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Having friends around??
So you are organising your own party then? Don’t panic!! We have made what we hope will be a useful check list to use as a handy reference point to ensure a hassle free party. Remember the 6P’s – planning and preparation prevent poor party performance!! Some of the things on our list may seem a bit boring – but essential to party success. We are proposing some different drinks ideas which we think are a more exciting alternative to mulled wine!

Before the party …
Sounds obvious but don’t forget to send invitations to everyone – confirming date, venue (and how to find it!) and timings as far ahead as you can. Also – asking everyone to RSVP several days before the party date. Of course not everyone will reply but it may save time ringing round close to the party date so you know how many people to expect. Why not make a guest list, then you can update it regularly with who has replied.

If you decide to have a theme or some kind of fancy dress – make sure everyone knows – you really don’t want to be the only person there wearing a bunny outfit à la Bridget Jones! Or likewise if you are doing a formal cocktail party rather than a informal catch up with friends – be sure to let people know if you are expecting them to be dressy (or not).

Getting the place ready

  • Check in advance that you have sufficient glassware, cutlery, plates, napkins etc. If you are borrowing things from friends, make sure you keep a list of everything so that all the right items are returned to the right person afterwards.
  • Depending on how many people you are expecting – you might want to remove any valuable or delicate ornaments that could get in the way.
  • To make it as easy as possible on yourself to avoid minimum amount of preparation, we strongly recommend preparing or buying finger buffet type options. That way whether you choose sausages on a stick or chic canapés, you will have time to circulate and not be rushing backwards and forwards to the kitchen all evening!! Or spend ages washing up afterwards! After all you want to enjoy the party too!
  • There is a fabulous range of nibbly party essentials from all the major supermarkets such as Tesco and Waitrose – they even have free glass hire if you book in advance. Click through on our where to buy section to check out some of the selection of yummy nibbles you can choose from.

Equipment essentials
A measure: a standard shot is usually 25ml (2.5cl), try and find something that you can use as near as possible to that size. How about a small egg cup? Even if it proves to be a little larger than the average shot, it’s no problem so long as you follow the correct proportions of the cocktail recipe ingredients.

Cocktail shaker (don’t feel you have to buy one – you could use a jar with a secure screw top lid)

Recommended Drinks Shopping List
vodka, Warninks Advocaat, De Kuyper Cherry Brandy, De Kuyper Blue Curaçao, De Kuyper Triple Sec (or Cointreau has a similar but not quite so tangy flavour), Angostura Bitters, Gin, White rum (such as Bacardi), assorted mixers – orange, grapefruit, cranberry juice, lemonade.

  • Plenty of ice – don’t panic if you haven’t enough time to make it – most supermarkets sell it by the bag.
  • For those sad people who claim not to like cocktails (yes there are still some left in the world!) - plenty of red and white wine and some beer just in case.
  • Plenty of lemons, lime or oranges to use as garnish and also enough to make juice. (If you want to save some time on making freshly squeezed juice – buy a squeezy Jif lemon, they’re not just for pancake day! – and some lime cordial)Hot tips!

Hot Tips!
Don’t be too ambitious and pick really difficult cocktail recipes. Why not select 3 or 4 recipes which you have had the chance to practice and that you are confident in making. Why not check the recipes as a handy reference from our how to make section. If you want to serve a particular cocktail on arrival, choose something that doesn’t have anything fizzy in it so it won’t go flat with people arriving at different times during the evening.

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment! That’s the fun of cocktail making!
  • Allowing for 25ml (2.5cl) per shot means you should get up to 28 measures from a standard bottle of spirits such as gin or vodka which would be 70cl size. Many liqueurs bottles are 50cl size which would give 20 shots. Check your bottle sizes so that you don’t run out! Its worth doing a quick calculation if you are planning to make a cocktail for everyone on arrival.
  • Always make sure you have sufficient options available for anyone not drinking alcohol – it is possible to have non alcoholic cocktail. How about a Seabreeze – but leave out the vodka, or a Lime and Lemon Bitters?

Our Party Cocktail Suggestions:
If you want to kick the party off with a bit of a bang, why not try our cocktail of the month Party Punch? We have also developed some new cocktail ideas which you might like to have a go at making for your party?

Into the Blue
Into the Blue

This is a colourful combination of De Kuyper Blue Curaçao, white rum (we recommend Bacardi) and grapefruit juice. Banish those winter blues and give yourself a lift with this exotic yet simple cocktail.


A recent discovery which we just had to share with you! This is a sublime mix of vodka with De Kuyper Apricot Brandy and lime juice. The Apricot Brandy gives a sweet fruitiness while the bitterness of the lime juice makes it tangy all at the same time! Go on, give it a go!

Cranberry Cooler
Cranberry Cooler

Ok, so we had to finish off with something with a Christmassy theme!! This is a refreshing blend of Disaronno Amaretto and vodka with cranberry and orange juice.

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