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SORTED Inspired: Christmas Party Drinks

It’s December, which means Christmas is just around the corner, and we’ve got some great recipes lined up for our Christmas party. But one area that always gets ignored is the drinks…so we sent Ben and Barry to the VOC Bar in London to see what could whet their whistles!! Tell us what your favourite winter warming drink is below! You can also tell us on Facebook: facebook Check out our website: sortedfood Check out the VOC Bar here: voc-london

George Clooney – No Martini No Party

George Clooney - No Martini No Party

George Clooney in his very first Martini Spot. During the Shooting he got to know Lisa Snowdon. They have been a couple for a certain time. Find more George Clooney info at clooneyfiles

Cocktail Party Planning

The first step in cocktail party planning is to create your guest list. You do not want to target one personality type. Variety is the spice of life. Include guests that are interesting, cheerful, outgoing and friendly. If you are hosting a business cocktail party, don’t be afraid to exclude friends. If your business is aerospace engineering, your neighbor would probably not have much in common with the other guests. So carefully select the proper guests for the proper party type.

Once your guest list is created, you need to create a budget and a checklist. Be sure to consider everything when creating a budget. You will need to allow for: food; invitations; cocktails; bar supplies; ice; drinking glasses; decorations; a bartender; a caterer. A bartender and a caterer are optional, of course. A checklist will keep you on track with your cocktail party planning and keep you from forgetting something.

The third step is to send out the invitations.

You want to send these out at least two weeks in advance of the cocktail party. Invitations can be professionally printed, or easily made by you using some of the popular software products available. Be sure to ask your guests to RSVP.

The next step in cocktail party planning is to create your menu. Cocktail party menu planning allows you to get creative with the food. Cocktail party food usually consists of “finger food,” such as hors d’oeuvres and appetizers, creating great flexibility. Decide how you plan to serve the food: on trays or buffet style. Plan to place small bowls of snacks and nuts about the room so guests can nibble. Include foods that can be prepared a day or two in advance. This will save you time and stress on the day of the party.

Now for the fun part: the cocktails! You can serve wine and beer only, or you can opt for a stocked bar. For a fancier style party, you may wish to consider champagne. An important consideration in Cocktail Party Planning is whether or not to hire a bartender. One option is to set up a bar area, and allow guests to serve themselves. If you are hosting a large party, a bartender is a wise choice. You will be busy with other host or hostess duties. A bartender can be useful in monitoring the guests to be sure none of them are drinking too much to drive.

It is not a bad idea to have a designated driver on hand if you can swing it. It is not uncommon at really large parties to have a “taxi” service so to speak, which consists of a van and a teetotaler. It is always better to be safe than sorry. If a designated driver is not an option, have the phone number handy of a reputable local cab company just in case.

There are some other things to remember when cocktail party planning. Make sure you have enough serving dishes and glasses. Depending on the cocktails you serve, you may need the following: wine glasses; highballs; tumblers; martini glasses; beer mugs; margarita glasses. You will need plenty of ice. Allow not only ice for serving, but for icing down beverages as well.

Basic stock bar beverages include vodka, red and white wines, beer, and whiskey. A more advanced bar would include gin, tequila, vermouth, triple sec, bourbon, and rum.
Beer kegs are a great option for a party. They can be chilled in advance and your guests get beer on tap. Don’t forget mixers! The most common include: orange juice; tonic water; cola; ginger ale; oranges; lemons; limes; margarita mix. The mixers will depend largely on what cocktails you offer. Include soft drinks and bottled water for those that are not drinking alcohol. Prepare to offer coffee as well. You will need coffee, sugar, cream, mugs, coffee maker, etc.

Select the music you plan to play, and have CD’s on hand prior to the party day. Do your shopping a few days in advance. Try to get as much as possible done before the day of the party. The day before the party, do your decorating, set up serving tables, and set up the bar area. You will be busy on party day with other activities, such as table setting, icing down party beverages, creating your flower arrangements, and preparing any food items that need to be fresh, such as fruits and salads.

Be sure to allow yourself sufficient time to review your checklist. You will need time to get dressed for the party. Be a little selfish if you can; take a nice relaxing soak in the tub and unwind before the party. You want to be totally refreshed when your guests arrive. You successfully completed your cocktail party planning, so now you deserve to enjoy the event. Relax and have fun. Your guests will enjoy themselves much more if they see that their host or hostess is enjoying the party as well.

