Every good cocktail party warrants good planning and good tools. If you're used to throwing cocktail parties, then you don't need us to tell you that it all comes down to having the right supplies and enough of them on hand! But have you given any thought to the extra touches that would make any bar set up unique, sophisticated and send your party over the top?
The best gift for the aspiring cocktail party host + 7 great tips for throwing the perfect cocktail party
We have the perfect grouping of extra features in our Mixology Gift Box that will make any bar set up look or taste sophisticated and classy. Whether this is a gift for you or a gift for your friend (a perfect gift for a man) that loves to throw parties, we think that every bar deserves a little present that will up your/their game at the next soiree.
Not only do we have a lovely gift set just ready to be delivered anywhere you want (in the US), but we want to help you out by giving some simple pointers on hosting your next get-together with cocktails. We'll walk you through why using Bitters is Better, where to set up your bar, glassware and bar set up.
7 great tips for throwing the perfect cocktail party
We've all been there; it's crunch time. guests are about to arrive and we are barely ready. The appetizers still need to be put in the oven, we ran out of ice, and our bare feet are slipping on the floor that we just decided to mop at the last minute. Ok, maybe that's just my one experience, but I'm sure you can all relate. I'm going to give you some advice from a seasoned party thrower: to plan for a good cocktail party you need have to some simple things to help guide your guests easily through the night.
Choose the type of cocktail party
Besides the food, there is the basic set up on what type of cocktail party you are throwing.
1. Hire a bartender. Your work is done. Whenever I can afford it, I splurge on this. I mean, how great is it to have someone mix up a few cocktails and free you up to mingle with your guests.
2. Mix drinks at bequest of your guests. Sure, you get to talk to almost everyone, but you're stuck behind the bar, literally serving all night. You've already set up the whole party, you really should enjoy yourself.
3. Have drinks mixed in back and passed around, with someone else pouring wine and beer on the side.
4. Set up a simple cocktail station with 2-3 well-thought out drinks in advance. Pre-mix them for your guests or give them simple directions on how to mix them themselves.
I'm going to talk about option 4: throwing a great low key cocktail party.
Research drinks in advance
A couple weeks before, I decide on 2-3 drinks you know your guests will love. I usually choose a dark alcohol, a light alcohol and something unexpected. Limiting it to 2-3 means you can focus on having enough ingredients for just those drinks (and not every drink in the world), on having the appropriate glassware, and finding the perfect recipes. I would recommend printing or writing out simple directions for your guests on a sign to place at the bar. Even if you've chosen to mix the drinks yourself for your guests, at least they now have a sense of what's in the drink. The sign can look really nice as well. We found this really awesome one from Oh So Beautiful Paper. Really sets a tone and classiness for the night, doesn't it?
Choosing the right glass: Does the Glass Matter?
Last but not least is the glassware that you pick. Each cocktail has a specific style of glass that either makes the bubbles stay in longer (champagne) or enhances the flavor (like with brandy snifters), or simply looks delightful. The ones we love are from Super Duper Studio in Berkeley California.
The Saturn Glass in our Mixology Gift Box is the original spill-resistant wine or drink glass. Crafted from Swedish, lead-free crystal, the stemless Saturn Glass’s contemporary design is blown and cut by master craftsmen in the Czech Republic giving it a quality that machines can’t match and a personal touch that can only be imbued by hand. Includes one glass.
Setting Up the Bar
You'll want to have a few things on hand to round out any respectable bar.
- Glasses for each style of drink (one for wine, one for beer, nice tumbler, cocktail glass, etc)
- Mixing glass
- Drink stirrers
- Cocktail napkins
- Various garnishes
- Bar Spoon
Pick the perfect spot for a bar
Every bit of picking the bar set up is important, not least of all its location. Pick a station in your house or venue that is somewhat less high traffic. Seriously, you don't need to worry about people visiting it, they will come. The problem is that when you set up the bar right where the food is, or by the front door, you are guaranteed to have a cluster !%!b& on your hands. Give the bar a bit of breathing room.
Don't forget the Ice:
This goes without saying. But when the ice dies down the party starts fading. It's what makes a manhattan crisp, a vodka tonic chilled and your drinks looking refreshing. Always plan ahead to have ice on hand. If you want to get really fancy, you have to think in advance. You can buy some of those cubed silicone ice trays and start making ice a week before.
What exactly is Bitters?
Bitters has exploded on the bar scene in the past 5 years. You can get flavors ranging from chocolate to Thai to Rhubarb. But is it worth it. Our answer, hell yeah!
Adding a dash or two to a drink can add complex flavors and balance to most cocktails. However, in these small amounts, this magical ingredient won't make the whole drink bitter. They'll just make it better. At their simplest, bitters are highly concentrated tinctures.
Bitters aren’t just for cocktails either, which makes them very useful to have on hand to spruce up a mocktail or a flavored soda. We've picked Strongwater brand of Golden Cocktail Bitters which we love for its bright and tannic finesse including Turmeric, Cardamom, Sassafras and other Mountain Botanicals. Just a perfect blend for this upcoming holiday season.
If you are interested in buying our gift for someone you know, check out our shop right here.