What are Some Good Drinks to Serve at a Cocktail Party?

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  • Written By: A.E. Jaquith
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 22 December 2018
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Hosting a cocktail party can be a great way to meet new people, visit with old friends, and generally expand one's social network. It can also be a daunting task. With so many options, it can be difficult to choose which drinks to serve. By supplying a variety of mixed drinks, a host can ensure that he or she meets everyone's tastes.

The host should consider purchasing rum, vodka, whiskey, and gin for the party. By sticking to the basics, he or she should be able to prepare a drink for anyone. The host should also be sure to buy mixers to go with the liquor, and popular choices include cola and lemon-lime soda, and fruit juices such as orange juice and cranberry juice. He or she shouldn't need to buy the most expensive brand name liquors, but for reasons of taste, should probably try to stay away from the cheapest brands as well.

With rum, cocktail party guests can be served drinks such as a rum and cola (1 part rum with 3 parts cola). Since rum is such a versatile alcohol, it can also be served chilled on ice, or mixed with almost any fruit juice. A popular rum-based drink to consider is the Ice Breaker (1 shot spiced rum, 1 shot amaretto, with equal parts orange and pineapple juice). This is a fruity drink that is great when served during a summer day.


With whiskey, the possibilities are endless. A great whiskey drink is the Seven and Seven (1 part Seagram's 7® whiskey to 3 parts lemon-lime soda). Like rum, whiskey can also be mixed with cola, or served chilled on ice. A favorite drink of many connoisseurs is the whiskey sour, which can be made a variety of ways, but commonly contains the alcohol mixed with lemon juice.

Some vodka-based drinks for a cocktail party include the screwdriver, vodka and cranberry, and the kamikaze. A screwdriver is simply 1 part vodka with 3 parts orange juice. To make a vodka and cranberry juice, also known as a Cape Cod, the bartender can simply replace the orange juice with cranberry juice. A slightly more exotic drink, the kamikaze consists of 1 shot of vodka, 1 shot of Triple Sec, and sours mix. By replacing the generic sours mix with schnapps, the host can make virtually any flavor of kamikaze imaginable.

An extremely popular liquor for mixed drinks is gin. The gin and tonic, a simple yet time-tested drink, consists of 2 shots of gin mixed with tonic water, served on ice. Since gin has an extremely dry flavor, hosts may want to consider mixing it with orange juice as well.

At a cocktail party, the host may consider serving wine or beer as well, since not everyone enjoys mixed drinks. He or she should have a good supply of non-alcoholic beverages as well, including water. Of course, the host shouldn't forget to have a ready supply of glasses and cups available. For additional drink ideas, the host may want to ask a favorite local bartender for recommendations.


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Post 8

I know many people go to a holiday cocktail party wanting a good selection of alcoholic drinks to choose from. I think it is just as important to have a selection of non-alcoholic drinks and water on hand.

These are a must have for someone who is pregnant or is going to be driving other people home. Some people also just don't care to drink alcohol, but don't want to be left out of the festive spirit.

A flavorful non-alcoholic beverage is usually much more pleasing that a bottle of water at a cocktail party.

Post 7

@Flywheel1 -- Good idea on the club soda. This can be used for many drinks and a lot of people like drinks with some carbonation in them. It is good to have a variety of all kinds of drinks. At least with drinks you know that whatever you don't use, you can keep and they won't spoil like food will.

Post 6

Can I hire someone to do cocktail party catering? Basically, they will come up with a unique drink menu, bring in all the booze and ingredients, and then run the bar during my party.

This would save me a lot of time and hassle and probably be better for my guests. I can make a drink, but I am no pro.

Post 5

I think the best drink for a holiday cocktail parry is authentic, homemade eggnog. For anyone that has never had it, it tastes completely different from the pre-made stuff you buy in the store. Plus, it packs a pretty strong punch so it puts people right in the holiday spirit.

Post 4

The drinks you serve will depend a lot on the kind of party you are having, the number of guests, and the atmosphere you want to create.

I know some people who elect to serve elaborate cocktails that require a lot of preparation. These tend to dazzle the crowd, but they occupy a lot of the host's time and can lead to a mellower party.

But if you want to have a big, boozy party consider making a punch, or serving simple drinks like rum and coke or gin and tonic. These are basically self serve so people can drink at their own pace and leisure.

Post 3

Where did the "word" cocktail originate in reference to social drinks?

Post 2

I addition to the "popular mixers" listed, be sure to pick up club soda and tonic water.

Post 1

A little Bailey's Irish Cream on ice will do it for me.

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