How to Host a Classy AF Cocktail Party on a Budget
Nov 17, 2019
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The holidays are right around the corner, and you know what that means: it's cocktail party season!
If you're starting to think about hosting a classy get-together in your home between now and the end of the year, this guide is for you — keep scrolling for easy, inexpensive ways to throw an upscale soirée in your own home.
No one said that in order to host a cocktail party, you had to have a fully stocked home bar (although if that's something you're interested in, this blog post has a checklist to guide you). So you've got two great options to choose from, in terms of supplying drinks.
Choose Your Bases
Instead of throwing down cash for every type of liquor under the sun, consider narrowing it down to just two or three base liquors to start.
Let's say you choose gin, vodka, and whiskey.
From there, you can begin to select the mixers you'll pair with these liquors — and you can figure out which mixers would work for more than one of the liquors you've chosen. For instance, if you get limes and tonic, you can make both vodka tonics and gin and tonics. If you get ginger beer as well, you can now also make Moscow Mules and whiskey gingers. A little vermouth and some olives, and you can also make gin or vodka martinis. So many options!
Long story short, choose two to three types of alcohol that you and your guests would be most likely to enjoy, then try to come up with a list of the mixers and garnishes that can be used across the majority of those liquors to maximize the number of drink combinations possible at your party.
Decide on a Signature Cocktail for the Evening
Alternatively, rather than offering a variety of drinks for your guests to mix-and-match on their own, you could decide on a signature cocktail for the evening, which you announce ahead of time so folks know what will be available to them.
A few classic examples:
- Margarita - Tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice
- Dark & Stormy - Rum and ginger beer
- Mint Julep - Bourbon, simple syrup, and mint leaves
The key to keeping your cocktail party feeling effortlessly classy? Finger foods! Nothing you're serving should require plates or utensils — that way, all you have to shell out cash for is cocktail napkins (which can then be used in place of plates and coasters, as well as napkins).
A few inexpensive finger foods that are always a hit:
As mentioned above, cocktail napkins are on the top of the list of decorative items that you need for a cocktail party! They can be used as napkins, as plates for finger foods, and as coasters for guests' drinks. Target is a great option if you're looking for cute cocktail napkins — for just $3, you can get this 30-pack of napkins that say "This deserves cocktails" in metallic script.
There's no need to go all out with balloons or streamers — in fact, those types of decorations can make your party look less classy. But for upscale decorations that will add an air of elegance to the ambience of your event, consider hanging up string lights. They'll create "mood lighting" for your party and can be reused time and time again. Consider some simple white string lights like this $10 set from Target.
Remember, we're not just talking about hosting any old party. We're talking about hosting a classy cocktail party — which means classy cocktail music (not your standard party hits). Thankfully, Spotify has an awesome Cocktail Jazz playlist available, so you don't even have to think about this one. Not a jazz person? This general Cocktails playlist ought to do the trick.
Cheers to a fun, cocktail-filled evening on the cheap!
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