We’ve all been to a perfectly planned cocktail evening, and wanted to recreate it at home. It’s so difficult to get right, though. So many times, you run out of the good stuff, or struggle to keep everything at the right temperature but still accessible to your guests. With people coming in and out of the party, it seems like you have to have everything on hand all the time… ahh!
Need tips on how to hold a cool party? Here’s our quick how-to for you to host the impeccable drinks occasion, whether you’re inviting new neighbors for the first time, or having a big party to celebrate an anniversary.
You should always have options, but know your options, and list them when you’re offering drinks to your guests. Remember, if you ask an open-ended question like “what would you like?” you’re opening the door for someone to request something you didn’t think to get. Always offer a selection of options that you’ve made sure to stock before hand.
We also think it’s a great idea and fun twist to have your own drinks menu for a cocktail party. If you’re having a dozen people over for drinks, it can all get overwhelming to find everyone’s favorite liquor or mixer. So, come up with a list of 6 cocktails that you’ll have plenty of ingredients for.
Try to have a range if you can, even if you’ve got a theme for your party. Remember there will always be one old-fashioned person who wants something simple, like rum and coke, just like there will be one super trendy person who’s drawn to the slightly spicy chili martini you’ve just discovered. Try to have something at each end of the spectrum!
This is a chance for you to use your creativity and put a personal twist on things. It’s also a super convenient way for you to figure out how much of each ingredient you’ll need to have.
If you serve wine or beer to most of your guests, you should stop using your fridge immediately. It’s nearly impossible to get temperatures right in the fridge, especially when people are constantly opening and closing the doors.
If you’ve got a beer-loving husband, you should get a kegerator. You never have to worry about throwing off the beer because the cooler door keeps opening.
Wines are easier to manage in that department, because you’ll be keeping them in the cooler until the occasion, and you won’t be putting your bottle in and out of the cooler every few minutes. Of course there are wine fridge reviews online that are must follows in case you’d want to make a purchase especially if you’re the type who holds regular parties and would like those wines served at the best temperature.
Tip three: stock up!
Here are a few basic beverages every good hostess keeps on hand.
-a dry white wine
-a good bottle of bubbly
-a keg of beer (don’t worry, they come in small sizes too! Kegs will raise your game in a way that even husbands can’t ignore!)
-a fruity liquor or two
-a selection of herbs (these are best fresh, and growing them indoors in a window box is an amazing boost to your cooking abilities as well as for making drinks. Try mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, and sage for fun and exciting cocktails).
A special tip: When it comes to alcohol, you know as well as we do that there’s an infinite range of prices and levels of quality. It’s always, always a good idea to have two of everything. Aim for a “good” whiskey, and then a fantastic whiskey. Know your audience, and know how much you can afford to use. If you’re going to be serving people who aren’t that picky, or going through a whole bottle, you don’t want to get out your best.
No matter what you’re keeping in your cabinet, make sure you know how to store everything. And remember, not everyone drinks alcohol. Always have at least one exciting nonalcoholic option on the menu, like a spiced cider or nice ginger brew.
So, aside from drinks, what do you need to buy to have the ideal drinks evening?
-cooling appliances: to take the guesswork out of keeping wine and beer in their perfect conditions. We like wine coolers and kegerators. Beer coolers don’t do you any favors with things that don’t come in cans, and let’s face it, there should never be cans at your cocktail party. If you need help finding the best ones, there are some great online reviews here to help you out!
-a decanter: you can’t have wine without a decanter! It’s so, so, so important to let a wine breathe, and decanting can help you get it from pop to perfect in a matter of seconds rather than minutes. Plus, this is an excuse to get out your fancy glassware and get a few extra compliments! Yes, you ARE tasteful!
-a wine preserver for leftovers: No matter how well you plan, you’re almost guaranteed to have a glass or two in the bottle at the end of the night. Don’t re-cork your wine, use a preserver. It’s more elegant and it just plain works better! There’s nothing worse than crumbly bits of cork in the bottle when you go to finish it off. And always remember that if your wine isn’t good enough for drinking, you should use it to cook with! Wine adds rich, tangy flavor to anything, but it’s superb for making a delectable meat dish. Red for beef and pork, white for chicken and fish!
-a range of glassware: any good hostess knows that each different drink needs a different type of glass. Plan to have a set of a dozen whiskey glasses, white wine glasses, red wine glasses, pint glasses, and martini glasses. For your fancier concoctions, keep some good cocktail cups–copper is a stunning choice for anything bigger than a martini.
-salt…? Yes, salt. With wine comes spills, and with spills follow stains soon after! You want to be ready to act fast. Sprinkle some salt on the table cloth or dress to help keep those stains from sticking. You’ll save yourself the trouble of agonizing over your tablecloth later, and you’ll save your guests the embarrassment of having caused a permanent mark. Trust us, ladies, grandmothers know best, and this trick has been around forever.
That’s it! That’s all you need to have the perfect drinks soiree! Good luck, and happy hosting!