Instead of ordering an over-priced cocktail at a crowded bar, customize your own cocktails to perfectly match a few small plate items, without the stress of planning an elaborate dinner party. Skip the pub or bar. Check out these tips for hosting your own Happy Hour and squeeze in a bit of social time.
1. Where to Host Happy Hour
First, you’ll need to establish where to host your Happy Hour. If you’ve determined it’ll take place in your home, will it be outside on the patio, poolside or inside? Match the guests to the amount of space you have, as well as your mutual interests. If you’ve recently built a fire pit, it’d be a fun idea to host your Happy Hour there.
The same goes for determining a location among coworkers or friends. Who loves being a host or hostess? Who has the most space or access to a beautiful location, such as a log cabin overlooking the mountains? This event may be as casual or as formal as you want.
2. Little Touches Meets Convenience
While your Happy Hour doesn’t have to be fancy, convenience and small touches add comfort to taste. Will there be a theme? Should everyone wear a weird hat or dress up in attire from the eighties?
It’s also thoughtful to arrange guest seating conducive to conversation, or around a large table if you’ll be playing board games. Don’t forget coasters to prevent rings on tables. Clear spaces near seating for guests to place their drinks as they make conversation.
Hang up lights or place LED candles and a chiller around for more ambiance. Include pillows and throws for instant comfort. You could also lay down old quilts outside for a picnic atmosphere.
3. Choosing Drinks
Getting up to concoct cocktails gets tiring after a while, unless one of your friends loves to be or play bartender. Stick with vodka or whiskey as a mainstay, especially if your guests have a mutual taste for a specific liquor. A Manhattan or Whiskey Ginger are classic whiskey cocktails, for example. Apps for making cocktails, such as the Barman or Cocktail Flow, offer up quick ideas to mix up delicious cocktails in a pinch.
Encourage guests to bring a bottle of liquor, wine or a six-pack of their favorite beer to share. Does anyone have a passion for home brewing? It’s always a good idea to have one white wine and one red wine in case the liquor runs out or people prefer these other options.
Don’t forget: Are there any special utensils or glasses you’ll need, or are govino shatterproof glasses your casual go-to?
4. Delicious Snacks and Small Plates
You’ll need to keep your guests’ tummies full during Happy Hour, too. Once you’ve decided on the drinks, it’s easier to choose snacks and small plate items.
Going back to themes, you could create a dessert bar to go with dessert cocktails on a Friday, for guests to enjoy after a long day of work. Have a selection of assorted sweets for guests to sample. If you choose just the right wine to complement the right chocolate, it can make quite the delicious pairing opportunity. For example, dark chocolate is known for its relationship with red wine or a Syrah port. If dark chocolate is too bitter for you, there are many other forms of chocolate you can try with your wine, such as milk chocolate bark, as well as rum cordials!
Easy ideas include creating a burger bar to go with craft beers or placing out various types of cheese, crackers, breads, dips and fruit spreads to go with different types of wine for a simple wine tasting. For the burger bar, you’d set up to grill the burgers and build a bar with various types of condiments and ingredients, such as blue cheese, brie, onions and more. Guests would bring their own appetizers and contribute to the selection of alcohol.
Finally, remember that hosts deserve to rest and enjoy their parties, too. Recruit friends and guests to pitch in, especially when they have a passion for creating cocktails, cooking or decorating. Happy Hour is more fun when it’s a collaborative effort, and everyone will have more time to enjoy the event.
Skip the bars and save money by hosting your own Happy Hour. Who knows? You may have just inspired a new tradition among your friends and coworkers that everyone will look forward to and remember long after the inaugural event is over.
About the Author: Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.