Five Cocktail Ideas for your Next Dinner Party

Hosting dinner parties in your own abode is always an exercise in how to please everybody. You control the pace, ambiance, mood and tone of the evening. If you’re feeling sassy, switch up your dinner party or happy hour at home and take the less traveled route of cocktails instead of beer and wine. These five simple sippers will surely fit into any theme and budget, and are surefire crowd pleasers.

Old Fashioned – The trick is with the orange rind. Use a thick enough peel and wipe the rim of the glass, as well as twist over the bucket to allow the orange oils to become part of the tasting experience. Garnish on top of the ice cube and serve. For a unique approach, quickly light the pulpy part of the rind with a match – this will take your old fashioned into a smoky, campfire direction.

French 76 – sub the gin w/ vodka and call it a 76. This is a refreshing and biting cocktail that incorporates clean vodka, tart lemon juice, simple sugar and crisp sparkling wine. It’s like a super fancy wine cooler.

Poloma – Fresh grapefruit juice, soda, tequila and lime. That’s it! For variations on this beast, use San Pellegrino Limonata instead of soda and grapefruit juice. Add a chili pepper or slice of jalapenos a garnish to spice things up, literally.paloma

Classic Martini – for the discerning guest, you really just need gin or vodka, an icy up-glass, vermouth and olive juice. It’s an iconic drink, a crowd pleaser, easy to create, and it won’t stain. Shaken or stirred? Well, that depends on if you want to hear rattling ice for three hours.

Moroccan Coffee – this is always a fun party cocktail. People are enamored by the dazzle and spectacle of burning alcohol. Set that over-proof rum on fire, spritz the cinnamon and nutmeg to create little firecracker flashes, then add in your coffee liqueur, Irish cream liqueur and coffee, and viola. These after-dinner delights sneak up on you AND stick around for a while— make a pot of decaf for those folks who don’t’ want to be wired for the night. If you need to pull the fire extinguisher out because you’re having too much fun, switch from the hot coffee drink to a smooth White Russian. You’ve got the ingredients, and you probably have enough people who will appreciate the Big Lebowski homage.

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