Party Punch Recipe: Sparkling Rosé

PopSugar LivingTV: living.popsugar.tv Twitter: twitter If you need cocktail ideas for holiday parties, birthday parties, or other fun gatherings, here’s a delicious drink that is good for large groups: sparkling rosé punch! Besides a sparkling wine, you’ll need St. Germain elderflower liqueur, club soda, lemon juice, sugar, and egg whites. Watch our video to see how to make a punch that is a total crowd-pleaser. Plus, find out the secret ingredient YumSugar likes to add as a garnish to this party drink recipe. Hint: it’s "berry" yummy!
Video Rating: 4 / 5

Low Budget Party Planning

Article by George Meszaros

A great party doesn’t have to be done on a great budget. It is possible to throw a memorable party that costs next to nothing. Be honest about your budget and work with it.

Even a low budget party has to have a budget. For example, if you are unable to spend more than $ 10.00 per guest and you have a $ 200.00 budget you can only afford to invite 20 guests. It is pretty straightforward. If you want to invite more people, you either need to decrease your expenses or increase your budget. Neither one of them is easy, but you are going to have to make a decision.

You have to make sure your budget covers the venue, the food and drinks, the decorations, the party favors, and everything else you may deem necessary. Be realistic about determining the expense per person. If you have a $ 10.00 per person budget, you are not going to be able to afford gourmet catering and Don Perignon champagne.

If you would like to host an elegant party on a small budget consider inviting less people. Your guests will reap the benefits of having less people, but better quality food and drinks.

You could have a small dinner party by inviting two or three couples. For such a small cook you can afford better ingredients, such as fresh seafood and a bottle of fine wine. Since most guests will bring a bottle of wine you don’t need to worry about spending money on several bottles.

Potlucks or barbeques are great low budget party options. If you plan correctly, your party is sure to be a big hit with your guests regardless of your budget. Your attitude, creativity, and effort will have as much to do with how successful you party is as your budget. You may not have a budget for an all around first class event, but you may be able to afford gourmet dessert, or the freshest local caught fish. Upgrading some aspect of your party can help your guests perceive your party as pricey and classy.

Final tip: If you are undecided about how much to spend per guest set your total available budget and divide it by the number of guests you want to invite.

Summer Party Ideas and Special Event Planning for Cocktail Parties

Article by Andrea Wynn

Summer is such a great time to entertain. You have the warm daytime sunshine as well as refreshing nights. Here are some summer party ideas including a couple of cocktail catering presentations to help you with any special event planning for summer cocktail parties.

Create conversation and interaction with your special event planning. One refreshing cocktail catering presentation for cocktail parties is to present a new twist on an old idea. Skewer a piece of cooked shrimp and instead of serving it with a bowl of cocktail sauce serve the shrimp in a shot glass already filled with the sauce.

Other summer party ideas that include shot glasses for cocktail catering are soups, whether they are hot such as lobster Saki shooters (I recently enjoyed at a cocktail party) or cold soups such as shots of gazpacho or cucumber.

For cocktail parties where you may want to serve a refreshing natural and nutritious dessert, why not accompany a platter full of fresh fruit with a shot of a fruit smoothie?

More summer party ideas for cocktail parties include serving refreshing melon balls wrapped with prosciutto or cucumber cups filled with humus, seaweed salad or salmon dip. (For quick and easy cocktail recipes check out pages 80 to 86 in Budget Bash.)

Lollipop-styled desserts are another cocktail catering suggestion to add to your special event planning summer ideas. Brownie bites, chocolate chip cookies or bread pudding are all delicious bite-sized desserts you can serve on a stick and tray pass or present on a platter at a dessert buffet. Clean up is easy too since no silverware or dessert plates are needed just a simple cocktail napkin!

Other desserts that can be served in small individual portions with a creative flair are crème brulee, chocolate pudding or tiramisu presented in demitasse cups with demitasse spoons.

Summer party ideas for your special event planning décor can be fast, easy and inexpensive. Instead of using a tea-light with your glass votive, drop a Cymbidium orchid in the glass instead. Or place an orchid weighted down with water and colored glass beads in a small glass vase.

Floating candles in water are always fun for your table décor and you can use colored glass beads on the bottom or add a flower in the container as well. A great decor idea for cocktail parties I recently read about in Real Simple magazine is to use parchment paper as a luminary wrap with a votive candle holder. For information and instructions, just pick up the August 2010 issue. (More quick and easy décor ideas can be found in Budget Bash.)

