HOW TO HOST A COCKTAIL PARTY
People are booking holidays, music festivals and more fun things to do with friends and family they haven’t seen in months.
Delicious drinks, yummy nibbles, fun outfits, great conversation. You can picture it already, a summers evening in the garden surrounded by loved ones.
We have brought together an essential list of things to consider, and helpful tips to make sure you don’t trip up along the way. Together we can make sure this evening comes off without a hitch.
It isn’t essential to have a theme at a cocktail party but everyone knows that it makes it more fun. The options are really endless.
A classy black-tie event is always a safe bet but other, more extravagant options are always available. Arabian Nights, with large, decorative tents, and rugs covering the ground is a sure-fire way to get your guests buzzing with post-covid excitement.
Destination themes are also great ideas. Whether it’s the sunny Caribbean or carnival mad Rio, transforming your garden into an exotic paradise will bring a whole new level to the cocktail party.
Once you have your theme decided, make sure you choose your cocktails appropriately. There is no point hosting a Cuba evening and serving an Old Fashioned, likewise, don’t base your party around James Bond and forget to serve a Martini.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
When considering the planning of this cocktail party, get creative but minimize hassle and expense by keeping it as simple as you can.
Preparation is key! Of course, you could splash the cash and get an events company to come and run the bar for you, but if you’re planning on doing the heavy lifting yourself, make sure you do most of it before the guests arrive.
Layout all the glasses you own onto a table or bar and dress them without the drink itself as much as you can before you even slip into that tux or cocktail dress.
Arrange the alcohol and other ingredients into sections, ready to be mixed up at a moment’s notice. It might also be a good idea to get separate shakers and mixing glasses for the different drinks to save on washing up between each batch.
Slice fruit carefully and arrange into bowls ready to garnish the cocktails when needed.
CONSIDER PRE-MIXED COCKTAILS
A fantastic way to keep the preparation simple is to consider pre-mixed cocktails. A relatively new phenomenon, the pre-mixed cocktail comes bottled and ready to pour without any hassle or fuss.
The Cocktail Society offers a great selection to be delivered to your door in time for your cocktail party and you won’t have to do any of the mixing or shaking while the party is in full flow. Need a top-up? Just pour it straight into the glass from the bottle. Boom
If your heart is set on doing your own mixology, then it is essential that you buy the best ingredients. Guests at a cocktail party can always tell when the vodka is cheap, or the mixer is Tesco’s own
We aren’t suggesting you splash out on spirits worth hundreds of pounds, but definitely do some research into great tasting brands on a budget and make sure your fruit is super fresh for the best possible garnish.
Music and cocktails are a match made in heaven.
GET YOUR MUSIC RIGHT
Don’t smash your cocktail selection out of the park and then lose sight of the music.
Create a number of playlists to flow with how the night builds up. Having your music prepped and ready to go will keep the atmosphere on point.
Enjoy the moment
HOW MANY GLASSES FOR A PARTY?
This is another important aspect that’s often overlooked – having enough glasses.
There is nothing that will stop a good party dead more than running out of glasses.
Make sure you cover off enough for about 4 per head and ensure you have a good stock of the different varieties. Key ones are martini glasses, highballs and wine glasses.
BE SENSIBLE WITH YOUR COCKTAIL CHOICES
You like Pina Coladas? Yeah, who doesn’t? But it probably is one to avoid at most cocktail parties.
That and most other thick, creamy cocktails would be wise to avoid, this is due to the mess that a cream-based cocktail can create. They makes the washing of glassware tough and spillage are tough to get cleaned up.
Aside from cream, we would also avoid short and strong cocktails at your cocktail party. This includes drinks such as the Old Fashioned, Vodka Martini or Negroni. Although delicious cocktails, we would always recommend lighter, session cocktails that come in longer glasses, are lighter and in general less boozy.
The final recommendation here is if it’s a cocktail party where you or the guests are making the cocktails yourself, then ensure you don’t create cocktails that are over-complicated.
ORDERING ENOUGH DRINKS
Again a massive mood killer. Whatever party you are hosting, don’t run out of drinks.
So contrary to the fact we are The Cocktail Society, the foundation to build any party on is wine and beer – this will cover off most of the drinks requirements for you. We then like to add the special drinks over and above this foundation – your cocktails, champagne etc.
In terms of ratios, we recommend approximately 1 1/2 drinks per hour and splitting this by 1 beer or wine and 1/2 cocktail or champagne. This will give you a solid spread. Obviously, if your guests are big drinkers then up this and we always, always suggest throwing contingency cases of wine and beer in there as a buffer.
You might have the best of intentions of organising and supplying the entire night by yourself. You may even be considering taking up the role of bartender for the night. But trust us. You need
Nobody, not even a highly skilled events manager, can tend the bar, make all the cocktails, resupply the icebox, build the canapes and serve them to the guests by themselves.
Use a professional bar company. Failing this enlisting help from somewhere else would be very sensible – even glass collecting and keeping the house ship-shape will be a godsend on the night.
You’ve done all this hard work and planning, the least you can do is enjoy the night yourself.