I consider myself a cocktail connoisseur, continually experimenting with recipes throughout the year. I love to make new twists on old classics or come up with something entirely unique. And what better way to show off my latest invention than with a cocktail party?
This list covers many delicious and fun cocktails that you can enjoy throughout the year when entertaining. From the fourth of July to one of December’s many holidays, there is sure to be a cocktail on this list to showcase at your next party.
Tips for Hosting a Cocktail Party
Before you start getting your bar ready, make sure to consider the following:
Keep it Cool
A cold cocktail tastes so much better than a lukewarm one! To keep your drink cool, try freezing the glassware and cooling down any hard liquor in the freezer before serving. You can also shake the cocktail in ice to instantly cool it down. When in doubt, serve with ice or with soapstone cubes to avoid dilution.
Make sure to have plenty of ice in the freezer before your event. You may want to buy a few extra bags—better safe than sorry!
If you’re hosting a cocktail party, try to include a couple of options for your guests. Some people can be picky about what type of alcohol or flavors they enjoy, while others may have allergies to certain ingredients. Make sure everyone can enjoy a drink!
I always make sure to have a gluten-free option available. Typically vodka is a good option, but be sure to double-check.
Get the Right Barware
Aesthetics matter. While your drinks may taste just fine in a red solo cup, there’s something to be said about bringing out proper barware.
Here’s what I recommend you keep stocked if you plan on throwing a cocktail party often:
- French Wine Glasses
- Marta Glasses
- Edge Wine Glasses
- Tour Martini Glasses
- Pryce Gold Coupe Glass
- Natala Faceted Rocks Glass
- Tour Highball Glass
Even if you are on a major budget, you can still acquire most of these at a thrift shop. If you had to narrow it down, I’d say go with a set of wine glasses, a coupe glass set, and a rocks glass. Those should cover most of your needs.
Also, don’t forget other cocktail parry supplies like cocktail napkins, ice buckets, shakers, and a jigger.
The Best Cocktails for Any Cocktail Party
Now, onto the good stuff…the cocktails. I’ve thrown many a cocktail party here at Bayberry House, and these are my go-to options for non-holiday parties. I have some holiday options below if that’s what you are looking for, however.
1. Simple Syrup
Okay, while this isn’t technically a cocktail recipe, I wanted to list it here at the very top spot because I always keep a batch of this syrup on hand. If you are going to be making cocktails, you need to have a good simple syrup…and this one is excellent.
When you are entertaining a larger crowd, it can be helpful to make some of your mixes ahead of time. This margarita mix lets you do just that!
Looking for a unique cocktail? Sweet and spicy smash together in this bourbon cocktail featuring strawberry, lime, jalapeno, and ginger beer.
When you want something light and breezy, this spritzer will satisfy your craving. I combined citrus with ginger and a splash of orange bitters. It’s the best way to end a long day.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a slush recipe! A frozen Old Fashioned is a wonderful take on the classic and perfect for a summer cocktail party on the patio, but it’s delicious every day of the year. I actually like this one best in the winter.
Who doesn’t love a pitcher of sangria? This recipe works well from brunch to dinner, featuring the Italian orange-flavored liquor known as an aperitif. It gives it a distinct taste and brilliant red color.
This delicious cocktail will make a bourbon fan out of practically anyone. You’ll need to make a batch of sage simple syrup, but it’s easy to do.
Think of this one as a fun spin on the classic cocktail, the Moscow Mule. This drink has a southern twist – bourbon instead of vodka.
9. Bee’s Knees
If you like bright citrus flavors, you’ll think this drink is…well…the bee’s knees. Made with gin, this is a throwback to the dark days of Prohibition.
While you can certainly make this year-round, I am especially fond of this cocktail party beverage in the summer months when strawberries are plentiful. The basil adds a nice spicy earthiness to the drink. Your guests will love this one.
