Whether it's a birthday party or a wedding reception, you can't have a toast without the proper cocktail! If you're hosting a celebration, the bar cart is one of the most important elements to get the party started... and keep it going, so you have the right cocktail recipes to suit each occasion.
Vodka is one of the easiest spirits to mix with because it's nearly neutral in flavor and can take on the essence of whatever add-ins you like -- sweet or savory! Moscow mules ar…
having a moment, but there's no shortage of ways to make a clever vodka cocktail. Hot summer days might call for vodka creamsicle mimosas or vodka watermelon coolers while you might want a chocolate martini or pumpkin spice white Russian come fall.
Gin has a very specific piney flavor that can only be mixed with specific ingredients, making a reliable recipe for a gin cocktail necessary. It's not exactly sweet, so mixologists play with savory add-ins like rosemary in a rosemary gin fizz or a cucumber gin and tonic. But of course, gin works very well in sweet cocktails like raspberry rosewater gin rickey or a blackberry gin smash.
Rum has a special, deep flavor that can be mixed in both summer and winter cocktails. If you want something besides hot buttered rum and eggnog for the holidays, you might want to try a coquito as an alternative -- it calls for white rum, condensed milk, cream of coconut, and cinnamon for warming flavors. In the summer, if rum punch isn't doing it for you anymore, you can try a strawberry limeade rum punch or a Haitian rum sour.
Bourbon is the sweeter of the whiskeys, making it good for a variety of winter cocktails, but there are a few you can make for warmer weather. Bourbon old fashioneds are brilliant for warming up on cold nights, but a good bourbon amaretto sour can cool you down during the summer. If you want to try something more creative, bourbon peach lemonade punch makes a delightful drink for cookouts, and closer to the holidays, you might like a bourbon thyme cocktail.
Champagne can make just about any cocktail more fun, but you need a recipe to get the ratios right. You can go simple with a rosé champagne cocktail but if you want to mix outside the box, there are plenty of inventive drinks to try. Strawberry ginger champagne cocktails are sweet and spicy while a champagne limoncello is sweet without the sour lemon flavor. If you want to try something eclectic, pear and ginger-sage champagne cocktail may arouse your tastebuds. If you want a twist on a southern favorite, you could try a champagne julep -- but this is just the beginning. There are hundreds more ideas to explore.
Tequila has quite a bite that can be tamed in cocktails (that is, if you want tame tequila). Margaritas are an American favorite, but there are many other ways to mix it. The Paloma uses grapefruit for a refreshing summer drink but if you want something sweeter you might want to try the pineapple-tequila cooler. If you want to try something outrageous, a tequila Manhattan may pique your interest. Tequila has a unique flavor, but there are plenty of recipes to discover.
When you're looking at whiskey cocktails, for the most part, you'll use bourbon whiskey or rye unless you're making an Irish coffee in which case you'd use Irish whiskey. If you want a sweeter cocktail, you want to look for bourbon cocktails like an old fashioned but if you want a spicier cocktail, you might want a whiskey cocktail made with rye like a spiced whiskey sour or a strawberry rhubarb whiskey mash.
If you don't know what you want, a good place to start is with classic cocktails. One favorite is the Manhattan. It's made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, but with raspberry-infused rye whiskey, it turns into a royal raspberry for a sweet twist on tradition. You can even bend the standard martini recipe to suit anyone's taste. Make it a sweet s'more's martini using marshmallow vodka and chocolate liqueur, or make it into a spicy martini you can mix in special sriracha vodka. Just about any of the classics can be adjusted to create signature cocktails for unique celebrations that will turn into new favorites.
There's a cocktail for just about every mood, idea, and holiday. The trick is discovering the right liquor and mixers to complement the idea. For instance, the margarita made with lime juice and tequila is the go-to Cinco de Mayo drink, but with fresh mint and pomegranate and a little creative mixology, you can it into a rosy Valentine's Day cocktail. If you have a tiki party in mind, you may want to explore rum cocktails like a mai tai. Throwing a wedding shower? Try different spins on the champagne cocktail -- lavender and blackberry along with the bubbles from the champagne add sparkle to any party!
Every season brings holidays with a variety of flavors to work with. Fall and Halloween recipes might call for party drinks with a heavy dose of pumpkin spice. For Christmas cocktails, try drinks that use cinnamon or nutmeg, like eggnog or hot toddies to keep your guests warm with a little spice. Spring cocktails call for something a little lighter that uses ginger beer or hard apple cider. Summer cocktails should go even lighter with fresh lime juice or lemon juice and seasonal fruit like strawberries or blueberries. There's no end to the kind of cocktails you can mix to match the season.
With the right ingredients and a shake or a stir, you have the makings for the perfect drink recipes for whatever you are celebrating and it all starts on Yummly.