How to Host a Cocktail Party

Published on July 25, 2007

Set up the bar in the kitchen, if possible, away from rugs and close to the ice and sink.

Hire a bartender, if you can afford one.

Buy top quality liquor and use fresh fruit juices or top quality concentrate.

Make or buy lots of ice. Be sure it’s fresh, hard, clear and free of odors.

Measure liquor precisely.

Invest in martini glasses, which add a touch of elegance and even make drinks taste better. Check out restaurant supply stores.

Add two corkscrews, a cocktail shaker and swizzle sticks to the list.

Discourage guests from pouring their own drinks. If you must set up an open bar, buy inexpensive automatic pourers that dispense a standard shot. Available in restaurant supply stores.

Keep liquor as far from the food as possible to prevent congestion.

Stick to finger food, attractively displayed on a table. Or have a friend pass bite size nibbles on trays, with a pile of cocktail napkins at the ready.

Serve cocktails very cold, in chilled glasses. If time is tight, fill glasses with ice and water and let them sit while you mix the drinks.

To garnish cocktails with fresh fruit, cut small wedges or slices of fruit and make a slit toward the center so it will sit on the rim of the glass.

Make up attractive menu cards announcing the evenings featured cocktails. Cut a slit in the top of an apple, pear, or pomegranate to display the cards.

For a group of six friends, post the recipes and have guests build their own drinks.

When pre-mixing cocktails, make ice cubes out of juices or garnishes so they don’t water down the drink. Cranberry ice cubes are especially festive. Serve pre-mixed drinks in pretty glass pitchers with attractive garnishes.

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