I have a fully loaded bar cart, a well-stocked liquor cabinet, and enough cocktail tools to outfit my own saloon. And yet I rarely throw cocktail parties because they’re too much work. The last thing I want to do is get stuck behind a shaker when I have a house full of guests.
One work-around I’ve employed is to batch up a couple different cocktails ahead of time, things like punches and stirred drinks that just need to be poured over ice. But then I discovered something even easier: the DIY Champagne bar.
No cocktail party could ever be simpler. Just stock up on bubbly, corral an assortment of juices, liqueurs and syrups, and set out a bunch of pretty glasses. Your guests get to do their own mixing and matching, leaving you free to perform your mingling duties.
For maximum party impact, your Bubbly Bar should have a wide assortment of options. Start with these five, then add more if you’re feeling inspired.
1) Creme de Cassis (for a Kir Royale)
2) Angostura bitters, sugar cubes and lemon twists (for a classic Champagne Cocktail)
3) St. Germain elderflower liquor (so good with bubbly)
4) Fruit puree, such as strawberry or peach (for those feeling Bellini-ish)
5) Blood orange juice (for a less breakfast-y Mimosa)
Most fruit juices and purees go deliciously with sparkling wine, and they go well together, so feel free to go crazy in this category. And try scouring cocktail books for Champagne cocktail recipes. You can add a stout to the lineup for Black Velvets; Gin and lemon for a French 75. Place little recipe cards on the table so guests can mix with confidence. And don’t forget to label your pitchers.
Of course, you don’t have to spend big bucks on actual Champagne. A tasty prosecco or cava works just as well for a fraction of the price. Just be sure to opt for Brut styles, which are drier and less sweet, making them a better base for all those mix-ins.