Holiday parties are memorable when hosts pay attention to the simple details and take the time to add some festive flare.
Kasey Boudreau, owner and operator of Cellar 82, a mobile bar and lounge, is a seasoned veteran when it comes to throwing parties. With over 250 events hosted under her watch, she knows the ins and outs of a good party and offers up some sage advice – including how to maintain the fun factor.
Kasey takes an authentic approach to stocking a home bar and creating signature cocktails:
- Start by thinking of the types of drinks you gravitate toward on an average Saturday night. Usually there are four different categories of cocktails: strong, sour, sweet or low alcohol.
- A specialty cocktail is easy to create when you start with a basic mixed drink like a gin and tonic, and simply add in some seasonal flavour like cranberry juice.
- Make it even easier and premix the drink to be served in a pitcher or punch bowl, or create individual cocktails funneled into clear glass ornaments for that extra festive flair.
- You can also serve a non-alcoholic cider or cocoa, and let guests add zip with holiday-inspired liquors like flavoured vodka or liqueurs.
Garnishes offer the extra special touch to a beverage and will make a holiday cocktail standout. Kasey believes cocktail garnishes should have a purpose, and claims that garnishing a cocktail completes the taste and adds to the presentation:
- Use cranberries, cinnamon, rosemary and oranges to give holiday cocktails a celebratory feel.
- Festive ice cubes are another way to add holiday flare. Freeze pomegranate seeds or cranberries into your ice cubes for a splash of colour and added flavour.
- Decorating for a holiday party can simply mean bringing in the colours of the season by adding boughs of greenery to your tablescape and dotting them with fresh red berries. Other decorative elements can come in the form of food and drink.
- Cheese and charcuterie platters are ideal cocktail party food and take on a festive feeling when touches like cranberry and sprigs of rosemary are part of the presentation.
MADE TO MEASURE
- It’s ideal to prepare the bar with the right amount of ingredients for the number of guests. The general rule of thumb is one drink per person, per hour.
- One litre of liquor makes about 20 drinks. Have twice as many bottles of mixers (juice, soda, etc.) as liquor.
- For beer and wine, you will need at least one light and one dark brew and a white and a red wine (a bottle of wine yields five to six glasses).
- No need to go beyond the basics for barware. Kasey includes wine and martini glasses, rocks, and straight-stein beer glasses.
- Make sure to have a corkscrew, cocktail shaker, strainer, shot glass, bottle opener, ice bucket, tongs and toothpicks (for garnishes) on hand as well.