Now that you have a bar for serving cocktails, the logical questions
What do you serve?
- What do you serve?
- Who is going to serve it?
When planning your party, you can offer one or more of the following
- Signature Cocktail
- Limited Bar
- Full Bar
The following are not
Plan to serve at least 3 cocktails per person for a 2-hour cocktail party
. A general rule is to assume 2 drinks per person for the first hour, and 1
drink per person per hour for the remainder
of the party.Signature Cocktail
A designated pre-mixed signature “drink of the evening”
makes an easy decision for the guest and easy serving for the host
. Add a cute name that relates to your theme or the guest of honor
and you have introduced another fun element to the evening. Plus, you can freeze any leftover pre-mixed cocktails to pop-out anytime for your next impromptu party.
When arranging each guest's first drink, be sure to offer your special cocktail upfront
otherwise they may get left out.
And, make sure your bartender offers your signature cocktail
. Bartender egos can derail your drink special plan by introducing their own concoction, which is likely to run out.Limited Bar
For those guests that don’t choose your “special drink”, you may want to make a limited bar available
A limited bar will feature one or more liquors plus mixers and garnishes
to create basic cocktails such as, vodka tonic, bourbon & ginger, or rum & coke.Vodka is recommended
as your primary liquor because it offers the widest variety of cocktail
s. If you run out of other liquors, you can accommodate most of your guests with some type of vodka cocktail. Secondary liquors, to accommodate the greatest number of different tastes, include bourbon and rum.
A self-serve station with vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice, tonic,
glasses, and limes
offers a no fuss alternative
to the specialty
cocktail. Add bourbon, coke and ginger for a second alternative to the
signature drink, plus soda options for non-drinkers.
Cocktail suggestions may be found in the drink recipe section
If you provide a full bar, a signature drink still makes it simple for the guest and host, while offering something for every taste. For details on setting up a fully stocked bar, see Setting Up A Bar. Martinis and/or Manhattans
For the ultimate in style and elegance
, nothing beats a room full of people sipping martinis. But, there is a cost...Martinis and Manhattans
are 100% alcohol, therefore premium brands are required
for taste, and you will use more liquor
than with traditional cocktails.
Although there are no cost savings, pre-mixing 1,2, or 3 pitchers
of different types of signature martinis,
without the ice, is much more convenient
. When ready to serve, pour over ice to chill
strain into a martini glass.
Note: Do not pre-chill your martinis & Manhattans, the water from the melted ice is one very important, but unwritten, ingredient.
Of course, don't forget to make sure you have at least one martini pitcher, one shaker, and enough martini glasses
on hand. We recommend a minimum of 1 martini glass per guest
Passing a tray of theme-related shots
, sake or Jell-o shooters, adds an interesting cocktail party surprise
. Jell-o shooters
can be made the night before
in almost any color
and are always a big hit. Dress them up by hollowing out oranges, limes, and/or lemon halves
, pour your jello shot mixture into the halves
to set. After they have set, cut the halves into wedges
using a sharp knife, just as you would cut an orange, lemon, or lime.
For a more elegant party boost, shooters in cordial glasses make a stylish impact.Frozen DrinksFrozen drinks are messy, loud and very time-consuming
. It is unlikely one person working full-time throughout the party could keep up with the demand of 12 party guests, much less any more than that. A rented frozen drink machine at an outdoor party is an appropriate time and place for frozen cocktails
Like frozen drinks, there is a time and place for beer
and it is not at a cocktail party
. If anyone asks for beer, the best response is "Beer?"
followed by "I'm sorry, but we have delicious [signature drinks] or anything else you would like from the bar
."Who is going to serve it?
As the host, one of your primary duties is to make sure everyone has a beverage at all times
. Even for your non-imbibing guests, make sure to have tasty non-alcoholic options
ready to serve and refresh. As mentioned in "Arrivals" this duty starts the moment each guest walks through the front door
In case, you cannot personally attend to each guest, it is a good idea to have a co-host
or helper that you can call on for assistance
. In addition to making drinks, other duties include:
What you are serving
- Keeping the ice bucket filled
- Emptying water from the ice bucket
- Refilling the specialty drink pitchers
- Stocking alcohol & supplies
- Refilling mixers
- Keeping the bar area tidy
- Emptying the liquid waste pitcher
and the size
of the party are the
primary factors determining how much help
you will need with cocktail
Pre-mixing a signature cocktail
minimizes the need to make the drinks
during the party and you can simply circle the room refilling
glasses with a pitcher.
, spouse or partner should be able to carry bartending duties
for an average size party
. Typically, the rush
for cocktails is at the
start of the party
and tapers off once everyone has their first drink, at which point guests can help themselves.
If the bar gets a little backed up, inevitably, a party guest will jump at the chance to play bartender
without even being asked. Otherwise, you can designate a little help
along the way, if needed
For a large party
without a pre-mixed signature cocktail, you will definitely want to hire help
. Otherwise, your designated bartender will never have the opportunity to mingle and enjoy the party. Hiring a bartender