How to Host a Great Cocktail Party

How to Host a Great Cocktail Party

September 11, 2017

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If you’ve ever made a well-balanced cocktail (or if you’ve watched someone make one for you), you know that it can take quite some time to create, but that doesn’t have to be overwhelming!

I summed up my go-to tricks to keep things simple behind the bar so you can spend more time mingling with your guests!

Start with Self-Serve Cocktails

Historically, punch is made from five ingredients- spirits, citrus, water, sugar and spice/tea. A punch can easily be pre-made and ready for when your guests arrive. It’s a great way to serve a large group with little hands-on labour during the party. There are hundreds of fantastic punch recipes available with plenty of different flavour profiles allowing you to tailor your choice to a particular season or theme. Guests can easily serve themselves, and you can play with garnish to suit the season.

Prep, Prep, Prep!

If, however, you would like to be able to make individual cocktails for your guests for a more bespoke experience, preparation is key. Consider juicing lemons and limes earlier in the day, and slicing up a few, along with oranges to add colour to a cocktail! Having a citrus juicer will help to expedite your prep. You can strain your juice using a fine mesh strainer into squeeze bottles for easy serving. You can also pre-make your simple syrup (two parts sugar, one part water) to have on hand throughout the party. With these two ingredients prepared, there is a wide variety of cocktails you can make as long as your have the appropriate base spirits such as vodka, rum and gin and bitters like Angostura bitters, Vermouth and Campari on hand.

Make sure you have all of your bar tools available including a jigger, a mixing glass, a shaker, a bar knife and a y-shape peeler. It is also important to ensure you have enough ice on hand for the evening. Having a sturdy and stylish shaker adds a touch of class and finesse to your presentation. One-hand shakers can add a bit of flare and spectacle to the evening, while shakers with recipes are great for shaking up requests on the fly. Finally, storing a few cocktail glasses in your freezer is a simple but effective touch for your guests as you can serve your cocktails in chilled glassware.

Snacks are key!

Anytime you’re serving alcohol to your guests, it’s always a good idea to have snacks and finger foods on hand. While you are mixing up cocktail, make sure to have a few small appetizers and finger-foods on hand such as puff pastries, spiced nuts, cheeses and crostini. This will ensure your party-goers are satiated throughout the evening while sipping on their cocktails.

The key to hosting a great cocktail party is truly preparation and a clear plan of attack. With the tips mentioned above, both you and your guests will be able to enjoy an evening of great drinks and even better company!

Talia Kleinplatz

Talia Kleinplatz fell in love with food thanks to her mother and grandmother whose kitchens wafted the heavenly aromas of fresh dill, homemade pies and slow-cooked brisket. She attended Concordia and McGill, graduating with a Master’s in Social Work in 2009. Six years in Montreal taught her to eat well and her move to Vancouver taught her to drink well! In 2013, she launched her award-winning cocktail blog, Two for the Bar.