Sunday, December 27, 2015

Cocktail Party

When I was in graduate school I was obsessed with building my own bar and making fun cocktails whenever I wanted. It took a few years, but once I moved back to Chicago I went all out and finally splurged on a bunch of liquors/liqueurs to make my dream a reality.

I miss the built-in bar at my old apartment. (tear)
Now the boy and I will do "cocktail night" every once in a while to end a long work week. Which is why when last year one of my close friends was leaving Chicago, I decided to get a few girlfriends together for a cocktail party!

It helped having the boy around, since he basically volunteered his services to be our bartender for the night. :) Since we had his services, I put all the recipes on 1 sheet of paper for him (in a sheet protector), and I made 1 pretty menu for the ladies. It allowed us girls to relax and just hang out without me worrying about keeping everyone's drinks full as the host. All we had to worry about was deciding what drink to have!

But don't worry if your significant other doesn't volunteer to be at your service for the night! A cocktail party also works well with a group of friends. In addition to creating a menu of your drink options, just print out little cards with the recipes on them and turn it into a DIY cocktail party. (Using sleeve protectors or laminating the paper will be essential, since cocktail making can get a bit messy at times).

There is a bit of prep work involved, as you need to make sure you (1) have all your recipes on hand and (2) get all the ingredients you need to make said cocktails (don't forget ice). And a menu of 6 cocktails for only 4 ladies was overkill. But it was so much fun putting together a menu that everyone could select a drink that would suit their taste!

Of the 6 cocktails on my menu, I've blogged about 3 of them before. The remaining ones you can find gorgeous photos of from Serious Eats, The Kitchn, and Shutterbean, and I'll share the recipes below.

Basil gimlet         //         pisco sour         //         aviation    

Basil Gimlet, from my blog
Pisco Sour, from my blog
Aviation, from my blog
Springtime (see below), from Serious Eats
French Quarter (see below), from Shutterbean
Ward Eight (see below), from The Kitchn

Each recipe below is for a single cocktail:

  • 3/4 ounce whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce St. Germain 
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup    
Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with a ton of ice, and shake for 10-15 seconds (your shaker should get so cold it's almost painful to hold). Then put into glasses of your choice (my preference is a coupe glass) and garnish with lemon peel and a cherry.

French quarter
  • 1 oz light rum
  • 1 oz spiced dark rum
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) orange juice
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) pineapple juice
  • 1 oz grenadine
Fill a cocktail shaker and 1 tall glass with ice. Pour 1 oz grenadine at the bottom of each glass. Pour the rums and the orange and pineapple juices into shaker; add the splash grenadine. Shake well.  Pour through a fine sieve the glass. Garnish each cocktail with a two maraschino cherries.

Ward eight
  • 2 ounces straight rye whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice 
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice 
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine 
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters or orange bitters
Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Strain the contents into a chilled cocktail glass (I like using a coupe glass).


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