Clean Plates Party Prep, Take I: Cocktails
In an age of celebrity mixologists, it’s daunting to host a party with cocktails beyond gin and tonics or rum punch. But it can be done, and more easily than you’d think. It’s even possible to be eco-friendly and serve delicious drinks; there’s nothing to fear when you use these tips.
Tip #1: Choose just a few cocktails and prep for those. Most tipplers prefer either the light: Vodka, gin and good tequila, or the dark side: Scotch, bourbon or rum. Offer at least one in each category and note that organic, small batch spirits taste much better than their mass produced counterparts. BevMo! has a wide selection of spirits and many organic bottles. Trader Joe’s has a smaller selection with great prices. The Oaks Gourmet is an independent shop with spirits, fantastic craft beers and a knowledgeable, friendly staff. Need a splash of Champagne for your French 75? Silverlake Wine offers boutique, artisanal and organic wines.
Tip #2: Use good tools. Once you’ve chosen the cocktails and procured the spirits, check out Bar Keeper in Silverlake: They have every toy a bartender dreams of and can show you how to use it, plus artisanal glassware and mixers. Or be a sustainable host and give vintage glasses another life by purchasing them at a thrift store.
Tip #3: Use excellent mixers and garnishes. Give a cocktail sparkle by buying local, organic lemons from your favorite farmers market, or better yet pick fruit from a friend’s tree. (Bonus: a low- to no-carbon footprint). No juicer? Pick up a handheld Mexican-style citrus juicer; they’re fast and fun to use. Local Miracle Mile Bitters Co. offers exquisitely flavorful bitters; if you’re infusing with star anise or cardamom, check out Spice Station‘s global selection of extremely fresh, often organic spices, chiles and teas.
Tip #4: Enjoy your cocktail first! A relaxed host puts everyone at ease.
What about dinner, you ask? Check out Take II: Dinner Parties.