Here’s another drink perfect for the warmer months. One of my guests even called this “the signature cocktail of the summer”. With bursting watermelon and berry flavors, I totally agree.
If you are throwing a cocktail party for someone’s birthday, you basically have to make this birthday cake martini!
And while you’re at it, you might as well make a round of birthday cake shots too.
Holiday Cocktail Party Essentials
If you’re hosting a party in the fall, this is another great (and seasonal) take on the classic recipe. This Old Fashioned features real pumpkin, maple syrup, and bourbon.
Another classic drink with a twist, this White Russian is a Thanksgiving favorite at my family’s house. It’s creamy and packed full of flavor, including a peppermint or salted caramel version.
15. Bourbon Cherries
I top so many of my cocktails with these cherries! Super easy to make, you can also add them to a dessert bar or gift the jar for a delectable treat.
Cranberries are the perfect fruity addition to the holiday season. Enjoy this cocktail from Thanksgiving all the way up until Christmas Day.
If you plan on hosting a lot of people for your cocktail party, try making this jolly punch. It’s packed with plenty of sweet fruity flavor and some tequila to get the party started.
For those that enjoy a hot cup of cider, add a little more sweetness to it with bourbon and maple syrup. This drink is great for sipping and cozying up during an intimate cocktail party.
This martini looks like it comes straight from a winter wonderland. Complete with a sugar rim, it tastes just like an adult-only white chocolate milkshake.
20. Mulled Wine
A Christmas classic, mulled wine is the best drink for Christmas Day. Toss some red wine in with a blend of spices and orange slices, and set the ingredients to simmer. Your house will smell delicious!
A Cocktail for New Years
This Spiced Cranberry Champagne Cocktail is a bubbly way to say cheers to the season. With a tart, sweet, and spiced flavor it checks all the boxes for the perfect seasonal cocktail.
When you’re in the mood for something sweet, this cocktail tastes like pure dessert. If you’re having a small New Year’s Eve party, this white Russian is a great drink to slowly sip through the night.
This spiced pear cocktail feels so elegant, perfect for a night of glitz and glam. Celebrate the new year with some gin, pear, lemon, and bitters.
Okay, this last one is not really a cocktail. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention champagne as a great option for a New Year’s Eve cocktail party!
Cocktail Party Appetizers
Now that your drink menu is planned out, add some delectable food to keep your guests happy. Cocktails without a good snack are two are never a good idea. Keep your guests happy and fed!
Inspired by charcuterie, these small bites are packed full of flavor. Brie gives a heaviness while fig adds some sweetness, and prosciutto tops this crostini off with some salty goodness.
What’s a party without a really good chip dip? This is a classic cocktail party food! When you’re strapped on time but don’t want to buy something store-bought, make this dip in just 10 minutes. Good for chips or veggies!
These bacon-wrapped water chestnuts are a festive version of one of my favorite and easiest appetizers to make. The cranberries offer some tartness and extra crunch to the classic combo.
Your guests will feel like they’re at a 5-star restaurant with this rich and delicious dip. Served warm and creamy, it’s sure to have guests going in for seconds.
When you want a light and easy recipe to make, try these roll-ups. I always serve them during my spring and summer get-togethers.
Impress your guests with this deluxe and hearty appetizer. I love to serve these stuffed mushrooms during the fall and winter, but they are a crowd favorite any time of the year.
Because we always need to end with something sweet, this cheesecake dip is great to bring out after you have served some savory appetizers. Dip apples, graham crackers, and other sweets!
More Cocktail Party Staples
Here are a few other snacks I keep on hand at practically every cocktail party:
- cheese board
- nuts – I usually purchase an assorted mix, unless I feel like getting fancy with something like these cinnamon pecans and walnuts.
- veggie tray with this cheesy veggie dip.
- snack mix
That’s a Wrap on Cocktail Parties!
Shaken or stirred, I’m ready to enjoy some drinks! I hope you found the perfect libation to feature at your cocktail party. Let me know which ones you end up giving a try.