Host the Perfect Cocktail Party With These Drinks + Bites

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!

Have Options

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:

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.

Delicious Bourbon & Sage Cocktail Recipe #bourbon #sage #cocktail #recipe #lemon #sagesimplesyrup

2. Margarita Mix

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!

Learn how to make Homemade Margarita Mix with this easy and delicious recipe! #margarita #margaritamix #tequila #cocktail #recipe

3. Sweet Spicy Bourbon Cocktail

Looking for a unique cocktail? Sweet and spicy smash together in this bourbon cocktail featuring strawberry, lime, jalapeno, and ginger beer.

Sweet + Spicy Bourbon Cocktail #strawberry #jalapeño #bourbon #gingerbeer #summer #cocktail #recipe #spicy

4. Citrus Ginger Spritzer

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.

Ginger Orange Spritzer #spritzer #orange #pineapple #gingerbeer #mocktail #recipe #spritz #bitters

5. Frozen Old Fashioned Slush Recipe

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.

Frozen Old Fashioned Slush Recipe #oldfashioned #slush #recipe #frozen #cocktail #bourbon

6. Campari Sangria

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.

You're going to love this easy and delicious Campari Sangria Recipe! #sangria #recipe #summer #campari #rosé #wine #cocktail

7. Bourbon Sage Cocktail

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.

Delicious Bourbon & Sage Cocktail Recipe #bourbon #sage #cocktail #recipe #lemon #sagesimplesyrup

8. Kentucky Mule

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.

How to Make a Kentucky Mule #cocktail #recipe #kentuckymule #bourbon #mule #gingerbread #lime

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.

A delicious Bees Knees Cocktail recipe! #beesknees #cocktail #recipe #summer #spring

10. Strawberry Basil Martini

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.

This Strawberry Basil Martini is like sipping on summer! #cocktail #strawberry #martini #basil #recipe

11. Berry Watermelon Limeaid Martini

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.

This Berry Watermelon Limeade combines all the flavors of summer into on delicious cocktail recipe. #strawberry #watermelon #lime #limeade #martini #cocktail #recipe

12. Birthday Cake Martini

If you are throwing a cocktail party for someone’s birthday, you basically have to make this birthday cake martini!

Birthday Cake Martini cocktail recipe for the perfect celebratory libation. | Inspired by Charm

And while you’re at it, you might as well make a round of birthday cake shots too.

This Birthday Cake Shot recipe is a tasty and fun birthday cocktail idea. #cocktail #recipe #shot #birthday #birthdaycake

Holiday Cocktail Party Essentials

13. Pumpkin Old Fashioned

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.

Pumpkin Spice White Russians #pumpkinspice #whiterussian #cocktail #fall #fallcocktail #pumpkin #recipe

14. Chai-Spiced White Russian

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.

How to Make Chai Spiced White Russians #chai #tea #whiterussian #cocktail #holiday #christmas #cocktail #recipe

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.

Learn how to make these homemade Bourbon Cherries. #bourbon #cherries #cocktail #garnish #recipe

16. Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Cranberries are the perfect fruity addition to the holiday season. Enjoy this cocktail from Thanksgiving all the way up until Christmas Day.

17. Holly Jolly Christmas Punch

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.

Holly Jolly Christmas Punch Cocktail Recipe #christmas #punch #holiday #cocktail #easy #recipe #cranberry

18. Cider and Maple Old Fashioned

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.

Cider and Maple Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe #applecider #maplesyrup #cider #bourbon #oldfashioned #cocktail #fallcocktail #recipe

19. White Christmas Martini

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.

White Christmas Martini #christmas #cocktail #martini #whitechocolate #recipe

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!

How to Make Delicious Mulled Wine for Fall #christmas #holiday #mulled #wine #cocktail #recipe #fallcocktail

A Cocktail for New Years

21. Spiced Craberry Champagne Cocktail

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.

Spiced Cranberry Champagne Cocktail #cranberry #cocktail #champagne #recipe #holidays #christmas #spiced #easy

22. Salted Caramel White Russians

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.

Salted Caramel White Russians #saltedcaramel #whiterussians #cockatil #recipe #christmas

23. Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail

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.

Spiced Pear Gin Cocktail #cocktail #recipe #gin #drink #cocktailparty

24. Champagne

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!

1. Brie, Fig, and Prosciutto Crostini

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.

This Brie, Fig, and Prosciutto Crostini recipe makes a flavorful and easy appetizer. #appetizer #crostini #fig #arugula #brie #prosciutto

2. Really Good Chip Dip

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!

Really Good Chip Dip made with fresh herbs! #dip #chipdip #chips #recipe #appetizer #recipe

3. Cranberry Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

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.

These Cranberry Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts make the perfect Christmas appetizer recipe. #appetizer #bacon #waterchestnuts #holiday #christmas #recipe

4. Warm Goat Cheese Dip with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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.

Delicious Baked Goat Cheese Dip with Sun-Dried Tomatoes #dip #recipe #baked #goatcheese #sundriedtomatoes #appetizer

5. Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Roll-Ups

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.

Sun-Dried Tomato Roll-Ups #appetizer #recipe #rollup #pinwheel #sundriedtomato #basil

6. Walnut and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

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.

#mushrooms #party #appetizer #entertaining #recipe

7. Salted Caramel Cheesecake Dip

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!

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Dip - delicious and easy dip recipes

More Cocktail Party Staples

Here are a few other snacks I keep on hand at practically every cocktail party:

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.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that receives a small commission by linking to and other sites at no cost to the readers.

Posted By at 5:10 PM
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  • Shelly at

    That’s amazing list perfect cocktail party for our family. Thanks for sharing and love your site

  • Cheri at

    WOW! Great post full of delicious recipes! You’ve inspired me to do a cocktail party this winter! ALSO, do you have a MasterClass subscription? I bet you’d like the Mixology course!

  • Teri at

    This question is not about all your terrific ideas posted here but about Christmas decor. I know you have a lot to store and I was hoping you could do a post about how you organize it and store it so you know what you have and can get what you want next year! I’m sure you have a system, please share! Happy New Year!

  • Jaimee at

    You are always my go-to for delicious party snacks and drinks! Thank you!

  • Ashley at

    What a great round-up! Lots of new ideas saved to my Pinterest boards!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Yay! I hope you found some new things to try! I appreciate the pins. Happy Holidays!!

      xo Michael

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