Cocktail parties are great all year round, but they're especially good during the summer months. You can throw a poolside soiree with daiquiris and margaritas, or a classy cocktail fuelled affair as the sun goes down. It may seem like organising a cocktail party is pretty straight forward, but here are a few tips to make sure that your party runs smoothly.
The Cocktail Bible Unless you're already a mixing whizz, chances are you're going to need a bit of help with your shaking and stirring. To make the most of your cocktail party, a great cocktail book can be your best friend. You can plan the night around a signature cocktail, and then just mix whatever else takes your fancy on the night, or you can spend the lead up to your party road testing all the best sounding drinks to put together an excellent cocktail menu.
Check out the Absolut Vodka website, or if you're tech savvy download their app. Here you'll find some great cocktail choices and you can make your selections based on the tastes, glass type, occasion, or just what is popular. Jane Rocca also has a great couple of cocktail books, complete with illustrations by Kat MacLeod.
The Tools of the Trade Good quality alcohol isn't the only thing you'll need to make a good mix, there are plenty of accessories that help to complete your bar. Some of the essentials are a cocktail shaker, a blender, and a jigger will help you measure, shake, and blend your way to a tasty cocktail. Of course you'll also want a sharp knife or two on hand, and depending on the evening you might need cocktail umbrellas, toothpicks, swizzle sticks, and more. Make sure you've got all of your tools ready before you even think about mixing that first cocktail.
Traditionally 'cocktail' is a dress code in itself. Stick to tradition if you're planning a classy affair. Cocktail is essentially the equivalent of semi-formal, girls wear fancy dresses with shorter hem-lines, and the boys dress smart but leave the tails at home. If you're planning a specific cocktail party you might need to work out just what dress code you're after. Perhaps your pina coladas call for bathers and a sarong, or your margaritas and sangria need to be met with ponchos and sombreros. Make sure your guests know what to expect, so that when everyone gets there they can concentrate on the drinks.
The Alcohol Unless you're having a Mocktail Party, and lets face it, you probably aren't, you're going to need a decent amount of alcohol at your party. Unfortunately a lot of alcohol doesn't always go a long way, and throwing a smashing cocktail party can sometimes send you broke.
The best way to handle this is to start collecting early, if you start off with a well stocked bar, you should be able to make it through the night without too many excess purchases. If your cupboards are bare you'll have to think of another solution. For small parties, think about asking all your guests to bring a bottle of alcohol, try and aim for specific drinks so you can still mix the ones you want. Try and plan your cocktails so that you have plenty of shared ingredients, so that you don't need 15 different bottles of alcohol for 3 different cocktails.
So next time you're looking for the perfect party idea, why not consider a cocktail party? They're not always cheap, but you can guarantee that they'll be fun, so start practicing your bar-tending skills now.