Planning and hosting a holiday party typically equates to two things in the mind of the host: a drained wallet and/or a necessary vacation after the event. You make all the lists, you clean all the square feet, you brief all the family members on the current affairs of the guests... and there's still chance for a glitch.
To foolproof your hosting assignment, you need a cocktail game plan that will appease even the trickiest of guests. Hosting a crowd or a few close friends doesn't change the fact that you actually want to enjoy your guests! Which means one thing: you need to be prepared to pour a cocktail that makes your guests feel right at home. Think about what your guests like to drink. If they regularly drink gin, get a smooth gin, like Aviation. If they enjoy bourbon on the rocks, get a bourbon with aromatics and layers of complexity, like Cooper's Mark. This attention to your guests will impress and delight.
For every palate at your party, there's a bottle to satisfy. The following is a list of spirits for almost any cocktail you can dream up.
1941 Craft Vodka
Ron Zacapa Rum 23 Year
Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila
Maker's Mark Bourbon
Add to the atmosphere and decorations with the smaller, cocktail details as well. Use seasonal garnishes, mix drinks with the proper tools and prepare foods that pair well with cocktails.
SIDE TIP: Mixology can be tricky, especially if you don’t have the proper tools. Keep the essential utensils on hand (mixer, strainer, bottle opener, jigger, stirring spoon, muddler).
When your goal is to be the hostess with the mostest, you want to be on trend! There are tried-and-true liquors that always make a great cocktail, but each year there are new trends. Serve your guests a fresh offering.
Bourbon is still booming
Whiskey drinkers have been blessed in recent years with a wider breadth of flavor, body and styles coming from both classic and craft distilleries. We have bourbons for winter, bourbons for summer, bourbons for cocktails and bourbons for serving straight. There are bourbons for novices and bourbons for enthusiasts. Bourbons with bottles worthy of display and bourbons for adding to apple pie. Find out which of your guests loves the bourb and you'll be a hit.
Low proof alcohol
Sessionable cocktails, also known as shims, are hot right now. They are incredibly food friendly, leave you in an "I celebrated responsibly" state of mind and really take you on a flavor adventure. See page 4-5 for the lowdown on these cocktails!
You've heard of nacho bars at weddings and Champagne bars at bridal showers, but what about themed cocktail bars at your holiday gatherings. From something simple like a classic Martini kit (including gin or vodka, dry vermouth, olives, a cocktail shaker and maybe a couple of martini glasses) to a “Margaritas for Two” basket (they can be made in most of our ABC stores), one can create a theme based on any cocktail. Try “The Manhattan” basket, or even better, an “Around the World Too” basket (including three past trends, St. Germain, Hendrick’s gin and Pama pomegranate liqueur, plus agave nectar and Yuzu juice).