Now that you have a bar for serving cocktails, the logical questions are:
What do you serve?
Who is going to serve it?
What do you serve?
When planning your party, you can offer one or more of the following
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.
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.
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 cocktails. 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.
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, then
strain into a martini glass.
Note: Do not pre-chill your martinis & Manhattans, the water from the melted iceis 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 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:
Keeping the ice bucket filled
Emptying water from the ice bucket
Refilling the specialty drink pitchers
Stocking alcohol & supplies
Keeping the bar area tidy
Emptying the liquid waste pitcher
What you are serving 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 drinksduring the party and you can simply circle the room refilling glasses with a pitcher.
A co-host, 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
When selecting a bartender for the job, be sure to hire a hot and sexy male to make you look good and excite the crowd. Hot and sexy female bartenders may excite the men and upset your lady guests, resulting in a no show at your next shindig.
Go to a local restaurant or bar to hire a bartender. This will give you an opportunity to meet him and check him out. The fact that he is employed as a bartender serves as a pseudo-reference and a way to track him down, if necessary.
Bartenders working weeknights are more likely to be available on a weekend night, if your party is planned for Friday or Saturday. Deal directly with the bartender you wish to hire.
Be sure to discuss how you would like him to dress: black pants & white long-sleeve collared shirt or black pants & black shirt are suggested. You may want to purchase a black bow tie or long black apron to dress up the look further.