Cheers to 100 Years

The Art of the Cocktail Party

Like mixing a great cocktail, there’s an art to throwing a great cocktail party. We’re raising a glass to our 100th year by showing you some pro tricks for rockin’ yours.

Taking it up a notch

No matter how experienced you are at throwing a cocktail party, this guide will help you turn up the awesome.

Cool + Spicy G&T

By Michael Dietsch

This spin on the classic gin and tonic starts by pairing a crisp London-style gin with citrus-scented Lillet, an aromatic wine similar to vermouth. The gin is infused with cool cucumber flavors, which balance nicely with the spice and piquancy of pepperoncini.

  1. 2 oz cucumber-infused gin
  2. 2 oz Lillet Blanc
  3. 2 teaspoons brine from jar of Lindsay Whole Golden Greek Pepperoncini
  4. 2 oz tonic water
  5. Pepperoncini, for garnish

1. Fill a tall drinking glass or large wine goblet with ice. Add gin, Lillet, and pepperoncini brine. Stir well to combine. Add tonic water, and stir gently to combine. Add garnish.

2. To make cucumber-infused gin, one sliced, medium cucumber to a large jar. Use a spoon to just slightly crush the cucumber. Cover with 6 ounces London-style gin (Tanqueray, Beefeater, or Bombay, for example). Let stand on the countertop for at least one day, and up to three days, shaking periodically. Strain.

Michael Dietsch

Michael Dietsch Mixologist & Writer

Michael Dietsch is a cocktail and spirits writer in Northern Virginia, near Washington, DC. He is the author of the books Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, and Whiskey: A Spirited Story with 75 Classic and Original Cocktails, and he has contributed to Serious Eats, Punch, and various of the Edible regional publications.

New Party Picks

Succulent olives & veggies, skewered and at the ready for your favorite cocktails Get our newest cocktail recipes

Buy Now

Shop our cocktail party-ready Party Picks and medleys.

Shop Now

The Many Ways to Martini

The great thing about martinis is that you can really make them your own. Sweet, savory, with garnish or without—the possibilities are endless.

Dirty Martini

2 oz gin or vodka; .25 oz vermouth; a splash of olive juice. Add to a mixing glass with ice, stir until very cold, strain into a martini or coupe glass, and garnish with olives. Get all the details here.


Add 2 oz whiskey, 1 oz sweet vermouth, and 2 dashes of angostura bitters to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until very cold, and strain into a martini or coupe glass. Garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.

Vodka Martini

Not a fan of gin? Sub in vodka and garnish with a lemon peel to make this slightly more subdued variation of the classic.

Pomegranate Martini*

Rim a martini or coupe with lime, and then super-fine sugar. Set aside. To a cocktail shaker, add 1.5 oz vodka, 3 oz pomegranate juice, .75 oz lime, .75 oz simple syrup. Shake until very cold, then strain into the glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.


*Pomegranate Martini Mocktail: Simply omit the vodka from the recipe above and you have a delicious virgin cocktail for anyone not imbibing at your party.

The Beginner’s Bar

Want to mix up your own cocktails and impress your guests, but don’t have the experience? Have no fear — let’s start with the basics…

Great cocktails require great tools. With only a few items, you can create standout drinks—and look pretty cool in the process. To start, pick up a citrus juicer, a jigger, a cocktail shaker, a mixing glass, a bar spoon, and a hawthorne strainer.

You could drink a cocktail from any old glass, but they just taste better when sipped from the appropriate vessel. Most glassware is inexpensive, so you don’t have to shell out your entire paycheck to begin your collection. We recommend starting with 4 rocks glasses, 4 highballs, and 4 coupes—one of which, most cocktails will lend itself to—and build from there.

Besides the staples of gin, vodka, tequila, whiskey and rum, invest in good sweet and dry vermouths, Campari, orange liqueur, and one more wildcard selection based on your preferences—think St. Germain, maraschino liqueur, or absinthe. You should also keep on hand fresh lemons and limes, good tonic and seltzer, ginger beer, agave, simple syrup, angostura bitters, and of course, olives.

Master a few of your favorite cocktails—when a guest stops by you’ll be ready to make a great drink at a moment’s notice. You can’t go wrong with an Old Fashioned (bourbon, bitters, sugar), the perfect Margarita (tequila, fresh lime, agave), and a Martini (gin or vodka, dry vermouth, olives).

Christy Moyer

Christy Moyer Cocktail Blogger

Hey! I’m Christy, the girl behind the shaker, trying to develop as many cocktails as possible in an effort to bring the best ones to you. Though I do have my bartending license (which I sought in a post-breakup haze years ago), I don’t claim to be a pro mixologist in any sense of the phrase. I’m just a girl with an affinity for spirits and the company that comes along with it!

The Merry Mocktail Mule

Those ubiquitous copper mugs aren’t just for liquor imbibers—simply omit the vodka, add a seasonal flavor, and you’ve got a beverage even cocktail enthusiasts will envy.

Muddle 7 fresh cranberries or a handful of pomegranate seeds in a rocks glass or copper mug. Add ice, 1.5 oz of fresh lime juice and fill to the top with ginger beer. Sip merrily.

Keep these cocktail party ideas at the ready

Download PDF

Antipasto Platter

A good cocktail party requires good appetizers to pair with the drinks. Our Antipasto Platter is one of our most popular (and colorful) ways to keep your guests happy. Get the Full Recipe

Meats & Cheeses:
Italian salami, provolone

Roasted Red Peppers, Carrots, Celery, Scallions

Olives & Peppers:
California Black and Green Olives, Golden Greek Pepperoncini, Sweet Cherry Peppers

Antipasto & Santa

Bartender’s Secrets

1. Always refrigerate your vermouth after opening—it will go bad in a hurry at room temp, just like wine.

2. Rule of thumb: cloudy drinks are shaken; clear drinks are stirred.

3. Pass on the pith. When garnishing with a twist, try to use as much of the flavorful peel (where the oil resides) and as little of the bitter pith (the white tissue between peel and fruit) as possible.

4. A dash ≠ a drop. Bitters are meant to be added with a swift shake of the hand, with a dash typically consisting of 4-6 drops.