There are a handful of things every good hostess should know how to do: set a table, open a bottle of bubbly, make a tasty appetizer and whip up a killer cocktail… just for starters (see Abby’s full list here!). But today, we’re focusing on the latter—how to be a master bartender, with must-know tips from cocktail caterers at the Whaling Club and captures by Rebecca Yale. Bottoms up!
CREATE A SIGNATURE MENU
Sticking to one or two featured cocktails will free you up to spend more time hosting and less time working behind the bar. Consider your attendees and create a menu that generally fits the palate of your guests and the vibe of your event. We tend to favor seasonal takes on classic drinks like basil gimlets and cherry daiquiris.
KNOW YOUR CLASSICS
No one will expect that you’ll know every cocktail penned before prohibition, but we recommend having some of the basics to make a handful of well known “classics” by request. You may have a guest or two who is looking for something spirits forward like a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned. If you can fulfill their request, you’ll make their night.
SOURCE LOCAL INGREDIENTS
All of our syrups, juices, and various other in-house ingredients are all made fresh just before event event. We source from local markets when possible for inspiration and to truly gauge what’s “in season.” We also have the benefit of being able to taste everything and the opportunity to chat with the farmers is priceless.
USE BLOCK ICE
Have your freezer stocked with some quality block ice. You can use this ice for everything from shaking to serving. Your drinks will not only look better, but will stay colder with less unwanted dilution. We hand cut our ice from 300lb clear ice blocks, but a few quality 2″ rubber molds should do the trick.
We like to compare bartending to baking. Following a precise recipe, often times down to the quarter ounce, ensures balanced and consistent cocktails. The best way to guarantee accuracy is a jigger. While they come in countless different sizes and shapes, one graduated jigger will have just about every measurement you’ll need. You can score one at Cocktail Kingdom.