When the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” premieres on HBO Sunday night, you can use it as an opportunity to turn your 21st-century home into a Westeros manor.
The secret to hosting an epic “Game of Thrones” watch party is transporting guests into a different world, say experts behind parties inspired by the popular show.
Robert Rivers, general manager of Loews Boston Hotel, where Precinct Kitchen + Bar is located, has hosted “Game of Thrones” pop-up parties at the restaurant, and Athena Peters, owner/founder of Adventure Pub in Arlington, has hosted “Game of Thrones”-inspired events as CEO of Incantrix Productions, a company that produces interactive theater experiences around the area, and is currently planning a “Game of Thrones” finale party at her pub.
The experts offered the following tips for throwing a “Game of Thrones” watch party at your house.
Toast to the lands of ice and fire
Red priests and red priestesses are, obviously, the red robe-wearing clergy of the religion of R’hllor on the show. Rivers said that it’s “really easy” to serve a Red Priestess cocktail to your party guests.
Channel the characters into a drink that combines 1.5 ounces of tequila, 0.5 ounces of triple sec, 1 ounce of blood orange shrub (made by combining one cup each of blood orange concentrate, grapefruit juice, and white vinegar with three cups of simple syrup before adding a sprig of thyme and refrigerating for four days before straining it), 0.25 ounces of lime juice, and red salt. You’ll add the tequila, triple sec, blood orange shrub, and lime juice to a shaker with ice and then pour the contents of the shaker into a rimmed rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a dehydrated blood orange.
Or you can make your guests a rum drink called Take the Black, Rivers said. The drink, named after a phrase on the show that means to join the black-wearing military order called the Night’s Watch, is comprised of 1.5 ounces of rum, 1 ounce of Earl Grey simple syrup (made by steeping six bags of Earl Grey tea in a cup of water for 15 minutes before dissolving one cup of sugar in it and letting it cool), 0.75 ounces of espresso, Guinness, and whipped cream. You’ll add the rum, simple syrup, and espresso to a shaker with ice, shake vigorously, and then pour the mixture into a highball glass. Then you’ll float a layer of Guinness on top and add whipped cream before garnishing with a Luxardo cherry on a pick.
If you don’t feel like mixing drinks, wine always works, Peters said, because the characters are “constantly drinking wine” on the show.
Serve food fit for a wedding (but not “The Red Wedding”)
Basically: Get ready to serve a feast, Peters said.
“That’s one of the things that people think about when they think of ‘Game of Thrones’ or these large, fantasy experiences — these epic feasts that happen,” Peters said.
For a main course, a roast would be appropriate, she said. You’ll also want to think about finger foods.
“Even just platters of grapes and fruits and cheese, or just a giant loaf of freshly baked bread” go a long way toward providing that “rustic experience” for your guests, Peters said.
You can also draw inspiration from Precinct and hand out “Little Fingers,” which were served at the restaurant’s “Game of Thrones” pop-up party. The grilled cheese dish was inspired by the “Game of Thrones” character Lord Petyr Baelish, whose nickname is Littlefinger.
“You take garlic bread and you make grilled cheese out of it,” Rivers said. “We used muenster and cheddar cheese in it. And we served it with a chipotle ranch sauce.”
To make “fingers” for eight to 10 people, you take one pound of room-temperature butter and add it to a food processor with five garlic cloves and a bunch of chopped up parsley. Then you smear the garlic butter on a loaf of your favorite bread cut into segments. You’ll need a pound of cheddar and a pound of muenster cheese. Add both cheeses to the bread, making sure each segment has equal parts cheddar and muenster, according to the Precinct recipe. Then you’ll toast the cheesy bread until it’s golden brown and the cheese is melted. For the dipping sauce, you’ll blend one chipotle with a bottle of ranch.
Play another kind of “Game of Thrones”
You can help your guests get in a fittingly competitive mood by encouraging them to play Risk: Game of Thrones ahead of the show, Peters said. That’s right: The 1957 classic strategy board game has a “Game of Thrones” version.
“I’ve been playing Risk since I was a kid, and it’s my favorite version,” Peters said. “For people who just want to jump into something that’s familiar and easy to pick up, ‘Game of Thrones’ [Risk] is my go-to.”
The game offers two custom-designed game boards and three ways to play as players vie for domination of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond.
“It kind of gets you amped up,” Peters said of playing a themed game before the show.
Encourage your party guests to come in costume. Peters said that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on a “Game of Thrones” outfit — women can simply wear a long, flowing gown, for example.
“You can just kind of drape a sheet around yourself in a decorative fashion and then just snap a belt on and, voila,” Peters said. “You’ll look like you’ve come out of Essos.
“That’s a good one that both men and women could do,” she added.
Or men can pair a really long, tunic-style shirt with sweatpants and boots, she said.
But if you do happen to have an outfit you’ve purchased at a Renaissance fair in the past, wear it, she said.
“This is your opportunity,” Peters said. “Break that out. Have fun. Feel like a king or a queen for the night and just really get into it.”
Set the theme with music and decor
The show’s theme music is “pretty intense” and will definitely get guests in a “Game of Thrones” mind-set, Rivers said.
“We played the theme music out to the patio, just to make it more dramatic and get people into the mood,” he said. “You can download that through Spotify.”
Precinct also draped faux fur over its patio furniture and served its food to guests on wooden platters.
“We used a lot of wood,” Rivers said. “You can go onto Amazon.com and look for wood serving pieces.”
Candles also make for fun decor.
“Break out candles everywhere,” Peters said. “You’re talking about a [world] where there was no electricity. It helps the mood. And also, we all look great in candlelight.”