink menu. As expected, they play along with their guests. “We always dress the part. That’s one of my favorite things about being a Goodetime Gal. It’s about the experience," Reynolds says.

“We felt like Austin was too casual for its own good,” Cooper says.  “We wanted to get back to what started cocktail culture – the Old Fashioned and Manhattans and gin martinis. We like getting away from the Kamikazes and Flaming Dr. Peppers. There are other spirits out there besides vodka!”

Cooper and Reynolds’ back-to-the-basics method of mixology makes their dinner parties fun and interactive, they say. “We like to know where our food is coming from, and the same goes for making drinks,” Reynolds says. “We like to make drinks without a million processed ingredients. We keep it simple, intriguing and inspiring. It’s approachable for people to re-make our cocktails.”

When it comes to personal preference, each Gal has her favorite drink. “I love champagne cocktails. It just feels like a special occasion. My favorite are Kir cocktails; they’re made with champagne and a French berry liquor. It’s very pretty and your drink is purple. It’s what girls drank in the 1960s and it’s super!” Reynolds says.

Cooper’s tastes are a little less bubbly. “My go-to drink is a really simple bourbon drink with basil and homemade balsamic vinegar syrup. We acquired the recipe from a chef in Atlanta. He called it a Buffalo Negra. If somebody says,  ‘Make me a Goodetime Gal drink,’ I’ll make them that,” she adds.

The Goodetime Gals have their dream guests, too. “If I could throw a party for anyone in the world, it would be Burlesque artist Dita von Teese. She is the epitome of glamour and elegance to me,” Reynolds says. Cooper, however, says she would serve up drinks to to the Rat Pack, a group of actors from the 1960s, including the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra.

Cooper and Reynolds operate under one simple mission statement: Cocktails don’t have to be scary. Catch the dynamic duo quenching Austin’s thirst, one perfectly planned party at a time.

ORANGE suggests these Goodetime Gals concoctions:

Ann Richards 3-4 thin circular slices of cucumber 1 ounce rose simple syrup 2 ounces vodka A healthy splash of topo chico Lay cucumbers down in a highball glass. Spoon/squirt simple syrup on top. Muddle heartily. Pour in two ounces of vodka. Add crushed ice. Top with Topo Chico and garnish with cucumber.

The Thankfully Old-Fashioned 12 fresh cranberries 2 teaspoons of brown sugar 1/2 teaspoons of orange zest 2 healthy dashes of Angosturra bitters 2 ounces of bourbon (The Gals like Bulleitt)

Muddle the sugar, orange zest, and cranberries together in the glass. Add bitters. Add ice. Top with bourbon. Stir. For those faint of heart, add a couple of splashes of water to ease the bourbon bite.