As Ernest Hemingway once said: “I drink to make other people more interesting”, and what better way to mingle with interesting people than at your very own cocktail party!

Whether it’s New Year’s Eve, a birthday, anniversary, or just an excuse for a get-together, there’s no greater way to enjoy good company than over a drink or too at a party with an awesome theme.

But where do you start when you’re hosting a cocktail-party for friends? Here’s a few ideas for inspiration.

A Night of 007

casino cards

There’s no greater icon of the cocktail world than James Bond himself. A classic theme that requires little effort from your guests, other than a nice suit and suave manners.

A casino is mandatory, with a blackjack table and personalised casino chips adding a memorable touch.

Then there’s the small matter of drinks; the Vesper Martini is the first cocktail mentioned in the films, and features heavily throughout the classic franchise. Gin is the basis for the drink, mixed in with vodka and dry vermouth and garnished with lemon peel. As the movie dictates, it must be shaken but not stirred, to help dilute the drink.

But this isn’t the only tipple that 007 has become famous for. He is also partial to an Old Fashioned, easy to rustle up with Angostura bitters, rye whisky, a sugar cube and club soda.

The Mad Men Experience

New York in the swinging sixties was the place to be, and the drinks were unapologetically strong and bold. No-one frowned upon a mid-morning leveller, and vodka martinis were all the rage. What better inspiration for a cocktail party!

When hosting a throwback to this golden era, outfits are as important as the music. Guests should be drawing inspiration from Jackie Kennedy and Don Draper for outfits, while dancing to classic 60's tunes, from Billie Holiday to the folk songs of Bob Dylan in the background!

If this theme floats your boat, here are five essential drinks that you should serve to go the extra mile:

 

Old Fashioned the whisky-based Don Draper drink of choice
Whisky Sour a drink that perfectly captures the era, add egg white for a traditional take
Manhattan another whisky-based drink, with the addition of sweet vermouth
Vodka Martini the potent combination of vodka mixed with vermouth is Mad Men’s Roger Sterling’s go-to drink, and will soon be yours too.
Bloody Mary one for sore-heads the morning after the night before

 

Girls Night – Sex and the City

cosmopolitans

Girls, guys and a damn good cocktail – that’s what Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and 
Miranda were all about.

SATC was so loved that it inspired numerous spin-offs and an army of fans, often seen traipsing around New York’s Magnolia Bakery and other hangouts!

Ideal for hen nights and other celebrations of the shrieking kind, a SATC party demands cocktails, killer heels and good company.

The drinks list can contain anything pretty and fruity, but simply cannot be without its two staples; champagne and cosmopolitans.

The drink of choice for Carrie and her crew, the light pink ‘Cosmo’ contains vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and a touch of lime, served in a stylish Martini glass.

Retro 80's Night

And finally, what better homage to the 80s than a cocktail party with friends. The perfect excuse to break out your fluorescent t-shirts, leg warmers and baggy tracksuits - bad taste is where it’s at!

A playlist heavy on Kylie, Jason and Rick Astley is all you need, along with platters of inspiring hors d’oeuvres such as vol-au-vents, pineapple sticks and cubes of cheese on cocktail sticks, yum indeed!

Not forgetting the drinks, the 80's served up some classic treats. Harking back to the 80's favourite film ‘Cocktail’, the ‘Alabama Slammer’ became a staple thanks to this classic film – load up on Southern Comfort, Amaretto and orange juice and get flaring like Brian Flanagan! Or perhaps treat guests to a ‘Slippery Nipple’ a typical 80's shot that fuses Sambuca with Irish cream, sure to alight the party spirit in all of us!

Keep up to date with the latest spirit trends by reading our blog on Hot Trend: Flavoured Spirits.