Making The Perfect Cocktail Station For a Party

Throwing a cocktail party? With so many different drinks variations these days it can be difficult to know exactly what to offer your guests. A good way to go about it is to set up a 'bar' area, which could be on a cart or just on a table. And provide a range of different ingredients so guests are able to make the cocktail of their choice. Here are some of the things you'll need.

If you're throwing a cocktail party then a keeping the alcohol flowing is essential! Some of the spirits you could consider are vodka, whiskey, brandy, rum and gin. You could also add bottles of liqueurs such as Pimms, Irish cream and Amaretto. These will make the base of most cocktails, and having a selection available will give your guests a wide range of different drinks to create. Other things you could consider are wine for making cocktails such as sangria, and even beer and cider. This also caters for people who don't drink hard alcohol.

These are added to a number of cocktails to offset the strong, bitter taste of hard alcohol. Grenadine is a staple when you're having a cocktail party. Monin syrups are good choices too as they come in a variety of different flavours. You can also make your own fruit syrups easily. Boil down some soft berries of your choice (strawberry and blueberry both work well) in a pan with some water, sugar and lemon juice. Once the fruits have broken down and released their natural sweetness, you can blend the mixture or pass it through a sieve. Put it into a glass bottle and refrigerate until you're ready to use. Just a small amount mixed into a cocktail can make a dramatic difference. 

It's useful to have a range of different fruit juices on offer. Orange juice, apple juice and pineapple juice are handy for tropical flavoured cocktails. The tartness of cranberry makes cranberry juice a good choice, and coconut water. Don't forget fresh milk or cream if you'll be serving cocktails such as White Russians. Other mixers are also important, things like flavoured fizzy drinks, carbonated water and tonic water. 

A cocktail isn't complete without a slice of fruit and a garnish! You could slice pineapples into rings, and then into wedges. Cut a slit upwards through the point so that it can sit on the side of the glass. Slices of lemons and limes, glacier cherries and olives are also great drinks garnishes. Along with herbs such as mint and even rosemary. Don't forget cocktails sticks so you can display your garnishes on the side of the glass! The Food Network has some cool ideas about how you can put garnishes together.

To keep drinks nice and cold you'll need plenty of ice. If you invest in an ice bucket, this will keep ice cubes cold and you can refill it from the freezer as needed. If your refridgerator doesn't have an ice machine, you could buy a number of bags of ice so you have plenty for the evening. No one wants a warm drink, and ice is an important thing not to overlook.

Finally you'll need a good selection of glasses. From hi-ball tumblers to hurricane glasses to martini glasses. This will make your cocktails look extra impressive too. You can find them cheaply from places like Ikea, making sure you have plenty to go round is essential.  

Have you ever thrown a cocktail party?