Designing the perfect cocktail menu for any event
Updated: Feb 14
No matter what size your event, you want it to be perfect. You chose your guestlist, picked up your décor, planned your menu, and are ready to rock and roll. But before you hit send on those invites, be sure to invest some thought into setting up a cocktail menu worthy of your soiree.
Sure, there are gatherings where a case of beer and a few bottles of wine will do, but to make your event truly memorable, the cocktail list should be fabulous in its own right. Here are a few things to consider before heading to the liquor store:
Theme of the Day
A 50th birthday party has a different vibe to it than a wedding shower, and ditto a graduation event to a stag & doe. If the event is a celebration of a rare milestone, like a special anniversary, consider adding things like bubbly, prosecco-based cocktails in champagne flutes. If it’s a themed birthday party, like a backyard BBQ, opt for something fresh and fun, like whisky and lemonade served in mason jars, or a pitcher of sangria with lots of fresh fruits.
Knowing your audience
Human nature leads us to think that other people probably have the same preferences we do. Let me assure you, that is not the case. While all of your college buddies may love a good beer on tap, there is a solid chance that Aunt Gertrude has different preferences. Be sure to consider who you have on your guest list, and what you know about them, before you decide what beverages to serve.
Indoors or outdoors?
This is a big one, not just in terms of what you serve, but how you serve it. If you are hosting an outdoor event, you want to ensure you can keep your drinks at the right temperature, while also keeping them easily accessible. You don’t want to be forced to keep leaving the party to head inside and shake up a fresh cocktail for someone. This is when you may want to opt for simpler items like a pre-mixed punch that can be kept on ice. On the opposite side, if your party is indoors, setting up a bar where people can watch you make them a drink can be a great conversation starter and source of entertainment.
I admit, I’m a sucker for a pretty-looking drink. Colour-coordinated drinks are an awesome option for those events that have a pre-determined colour scheme – think weddings, baby showers, engagement parties. Having your martinis match your bridesmaids dresses is seriously Instagrammable. Of course, you want it to be tasty too! Make sure you test these out ahead of time to ensure that the colour and the taste work together.
Don’t forget the zero-proof!
When we say non-alcoholic, the first thing most of us think of are soft drinks (and maybe a Shirly Temple for the kids, if we are feeling extra snazzy). These days, mocktails, or low-to-no-proof cocktails, have stepped up their game. A lot of people are seeking to live a healthier lifestyle, or choosing not to incorporate alcohol into their diets. This doesn’t mean their beverage choices need to be boring! There are loads of great mocktails out there that use quality juices, garnishes, and carbonated water or soda to give it some edge. We also recommend setting up a water station somewhere that is easy for people to help themselves to. You can always fancy them up by adding mint and cucumber, or lemon and lime.
Know when to call in the experts
If you don’t know a cup from a coupe, and think that rocks are found in the garden, maybe you should consider letting a professional bartend your party. Bartending services can range from having them serve at your kitchen island to bringing their own mobile bar to your farm-field wedding (we happen to know a good one 😉). These services can be quite affordable, and can help reduce your stress so you can enjoy hosting. Just make sure your bartender is Smart Serve Certified!
Considering these 6 recommendations will help to ensure your party is a hit, every time.