Drinks are always better with friends. A night out has always allowed for more than just celebration, as each adventure could have limitless possibilities — we never know where a night could take us. If this last year has revealed anything, it’s that our friends and family are crucial to the enjoyment of even the most basic activities. Throwing a get-together has changed a little in 2021, but that doesn’t mean it has to be any less enjoyable than a night on the town. So, we have put together a guide to help you throw a truly memorable virtual cocktail party.
1.) Choose Your Format
“What is the best platform for a virtual party?”
Over the past dozen or so months, many of us have grown accustomed to working from home. Though we were out of practice at first, the art of live-streaming meetings has become second nature now. The question now becomes, “What is the best platform for a virtual party?” Well, that may depend on your guest list.
Easy to use and familiar to many, Zoom allows you to create an event, invite friends and share recipes, pictures and videos as the party host using the program’s intuitive share screen feature. Zoom’s green screen feature is always fun, too. If you are so inclined you can even create a background image for all your guests to match the theme or mood of your shindig.
Extremely simple for those who use Gmail as their primary email service, Hangouts allows you to do most of what Zoom does. Many people don’t want to feel like they’re at work, and so Hangouts might be the solution to the problem that comes with using more prevalent work-related services like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
No matter what service you pick, you may just want to choose the one that most people in your party already have downloaded or have the most experience with.
2.) Deciding on Your Party Theme
“How do I pick a theme for a virtual cocktail party?”
It may seem unorthodox, but since you can’t physically be together, the preparation time of traveling to a party is virtually eliminated. With that hassle out of the way, your guests have to do less to get ready. For me, half the fun of a party is found in getting ready for it. Between doing your hair and choosing your outfit, your party persona helps set the table for a great night. Here are some fun suggestions for themes for your online soirée!
Have your guests dress up in their favorite college attire. All the drinks should be college-themed, and yes, bring those plastic cups! Reminisce with your friends about your college years and experience your own flashbacks to your school days.
Derived by Pam and Oscar from NBC’s The Office, this theme is truly based around class and style. Finger foods, doilies, hats with lace and porcelain cups are suggested for this high-class party. Ask your attendees to bring their champagne wishes and caviar dreams, as well as their most posh cocktail combinations.
Are you missing your neighborhood Tiki bar? Chances are, so are your guests. Recreating it in your home is easy with some umbrella drinks, coconuts and an island-themed background you choose to help set the right mood. For this party, be sure to stock you home with rum, tequila and plenty of limes.
The Hip Cat
How long has it been since you had a reason to wear that cool wool suit in your closet? Do pocket squares, Fedoras and the sound of a needle scratch on your favorite record give you warm fuzzies? Then it’s time for a throwback complete with highballs, snifters and a brass horn section.
A Night At The Movies
Who doesn’t want to live in the movies? Instruct your guests to join you live from inside their favorite film. Along with the costume of their favorite character, have them include what they believe would have been their favorite beverage. You’re gonna need a bigger…glass!
3.) Deciding the Drinks
“How do I choose cocktails for my party?”
Once you have picked a theme for your party, your drink selection will begin to reveal itself. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a night of virtual glass clinking. No good bar should be without these liquors, which will be used as a base for most of the beverages enjoyed at parties.
Smooth, classic and mixes well with both fruits and creams, this Russian staple is extremely versatile. Vodka blends well in both still or sparkling beverages, making it one of the most useful liquors for entertaining.
Whether spiced or sweet, brown or clear, you can’t go wrong stocking your cabinet with at least a couple bottles of rum. Rum is the most important liquor in tropical cocktails and mixes well with nearly every experimental beverage you can dream of.
Whiskey & Bourbon
Want to impress your more distinguished guests? Keep a few of these caramel-colored casks at the ready. If you prefer sweet notes, try a whiskey from Tennessee. If you prefer a smokey flavor, try a single malt bourbon. While you’re at it, invest in some round ice trays to really blow your guests’ minds. Nothing says class like smooth ice.
If Margaritas and Mai Tais are in your party’s future, select a refined tequila. Silver tequilas are typically known for a smoother mouthfeel, while gold tequilas carry a richer agave flavor. Fun for both mixing and as a festive party shot, you can’t go wrong keeping tequilas on hand.
Exotic Spirits & Mixers
When stocking a liquor cabinet, it’s always fun to throw in fruit-flavored schnapps and cream liquors. Grenadines, simple syrups, ginger ale and lime sodas are critical additions to your party fridge for mixing with your alcohols. Also, before you run to the store, make sure you are well prepared in the ice department.
4.) Running Your Event
“How do I make virtual cocktail parties fun?”
You have picked your guests, theme, alcohol and mixers, but how do you run a fun virtual party? Get your guests involved!
Give each guest an opportunity to introduce us to their cocktail of choice. Tell them to give the group a tutorial on how to make and adorn their libation, with the winner chosen by the attendees once everyone has presented. Pick a gift that is easy to ship to reward your ‘bartenders,’ and watch as your living room turns into Senor Frogs!
The Grand Tour
Oh, we forgot to show you around! Perhaps our favorite virtual party game is when each guest gives their best MTV Cribs-style tour of their domicile. This is easier if your guests are using video on their phones, and these tours tend to get funnier once a few drinks have been enjoyed. It’s also a great way to get to know your fellow party guests and their taste in interior decoration.
Finally, always remember the true key to any good party is attending to your guests. Pay attention to their stories, help with their technology questions and maybe give a courtesy laugh or two when their jokes fall flat. If you give good attention, your house parties will always be well attended. Virtually and in person.