Filed under: Spirits
Kara Newman, author of Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails (Chronicle Books, 2009) and Spirits Reviewer for Wine Enthusiast Magazine has offered us some of her best tips for throwing the perfect holiday cocktail party.
First and foremost, it is important to prepare in advance, says Newman, whose articles have also appeared in The New York Times, Imbibe, The San Francisco Chronicle, Gourmet, and Saveur, and many other publications.
Here's what Kara suggests:
- The pros pull together their mise-en-place before an event, and so should you. Before guests arrive, make sure you have everything you need to make drinks close at hand. That means glassware, spirits, garnishes, etc. Cut fruit into wedges; wash and dry herbs; squeeze fresh juice and decant into squeeze bottles.
- If space permits, put glasses in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before guests arrive. Pull them out as you're making drinks, and they'll be perfectly chilled and have a professional-looking frosty sheen.
- Alternatively, set out a "do it yourself" station with a theme, such as a Bloody Mary station with various spirits, mixers, and garnishes. Print up a basic recipe or two, and stand it in a picture frame. Guests can use the recipe as a guideline, or create their own drink riffs.
- If you're serving alcohol, always be sure that you're serving food, too.
- Good rule of thumb: You can never have too much ice!
- If you don't want to tend bar, consider making a party punch and serving in a show stopping, decorative bowl.
Check out our related story on holiday-themed cocktails along with recipes including one created by Kara, herself.