A cocktail party is a great way to get everyone together for cheeky drinks and fun conversation, read our tips for throwing a great one!
We all enjoy a good cocktail and in the summer time, when the weather is fine, you’ve got to stretch right up and grab the wine… you’ve got cocktails, you’ve got cocktails on your mind.
A cocktail party is a great way to get everyone together for an enjoyable evening with an interesting focal point. A good recipe book, the right ingredients, a cocktail shaker and mixer and you’ve got some great drinks and if you get good at mixing them you can even show off your skills and wow your guests.
But a cocktail party is about more than just drinks, it’s about people – so the following are some ideas for an enjoyable cocktail party that everyone will love.
Old Fashioned Party in a Modern Setting
With the exception of perhaps Dom Perignon or a £5,000 vintage Cognac, cocktails are perhaps the poshest drinks around. If nothing else they require an extra special effort to make, so why not take the same philosophy with your party? Get everyone dressed up in cocktail dresses and tuxedos and turn your cocktail party into a masquerade ball – require everyone to turn up in fancy masks and headgear or for something less flamboyant – cocktail masks – and add a sense of posh anonymity to your shindig.
With a theme set like that, you’ve already got good ground work for an impressive and memorable cocktail party. The next stop is the drinks…
Cocktail Party Drinks & Decorations
Half the appeal of the cocktail as a drink is its delivery – posh tall, short and quirky shaped glasses decorated with frilly things, mini umbrellas, sugar dustings, ice shavings and more – all make your drinks even more appealing. Then there’s the contents – there are plenty of cocktails out there and they all have their own personality and appeal. Each of your guests will obviously have their own opinion on what the best cocktails are and they’ll probably all differ from yours. So which cocktails do you provide? A quick Google or a flick through any good cocktail book and you’ll find a vast array of possible drinks to put on for your guests, but if you try to write a list you’ll soon find that you’ll need a lot of ingredients and the cost will soon add up. Below are some examples just to give you an idea:
- Mojito – a cheeky, lime and mint flavoured rum based cocktail. Ingredients:
o Soda Water
o White Rum
- Chocolate Martini – a sickly and neatly presented drink that’s certainly got some sweet appeal. Ingredients:
o Dark Chocolate
o Chocolate Liqueur
o Crushed Ice
- White Russian – a cream and indulgent cocktail with plenty of ice. Ingredients:
o Single Cream
- Raspberry Tequila Sangria – a fruit, cheeky little cocktail with plenty of sweet appeal. Ingredients:
o Triple Sec
o Lime Soda
- Rhubarb & Custard Cocktail – a vodka based drink with fruit syrup and a rhubarb kick. Ingredients:
o Caster sugar
o Chopped Rhubarb
o Rhubarb Syrup
- Long Island Iced Tea – a classic drink that everyone will love, stuffed with various spirits for quite a kick. Ingredients:
o White Rum
o Triple Sec
o Lime Juice
o Lemon Juice
o Lemon Wedges
That’s just a selection of cocktail ideas and by no means a definitive list of cocktails or their specific ingredients. I’ve not listed the exact amounts you’ll need, but even just looking at that list you’ll be able to see that you’ll need quite a few different things to put on even a handful of cocktail possibilities for your guests. Perhaps, one solution to this problem is when you send out your cocktail party invites, you include a note for guests to choose a cocktail they’d like to have at the party and ask them to bring the necessary ingredients. Ensure there’s some planning beforehand when doing this though or you might end up with all your guests bringing lemons, mint and rum for Mojitos and nothing else!
The alternative is to pick a selection of drinks and set a cocktail menu from your party to restrict what guests can have and thus keep your beverage bill down.
Another tip to save you money is to invest in frozen fruit from your local supermarket. That’ll cut down on the costs without compromising on quality!
Ensure you have plenty of glasses or at least plastic cups if you don’t want to risk your guests breaking all your precious glassware. You can still use visually appealing glasses such as our Enchanted Martini Glass and Enchanted Wine Glasses that are far more appealing than a bog standard plastic or paper cup but won’t break in the same way as glass and won’t cost the earth.
Ensure you have plenty of stirrers and drinks accessories on hand to keep drinks well mixed and ensure guests are as dazzled as they are happy and you’ve got one of the most important parts of your cocktail party sorted.
Party Food & Nibbles
The trouble with cocktails is they have a habit of being deceptively delicious. You’ve probably done it before – drunk a cocktail without realising quite how high the alcoholic content was. It’s easy to forget it’s got a cheeky punch to it. So it’s important to keep guests well fed and give them something to soak it all up.
Finger foods are often the order of the day – easy nibbles that are easy to make and equally as easy to transport around and munch on while your guests drink.
Obvious choices for a cocktail party are things like:
- Cheese and pineapple on a stick (always a winner)
- Mini sausage rolls
- Deep fried prawns with a sweet chilli sauce
- Crisps and dip
- Mini garlic bread
- Bite sized treats like wasabi peas, spicy almonds, pretzels, Vol-au-vents also go down well
A wide variety of foods will go down well with the large selection of drinks and variety of flavours on offer – be sure to supply plenty of bread and the option of water for guests who want to sober up or pace themselves.
Tableware, napkins and appropriate cutlery will ensure your guests don’t make a mess of your home and have something easy to transport their nibbles around on. Plus it’s all disposable, so there won’t be great masses of washing up to do afterwards!
Cocktail Party Tips & Tricks
So, that’s the majority of the party sorted, but here’s some more tips and tricks to make your cocktail party go off with a bang:
- Painted glasses with names – at a party there’ll be plenty of glasses (or cups) floating around and it’ll be easy for people to misplace theirs and want a new one. Paint the base of the glasses black and use chalk to mark their names on the cup so it doesn’t get lost like this – http://pinterest.com/pin/17662623508705855/
- Bagged Ice- you’ll be using lots of ice for your party. Trying to produce enough in your freezer will be a struggle. But you can buy big bags of ice from your local supermarket the day before or even on the day. Store it where you can. If you have too much to fit in the freezer, fill a sink or even the bath too keep drinks bottles cold.
- Pre-Measure – making cocktails takes time, you don’t want guests going thirsty in the meantime. Use Tupperware, shot glasses or measuring jugs and a range of plastic cups to pre-measure your ingredients and prepare for mixing drinks. Make sure you label things so you know what’s what.
- Batches – the alternative to the above is to make large batches of each cocktail beforehand (before the party even starts) keep them in large jugs, then just serve them in glasses with the appropriate garnishes at the time. Don’t do it too early or some drinks will spoil, settle or gloss over.
- Chilled Glasses – the key to cocktails is often the temperature. That’s why plenty of ice is always a good idea, but you can even chill the glasses beforehand to keep them cool and ready to go. With plastic glasses you can easily pop some in the fridge or alternatively keep the empty glasses full of ice water that can be popped into the next glasses just before you make the drinks.
- Something for the non-drinkers – be prepared to make virgin cocktails for those who don’t want a drink.
So those are our cocktail party ideas, tips and tricks. Let us know in the comments if you have any you think we might have missed!