Is it summer yet? Shake off the soggy spring weather for a season bursting with scorching social events. We’ve partnered with premium Australian spirit specialist, Grainshaker Australian Vodka and NED Australian Whisky to help you host summer cocktail parties like a pro. From signature drinks to the perfect party playlist, here are our top tips to help you make this social season your most memorable yet. Cheers!
1. Start with a signature cocktail
Elderflower and cucumber, grapefruit or mint? Elevate your party from casual drinks to the event of the season by offering guests a signature cocktail on arrival. Check out these Grainshaker Australian Vodka and NED Australian Whisky recipes for crowd-pleasing party pitchers, martinis and more. Bursting with flavour, these drinks are just as impressive to look at, as they are delicious – especially when served in our gorgeous Winston (range). Remember, a little garnish goes a long way. So don’t be afraid to add fresh mint and berries to your cocktail glasses for a delicious dash of drama.
2. Shake it up
Do your guests and your tastebuds a favour – get yourself a decent cocktail shaker. Complete with all of those handy cocktail accessories, like a muddler, strainer and jigger, our Kennedy Cocktail Set will blend your drinks to perfection, while looking marvellously moody up there on the shelf. Margaritas anyone?
3. A more refreshing refill
Three words; cocktails on tap. Serving refreshments in beautiful juice jars can elevate even the most humble of beverages (we’re looking at you, water). Filled with zesty lime wheels and grapefruit wedges, your drink dispenser doesn’t just deliver top-ups, it serves style as a beautiful tabletop ornament.
4. An impressive range of glassware
Put those everyday cups away. Expand your glassware collection, with a range that’s suitable for different drink formats, like our Salut range. After all, shaken or stirred, a martini belongs in a martini glass. Remember, stemless wine glasses double as dessert cups and coupe glasses will never go out of fashion as long as martinis and Manhattans are concerned.
5. Garnish generously
Who doesn’t love a maraschino cherry? Dress up your drinks and party pitchers with a fun and fresh garnish. Whether it’s a salt rim, dehydrated citrus wheel or a plump strawberry, even humble highball glasses deserve a tasteful twist of décor. But, why stop there, when you can take your garnishes on tour? Decorate your bar cart, serving plates and banquet tables with complementary blooms, botanicals and fresh herbs from the garden (see Tip 9 on Setting the Scene for more details).
6. Chill out
Keep your cool and your drinks even cooler by adding a hint of fruit or edible flowers to your ice blocks. Go one further and swap that Esky out for an ice bucket (or a luxe Kennedy Champagne Bowl). Your guests are sure to be impressed and suitably chilled throughout your event.
7. Serve a mouth-watering spread
Who’s hungry? Complement your cocktails with a considered selection of snacks for your guests to enjoy. Think charcuterie, antipasto and an assortment of crackers and canapes – plus, some desserts for the sweet tooth's! While finger food may not be the focus of the cocktail party, an impressive spread (and a handful of chippies) never goes astray.
8. Insta-worthy serving ware
Sometimes more is more. Present your snacks on a range of serving stands, paddles and Fromage serve boards to create height, dimension and texture. Then add unexpected details with pinch bowls and platters to complete the look. Experiment with layering and placement before topping boards and filling bowls with condiments and crudités.
9. Setting the scene
Summer is a season best enjoyed outdoors. But, when you can’t, bring the outdoors-in! Dress your home in fresh flowers, fragrant herbs and greenery. Native plants make great space fillers and drape beautifully over doorways while candles and lamps create lingering light once the sun sets.
10.Turn up the volume
Taylor, Tina or TLC? Curate a playlist of tunes you can raise a tumbler to. Think crowd pleasers and classics that complement the vibe of your party. Start with subtle, conversation-friendly tracks then finish with the floor-filling anthems. Need a little inspiration? Try one of ours.
Now you’ve mastered the setting, the styling and – of course – the serving of your signature drinks, it’s time to dish out the invitations and get hosting!