When you have friends and family over, sure you want to have a good time. “Celebrating excellence,” we call it. But this is key: What lets your guests have a good time and demonstrates you care about them even more than making great drinks is being a good host. Show hospitality by making sure they’re comfortable, entertained, and safe. All of these points below will let your guests know that you’re glad to spend time with them and will put them at ease.
- Keep things manageable – don’t invite more guests than you can attend to.
- Create a fixed menu of two or three cocktails in a range of flavor intensities or octanes. An “open bar” is an invitation to chaos and overindulgence.
- Take time to prepare. Make sure you’re good on ice, citrus, kit components, and all ingredients.
- Have a plan for rounding up and cleaning glassware as the party goes along. Enlist help if you need it.
- Don’t make your guests feel bad about their drink choices – snobbery isn’t cool. If they just want a simple Vodka & Soda, make it awesome!
- Provide beer, wine, or sipping spirits for those who may not dig the whole cocktail thing.
- Offer plenty of food, water, and soft drinks, making it easy for people to enjoy the party responsibly.
- Serve your guests with care. Pay attention to how many they’ve had and how they’re doing – a general rule is one drink per hour, with food and water. Don’t set someone up for a hangover or a dangerous ride home.
- Set out snacks in a few different spots to encourage mixing and mingling.
- Introduce people who don’t know each other if they haven’t already done it.
- Set the mood: Be pleasant but not stiff. You can always complain about your day with your friends another time.