Although marketing is his primary career, the Miami native has been working in the food industry for nearly a decade. Gutierrez is a rum ambassador for Bacardi and represents the distillery’s Havana Club rum; he’s a silent partner in a few restaurants around town; and he continues to keep his online presence fresh with engaging content for chatchow.com and social media.
Gutierrez’s popularity makes him the go-to among his friends during the holiday season for party-planning ideas and drink recipes. He’s been hosting and attending Friendsgiving gatherings for years. This year alone, he has plans to attend four Friendsgiving events — in addition to a traditional Thanksgiving meal with his immediate family.
“I have a lot of different groups of friends,” Gutierrez says with a grin. “It’s fun to balance it all and put on different events unique to each group.”
Earlier this month, Gutierrez participated in an influencer-fueled Friendsgiving. For a group such as this, he says, it’s important to be very visual. “We even have a mood board for how we want to dress and what foods we’re doing,” he says, admitting it’s all a little extra but fits the occasion.
Friendsgiving with his close friends is a more intimate affair. “One thing we share in common is trips to wine country,” Gutierrez says. “So we make sure to each bring a vintage bottle from one of these shared trips. We crack open some nice wine, put our cell phones away, and spend quality time together.”
Gutierrez recommends a few simple tips for planning your own Friendsgiving:
- First and foremost, know your audience and make a shared Google spreadsheet so everyone knows what they're supposed to do and you don't wind up with ten pies and no turkey, for example.
- Because many people travel to visit family over the holidays, a good time to host Friendsgiving is the weekend before or after the annual holiday.
- Don’t forget the decorations, drink garnishes, flatware, musical playlist, games — “every detail counts," according to Gutierrez.
- Don't spend too much time with cocktails. Make a punch instead. “Punches are always a hit. It’s something you can easily prep in the morning and present in a nice bowl,” Gutierrez says. "Plus, it’s self-serve for your guests." He shares his favorite punch recipe below.
- Turn off your phones. Be present. Make eye contact and create memories in the moment. "You might just be reliving these memories during future Friendsgivings," he says.
“Friendsgiving is a beautiful time to spend with friends,” Gutierrez says. “It’s a time to spend building memories — and reliving old ones — with the people you love.”
Gio Gutierrez’s "El Punch"
- 48 oz. Havana Club Añejo Clásico
- 24 oz. cognac
- 5 oz. apricot liqueur
- 24 oz. lemon juice
- 24 oz. white sugar
- 40 oz. cooled Earl Gray tea