I love hosting cocktail parties. They’re relatively inexpensive, fun to put together and glamorous. And the best part is, you don’t need an excuse to throw a cocktail party – you can get all of your friends and family together “just because.” There’s a whole lot more involved in this process, however, than just putting out a few bottles of liquor and some glasses. To ensure that your cocktail party goes off without a hitch, check out this easy-to-follow guide:
1. Start with the invitations
Party invitations are a must-have for this event. You should choose your invitations and sent them out about three to four weeks prior to the date of the party.
Quick tip: Before you mail out the invites, you have to figure out exactly who you’re inviting. The size of your guest list will largely depend on how much space you have. You don’t want everyone to be cramped into one tiny room. When you do settle on a location, it should be a room toward the back of your house. This way, guests will flow into the house instead of being stopped in the entryway.
2. Set a budget
Like any event that you host, it’s important to set a budget. Otherwise, you’ll likely go to town on drinks, food and decor without even realizing it. You’ll have to consider all of your expenses. Here are a few items that you might have to make room for in your finances:
3. Choose a theme
Selecting a theme for your cocktail party will allow you to narrow down what type of beverages and food to serve as well as how to decorate your home. Check out this fun theme idea for inspiration:
1920s “The Great Gatsby” cocktail party
- Gin Rickey (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s drink of choice): Blend gin with lime juice and a splash of club soda.
- Mint Julep (a favorite of Daisy Buchanan’s): Combine simple syrup with bourbon, mint and crushed ice.
- Raw oysters (Oysters Rockefeller was huge during the ’20s): Flavor with shallots, ginger and sweet Champagne.
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Roasted nuts
- Adorn a table with silver or gold tiered serving trays that will display your appetizers.
- Hang stringed lights to set the perfect romantic mood for the evening.
4. Calculate how much alcohol you’ll need
You don’t want to come up short on alcohol – that’s a party foul. But you don’t want to be left with bottles and bottles of spirits, either. Just keep this handy guide in mind when you’re shopping for liquor:
- Ice: 1 pound per guest
- Mixers: Three bottles for every one bottle of alcohol
- Wine: One bottle per two guests per hour
- Liquor: One bottle per five guests per hour
- Beer: Two beers per guest per hour
5. Figure out how to craft the perfect cocktail
People are going to be relying on you (the bartender) to whip up some tasty drinks, so it only makes sense that you should study up a bit before the event rolls around. Know your way around barware like shakers and jiggers.
Use a jigger to measure the correct among of liquor into the glass and add ice. Next, take a Boston shaker and cover the glass, locking the two halves together to make a good seal. Then pick up the whole thing and shake vigorously.
6. Gather the glassware
Different drinks call for different types of glassware. You should plan on having about three or four glasses per guest. Then take a look at your drink menu to figure out what glassware you will need. For example:
- Martini glasses
- Wine glasses (for both red and white wine)
- Port glasses (for top-shelf liquor served without ice)
- Mason jars (can be used for a country or rustic-theme cocktail party)
- Vintage teacups
- Highball glasses (used for all mixed drinks)
- Champagne flutes