I hope you found these special event planning ideas for cocktail catering helpful for your next summer event. Summer party ideas do not need to be complicated or take much of your time. Cocktail parties are a great way to gather a group of friends for an intimate and casual event, and when you throw your next cocktail party remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Alcohol Slush Beverage Recipes For Your Summer Party

During the summer months, we love to entertain our family and friends with backyard barbecues and poolside parties. Coming up with the menu for our food ideas is usually the easy part..ing up with the beverages is a little more difficult.

At our adult backyard parties, we like to serve slush drinks that contain alcohol, as they are perfect for those hot summer afternoons and evenings. All of these recipes will need to be prepared ahead of time so make them during the early morning hours.

Tip: Remind your party guests to drink responsibly.

Apricot Brandy Slush

2 cups water
4 tea bags
7 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 oz. frozen orange juice
8 oz. frozen lemonade
1 1/2 cups apricot brandy
Sprite Soda

In a large saucepan, boil 2 cups of water. Add tea bags and set aside to cool. Boil 7 cups of water; add sugar and stir until dissolved, set aside. When cooled, remove the tea bags and combine both of the water mixtures. Add frozen orange juice and lemonade, slowly pour in the apricot brandy. Freeze until almost firm. To serve: Fill a chilled glass 1/2 full and add Sprite soda to fill to the top of glass. Serve immediately.

Peach Brandy Slush

3 tea bags
9 cups water
2 cups sugar
12 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cups peach brandy
7-up soda

Boil tea bags in 2 cups of water and set aside to cool. In a separate saucepan, boil 7 cups of water and sugar together until dissolved. Add tea water to this mixture. Stir in the lemonade and orange juice concentrates, add peach brandy. Freeze for 5 hours in the freezer. Fill chilled glass 1/2 way with brandy slush, then add the 7-up soda. Serve immediately.

Pineapple Coconut Vodka Slush

6 oz. vodka
6 oz. pineapple juice
6 oz. cream of coconut
7 oz. crushed pineapple
5 cups of crushed ice

Mix all ingredients together in a blender until the consistency of a slushy drink. Freeze for 2 hours in the freezer before serving in chilled glasses.

Making Party Punch Recipes for Theme Parties

Theme-related party punch recipes can so much fun.  It’s exciting to have family or friends over for a nice party. No doubt, you want everything to be perfect.

This means you’ll want to really spend some time on the food preparations so everyone enjoys tasty foods and drinks at the party. Of course, as you are planning everything else at your party, it’s easy to forget about the punch. Mixing up a nice party punch is a way that you can add something special to the party. After all, that punch will add a bit of flair to your party and if you can come up with a punch that carries on the theme of the party, it is particularly special.

As you are trying to decide on the punch you want to serve, take some time to think about the theme of the party, the type of party, and of course, your guests. If you’re throwing a party with a tropical theme or even a luau theme, going with a punch that includes tropical fruits or even coconut is a wonderful idea. If your party is occurring in the winter or fall, going with a punch that is spiced is a great option. You may even want a warm punch to serve when it’s cold outside. If you’re throwing a baby shower, a blue or pink punch can be a lovely touch, depending on the gender of the baby.

Are you throwing a party for the 4th of July? If so, red, white, and blue are probably the main colors you are using. You can use strawberries, blueberries, and some whipping cream to get the theme colors in the punch. A margarita style punch or even a nice sangria can go nicely for a party with a Mexican theme. No matter your theme, finding a nice punch recipe should not be a problem.

Of course, you’ll want to consider some of the popular ingredients if you’re trying to come up with a punch recipe of your own. First, decide if you are going to have alcohol in your punch or not. Most people do serve punches that have no alcohol. You should definitely avoid the alcohol if you have kids at the party. If you have an all adult party, you should still label your punch if you do choose to put alcohol in it. This way they know what they are drinking.

When it comes to punch base ingredients, often cherry juice, fruit punch, and even cranberry juice are used for punches that have a red base. If you want something more tropical in nature, orange juice or pineapple juice can be a nice base. Lemonade can make a good base and you can add a variety of flavors for a nice kick as well. Often selzer water, ginger ale, and lemon lime sodas are added to the punch to offer a bit of carbonation to it.

To really kick off your theme and make a punch special for your party, you may want to add a nice garnish. Adding some scoops of s sorbet in a fruit flavor can make your punch look pretty and taste amazing. Another fun garnish is ice cubes in fun shapes. You can purchase ice molds in a variety of themes to add to your themed punch. Fruits are also a popular choice for punch garnishes.

Cocktail Party Ideas

Article by Cheri Brennan

Throwing a cocktail party can be a great way to get friends, co-workers or other business associates together in a loose, laid back environment. There’s no better way to network, social or business, than at a party with a cold drink.

