As a former cocktail caterer who has served drinks on mountain tops, in the woods, in horse corrals, backstage at music festivals, and to the 250 people eagerly awaiting a Caipirinhia the second they arrive onsite at a wedding from their party bus (that one still gives me nightmares), I have a few tricks up my sleeves to allow me to keep the party and the drinks flowing quickly and easily. For five years of my life I served cocktails and NA drinks at everything from intimate house parties to huge festival events, each with their own unique menus and equipment I could use to help me. I still use the tricks I learned all the time, whether I am batching portions of a cocktail behind the bar at the Simple Goodness Sisters Soda Shop to help our baretnders serve the line quickly, or I am having friends over at home.
Most of the time, I batch my cocktails ahead of time, sometimes I serve them in pitchers or self serve bars, or, I set up an interactive DIY bar as both a drink station and an activity for guests. After all, when I am hosting there is probably some bread to replenish, a water gun to fill, a request for a bandaid to address. Hosting, especially the way I do it which is usually with kids around, can be chaos. For me, it is the happiest kind of chaos, where each moment is filled with life and noise. I love it, AND also I want to enjoy the people around me rather than work at bartending.
I have these "lazy girl hosting" ideas all over our blog, from these posts, "Setting up a self serve drinks bar," "Our Favorite Spring Drinks for Wedding and Baby Showers" and this one, "How to Host the Modern Cocktail Party." Here, I'm going to tell you the basics you need to know to pre-batch your cocktails for hosting. Pre-mixing up cocktail ingredients in a big batch is the easiest way to serve drinks for a party, but there are some basic rules to follow to ensure they still taste good when you serve them hours or even days later.