PARTY PLANNING 101
COCKTAIL PARTY DRINK & BAR TIPS
Planning a cocktail party or social gathering soon? Not sure what to serve, how much liquor/wine to buy, uncertain over the choice of a full bar or selected drinks? Read on to discover tips to make your evening a fabulous fun event….
Typically a cocktail party last 2-3 hours during which guests snack on simple canapés/food and imbibe on great cocktails/wine while chatting up a storm! They can be simple or complex, but the following questions need to be answered first:
1. How many guests will be attending? Assume that 50 – 75% of your invited guests will attend.
2. Is this a casual event for friends or a business-networking event?
3. How much time and effort do I want to put into it?
4. Will there be a full bar or limited cocktail menu?
5. What type of food will be served?
6. What is my budget? (Very important!)
7. What are the necessary bar accessories?
8. How many bottles of wine/liquor do I need?
9. Do I need outside help?
10. Location of the event – inside or outside.
COCKTAIL MENU & BAR SETUP
One of the easiest ways to provide the all important cocktails is to create one “Signature” cocktail to make up in large batches to serve all night, like the Holiday “Gift Wrap Splash” or have a drink theme for say, 3 types of Martinis. This way you can tailor your drinks to your party theme and season. The LCBO website provides all kinds of delicious cocktails for all types of parties. Best advice is to keep it all simple and prep as much as possible the day before the event!
Gin, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, Single Malt Scotch, Tequila, Brandy or Cognac, Beer and non-alcoholic beer.
Basic Mixers & Garnishes:
Soda water, tonic water, ginger ale, lemon-lime drink, cola, a fruit juice, clamato juice, lots of ice, lemon and lime slices, cherries, olives and cocktail onions. Salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sparkling and still water.
Traditional Shaker, Strainers, Jiggers (shot glasses), Bar spoons, Muddlers (thick stick of wood for mashing ingredients in the bottom of glass), Bottle pourers and Ice Buckets with scoops or tongs and Bar towels.
SERVINGS PER BOTTLE
1 750 ml bottle of sparkling/bubbly 6 4 oz servings
1 750 ml bottle of wine 5-6 4 – 5 oz servings
1 26 oz liquor bottle 16 1.5 oz servings
1 litre bottle liquor 22 servings
1 bottle beer 1 serving
Guests will on average consume 2 drinks per person per hour for the first 2 hours and 1 drink per person after that.
If you plan to have a Champagne toast, you will need to purchase additional bottles—you only need to pour about a third of a glass for a toast, so plan on one bottle of bubbly for every ten guests.
Beer – plan on having at least 50 bottles for between 10 – 24 guests.
If the majority of your guests are 35 years or younger, increase your quantities of beer, vodka and rum.
Ice – plan on 1.0 lb per person to provide enough for drinks and any ice buckets for wine/beer.
Garnishes are relatively cheap, so it’s always smart to buy extras. Plan on a 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime and two each of olives, cherries, and onions per guest. This means that if you have 24 guests, you’ll need at least 12 lemons and 12 limes plus 48 each of olives, cherries, and onions.
Stock about 4 cocktail napkins or 2 linen napkins per person.
Stock enough glasses that your guests can change their glass at least once or twice during the party. TIP – Renting your glassware from a party rental store is cheap and no messy cleanup! A good Ottawa source is Partytime Rentals.
THE PARTY IS ON!