These cocktail party ideas may hearken back to the golden era days of Hollywood so play it up with some diffused lighting, silver candlesticks and a few vases of roses for a touch of class.

To create an environment conducive to mingling, make more space by pushing the sofas and chairs back to the walls. Create a few sitting areas so guests can engage in private conversations, have a place to set their drinks and get a rest from those stiletto heals. Avoid the junior-high dance feel by spreading the chairs out instead of lining them up against the wall. For those starry-eyed, would be lovers; scatter a few pens and notepads around the room to allow for the easy exchange of digits.

Perhaps the most important item on your list of cocktail party ideas is, of course, the bar. Find a spot off in the corner or to the side and designate it the bar area. Stock it with booze, juices, sodas, club soda, ice, fruit garnishes, pimiento-stuffed olives, assorted glassware, shot glasses, a cocktail shaker, a stirrer, swizzle sticks, cocktail napkins and a cocktail recipe book for flashes of liquid creativity. Budget permitting, you can pull out all the stops by hiring a professional bartender for the evening.

Can’t afford to hire a bartender and don’t want to spend your whole evening behind the bar? A great cocktail party idea is to simply make the bar self-serve. Get the recipes for a few favorites and multiply them by 10 and place in pitchers. Or you can just provide the liquors and mixers, set out a book of recipes and let the party-goers craft their own libations.

Which ever way you decide to go don’t settle for the same old beer and wine. After all there won’t be any novelty to your cocktail party if your guests are downing the same old drinks they have the other 51 Saturdays of the year.

For the most part, it’s the mingling and sparkling conversation that makes a cocktail party swing but if you want to shake things up a bit try these cocktail party ideas:

* Best Martini Mixologist. Round up the martini aficionados and let them showcase their stuff. Be sure you have vodka, gin, dry vermouth, pearl onions, olives, lemon twists, a shaker and a stirrer on hand to unleash the martini magic.

* Best Original Cocktail Challenge. Have your guests create a completely original cocktail from your assortment of liquors, mixers, garnishes, swizzle sticks, and drink umbrellas. Make sure they name it, the more ridiculous the better!

* Play the cocktail party version of Mad-Libs. One guest comes up with the adjective and another comes up with the noun (for example, Tasty Pie or Hot Wax). Then they have to formulate the drink to match the name. Best tasting concoction wins!

* Best Bartender Showoff (Tom Cruise style). Break out the shakers and plastic glasses, crank up the “Hippy, Hippy Shake” and let your guests shine. Keep this one in the kitchen so the spills that go with the thrills won’t leave you with a huge carpet cleaning bill.

Benefit Auction Ideas: Cocktail Instruction Party

Have you noticed how cocktails have suddenly become so popular? I travel frequently and often read an article on the train or plane about a new cocktail bar, a rising bartender star new on the scene, or even a great CD to play at your own cocktail party

Why not ride this benefit auction trend and work to incorporate a cocktail element into your own auction?

Is there a up-and-coming bartender in your city? Or maybe you know of a popular place that the after-five o’clock crowd likes to frequent?

At one benefit auction earlier this year, I sold a unique cocktail package. It consisted of a two-hour cocktail instruction for six guests and was hosted by a popular mixologist known for his unique spin on traditional drinks.

The item sold for 0 – almost twice its value – and drew lots of interest from the crowd. We sold the same item a few months later at a different event for 00. Not a bad price!

This particular bartender had won the regional semi-finals for the Domaine de Canton Bartender of the Year competition in December 2008, beating out nine top New York bartenders. No doubt about it, he had a strong resume.

But even if you select someone with less credentials, it’s a good package. Most of us aren’t making unique cocktails on a regular basis, so any personable bartender (and really, what bartender isn’t?) will be able to teach your guests something of value.

Your bartender could start the session by teaching bar basics, such as why bottles are arranged in a specific order along the back bar. Or tricks for remembering that the grapefruit juice is an ingredient in Sea Breeze, while pineapple juice goes into a Bay Breeze. Or why any drink with the word “wall” in its title means Galliano is one of the drink’s ingredients. Perhaps your mixologist could teach three different cocktails in the class, including his (or the restaurant’s) signature drink.

The other advantage of asking for this donation is that there is a good chance that if a trendy restaurant won’t donate you a dinner, the management might be open to donating a cocktail-only instruction. This type of donation is less expensive than a full-blown dinner, so some restaurants might favor it.

Go ahead – impress your local establishments with your creativity and give it an ask.

And friends, lest you forget … it’s always polite to invite your auctioneer to the fun.