Everybody has their favourite cocktail, be it a Martini, Margareta or Long Island Tea. Here are your basics for a great cocktail party.
HOW MUCH WILL THEY DRINK?
According to the Cocktailmixingmaster, you should allow about 1 to 2 drinks per guest per hour, considering that an average drink is about 250 ml to 350 ml.
It's not uncommon for guests to bring their own drinks so feel free to state on the invitation that they can/should bring their own drinks, though you should be prepared to supply over and above that.
You could also ask them to bring a specific bottle of spirits, mixer and/or the other ingredients representing the base ingredient of classic cocktails. This helps to avoid 25 bottles of tequila and nothing else arriving.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR MOST COCKTAILS
Extras: napkins, straws, swivel sticks
Spirits and liquors: brandy, bodka, gin, rum, tequila, whisky, bitters, triple sec
Mixers - Angostura bitters, cola, fruit juices, ginger ale, grenadine, lemonade, soda and tonic water, tomato juice
Garnishings and flavourings - cherries, cocktail onions, lemons, limes, nutmeg, olives, pepper, salt, sugar, sugar syrup (dissolve 1 part sugar in 2 parts boiling water and let it cool), Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce.
TYPES OF COCKTAILS
There is the built drink which means pouring the ingredients in order, directly into the glass you will be serving it in. For example a highball like Rum and coke, or a Long island iced tea.
There is the frozen or blended drink which means blending the drink with ice, such as a Pina colada or Margarita.
Then there are the shaken and stirred drinks like Mmartinis, or the Mai Tai that are shaken but are poured or strained into a rocks or zombie glass.
SHAKE OR STIR?
Timothy Bentien, main author behind The Bartending Book offers these tips:
Traditionally martinis were always stirred because people felt that shaking would "bruise" the gin. There is no way to actually “bruise” gin, but purists will fight this one to the death.
Others feel shaking produces ice chips which will make the Martini cloudier than usual.
Also, when mixing a Martini, shaking and stirring will produce different temperatures in your drink because stirring melts the ice whereas shaking cracks the ice, making it colder (the way James Bond likes it).
When making a drink the general rule of thumb is shake if you're adding fruit juices. Juices cause the drink to cloud up anyway, so shaking won't matter.
On the other hand with a drink such as a Manhattan, Martini, Rob Roy, or any other clear drink, always stir unless otherwise specified.
"A dry martini," he said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."
"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel.
Famous words by James Bond
(Kina Lillet was launched in 1895 as an aperitif and tonic and quickly became known as “the aperitif of Bordeaux”. In addition to the wine and quinine, it consisted of a blend of fruit liqueurs.)
WHAT TO SERVE YOUR COCKTAILS IN
You'll need wine glasses for wines, juice and water; straight-sided highballs for tall drinks; tumblers for spirits and juices; and martini glasses.
Have twice as many glasses on hand as guests. For wine, champagne and martini glasses, wine glass charms will help guests to keep track of glasses as they mill about .
POPULAR COCKTAIL RECIPES
Blood orange French 75
Ginger and mint sparkling mules
Honey and litchi mojitos
Mango and chilli Margarita
Merry mint sparkler
Vanilla tango (Martini)
The Rum punch-up
Watermelon and Rum cooler
Lavender scented gin an tonic
Also read: Master the art of mixology and Great garnishes for your drinks