Is there a gene for party-giving? Judging from Alexandra Angle's family tree, the answer would have to be yes. Four generations ago, Alexandra's great-great-great-aunt Isabella Stewart Gardner, founder of Boston's famed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, became a society legend by throwing elaborate, whispered-about blowouts attended by numerous prominent artists, musicians and painters. Decades later, Gardner's grandniece and Alexandra's maternal grandmother, Olga Pertzoff, exhibited the same DNA. "She was a big entertainerwild," Alexandra says, admiringly. "For instance, she was having a stone wall built and to keep her masons motivated, she hired musicians to play for them."
Alexandra has never hired a band to serenade a construction crew, but she's carrying on the family tradition with Aqua Vitae, the Los Angeles based company she runs with her husband, Eliot Angle. The Angles' new entertaining guide, Cocktail Parties with a Twist, describes all manner of extravagant soirees, including one for which they transformed a mansion into a fun house. "That party was truly insane," Alexandra says. "I hired weight lifters to carry around silver trays with tiny flutes of Champagne on them."
The Angles came up with the concept for Aqua Vitae during their move from New York to Los Angeles in 1999, as they drove a U-Haul cross-country. Their first idea for a business venturea high-end taxi service for inebriated revelersdidn't quite stick, but assuming responsibility for other people's parties seemed a perfect fit. "When we were living in New York, we gave zillions of parties, and people started asking us for help," says Alexandra, who met her husband atwhere else?a party. (It was Halloween; he was the dippy sailor from Gilligan's Island, and she was a vamp.)