Lisa Thornbury: Party Mummy


Host Budget Conscious Cocktail Party

The lowdown on highballs...on a budget

Parties hosted by moi are usually come-as-you-are, no muss, little fuss, casual affairs. But every once in a while I like to class up the joint and host a swanky cocktail party. I trade in my jeans for a dress, actually style my hair and apply that coloured stuff to my lips. You know, not Chapstick...actual lipstick. Really, I go all out.  

People sometimes shy away from hosting a cocktail party. The task can seem complicated and stuffy, not to mention expensive. But it doesn’t have to be that way...

Here’s How To Serve Cocktails On A Budget:

  • Choose three cocktails. A great place to start looking for the perfect cocktail trio is on the LCBO website.  Recipes include a photo and the cost of the alcohol, which is helpful when you're trying to stay within a budget. You could serve three wildly different cocktails, but if you’d like to keep costs down, choose drinks that have a similar alcohol base and not too many ingredients.
  • To make things even easier, select cocktails that can be made by the pitcher and do so ahead of time. Have garnishes ready and bring out your fancy glasses. If you don’t have enough glasses, you can rent them. I simply ask people to rinse and reuse the same glass. They don’t seem to mind. *Glass charms/rings/tags/stickers help guests keep track of their glass. Most important point (I'm gonna bold and underline this) - Make sure you have plenty of ice.
  • Set up your bar area, arrange finger food around the room, light some candles, turn on your fave mixed CD, and have fun!

Here are three easy cocktails to serve for $100 (based on 10-12 guests at 3-4 drinks each).

1 750 ml bottle of gin = $25
1 750 ml bottle of vodka = $25
1 750 ml bottle of Absolut Berri Acai Flavoured Vodka = $25
Juices, soda, garnishes $25

Ginger Lemonade: Add 1 ½ oz. vodka, ¼ tsp. ginger juice and 4 oz. lemonade to a glass with ice and garnish with a lemon twist.

Cranberry Martini: Add 1 ½ oz. Absolut Berri Acai Flavoured Vodka and top with 4 oz. cranberry juice and 1 oz. pineapple juice to a glass with ice and garnish with a lime wedge and a cherry.

Here’s an example of an ENTERTAINING SIZED RECIPE (Pitcher)

Cranberry Gimlet:

3 cups gin (24 oz.)
1 cup lime cordial (8 oz.)
2 cups cranberry juice (16 oz.)
Add all ingredients to a pitcher and stir to mix. Pour into cocktail glasses filled with crushed ice and garnish each with a lime wheel and a frozen cranberry.

Makes 12 Servings

* Have cans of soda and/or tonic available for those who prefer less “fruity” cocktails.

Recipes and photo courtesy of