Top 10 Cocktails for Holiday Parties
When you’re throwing a festive party, the first thing on your list ought to be the drinks. And because it’s holiday season, whatever you serve up ought to be something special. So look no further than the annals of great cocktail making – and our summary below. Many classic cocktails are surprisingly easy to make, and score heavily on the kudos front. Get mixing!
The classic Cuban cocktail, a favourite of writer Ernest Hemingway, burst into Europe in the late 1990s, pushed by the success of the film Buena Vista Social Club and a sudden love for the Caribbean island. Mixing mint, rum and sugar, the Mojito is much more than the sum of its parts. Bottom line is, you’ll impress your guests without shaking all night.
Part-invented by US bartender Dale DeGroff (many lay claim to its origins) popularised by TV series and film Sex in the City, this drink is a slice of New York now mixed regularly around the world. You may not be throwing your party from a balcony overlooking Central Park, but this combination of a great vodka like Smirnoff No.21, orange liqueur and cranberry is pure class.
The whole salt, lime thing gave it a bad name, but made properly with quality tequila the Margarita is a fine drink. A combination of sweet orange liqueur, sharp lime and herbaceous tequila, this Mexican mélange leaves great flavours in the mouth. Bring some sunshine into your winter party.
The cocktail that James Bond famously preferred shaken than stirred, has become synonymous with the classic cocktail party. The amounts of mixer used over the past 50 years have reduced to the point of almost zero. But a well-made martini will contain a decent slug of vermouth, plus premium vodka such as Ketel One or Smirnoff No.21. Take it a step further by serving up a Dirty
Martini – using an olive plus its brine, or an Espresso Martini with coffee liqueur.
There’s a long history to this drink made with spirits, lemon, honey and spices, but you’ll be an immediate hit by serving up something so delicious and warming on a cold winter’s night. A great whisky such as Johnnie Walker Black Label provides the perfect smoky, rich, rounded base on which to build an array of flavours. And, best of all, it will give your ice bucket a rest!
The official drink of Puerto Rica, this much-loved, although until recently often badly made, combination will add a tropical edge to your party. Suffering from the cocktail umbrella backlash of the 1990s, the combination of rum, coconut cream and pineapple is now part of a Tiki cocktail revival, and it might even get your guests wearing hula skirts too.
It’s the epitome of 1980s cocktail drinking: a sweetish, fruity mélange with vodka as a base. But don’t underestimate the Woo Woo, a perfect showcase for peach schnapps with a lovely balancing tartness from good quality cranberry juice and vodka. Surprise your guests with a great version of this iconic drink.
Ideal for pre- or post-party supping, this classic serve dates from the 1920s, popularised at Chicago bar The Pump Room in the 1960s. The world’s favourite mixed savoury drink is a fabulous blend of different flavours, including the unusual presence of spicey heat in a cocktail – and don’t forget the celery.
Se also: Around the World in 7 Cocktails
No party would be complete without a good sour, a drink that brings to the fore the sugar syrup and citrus mix that’s behind most cocktails. It’s a great showcase for a quality whisky such as Johnnie Walker Red Label, with its earliest mention dating back to Wisconsin circa 1870. That’s the kind of knowledge to impress your guests.
Make up a bowl full of whole fruit, fruit juices and your favourite base spirit such as Captain Morgan Original Spice Gold. With a ready-made large punch bowl containing at least 20 servings, and a ladle for people to serve themselves it frees you up to talk to your guests, rather than frantically stir and mix. Party on!
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