Cheat Sheet: Cocktail Party
So you’re hosting a soiree. Here’s what you need to know to make sure it goes smoothly.
Deciding to host a party is easy. And, as long as you’re prepared, the party will be a memorable hit. Luckily, we’ve thrown lots of parties, and we’re happy to share our intel with you. Here’s a cheat sheet to make sure your guests (and you) have a great time.
Keep It Simple
In an ideal world, all of our parties would include separate stations for Moscow mules, mojitos, Manhattans, martinis, and more. But this isn’t an ideal world, this is your living room. The good news is that booze is booze, and your guests will likely drink whatever you’re serving. Stock up on wine and beer (a mix of mid- and low-priced is fine), and buy bottles of vodka, tequila, gin, and whiskey with some basic mixers (like club soda, regular soda, and juices). To save time, space, and effort, choose a popular specialty cocktail that’s easy to make and serve in bulk, like margaritas. We promise no one will notice the difference.
Make Sure Your Tools Are in Working Order
What will your guests notice? That bottle of wine or beer they’re trying to drink but can’t open. Make sure you’ve got the tools you need, and that they’re clean, working, and ready to go for the night. It probably doesn’t hurt to have an extra bottle opener either.
Hydration Is Key
If you’re serving alcohol, have water and sodas available as well. Fill a few pitchers and put them on the bar, and set up a pretty mixer station for sippers and teetotalers alike. Be sure to stock up on ice well before the party. It will slow people down (more ice in the glass means less room for booze!) and help everyone stay hydrated.
Food Is Good
There should be something for guests to munch on, but no need to go overboard. A veggie tray (which can be picked up at the supermarket) along with chips and hummus, salsa, or guacamole are no-fuss crowd-pleasers. Without adding much time or effort, opt for pizza bagels or pigs in a blanket—conveniently found in the frozen section of your grocery store. Keep it easy, so you can spend your time with your guests, not in the kitchen.
More Is More
Unopened bottles of wine won’t ruin a party, but running out might. As a rule of thumb, figure on two drinks per person during the first hour, and one per person during each subsequent hour. Make sure you have plenty of ice. You can never have too much!
At some point, someone is going to spill something. No biggie. Just make sure you have cleaning products on hand! And get an arsenal of supplies ready for the real effort the next morning.
What are your go-to prep tricks for parties? Let us know in the comments!