It’s been a challenging year for the U.K., but the country is slowly bouncing back to everyday life. Businesses are finally reopening as the government eases restrictions, and the Britons’ first night out in nearly 100 days can be described as nothing less of “an absolute riot.”

Does this mean you can hold a luxurious cocktail party? Now’s not the time to get complacent, as COVID can return in force in the coming months. Continue to practice social distancing and limit parties to just 15 attendees. There’s a hefty £800 fine for not complying.

Even so, you can’t hold a party without cocktails. Whether you make your own mixes or get a cocktail bar hire service to do it, cocktails are a must for that luxurious flair. But, mixing up some classy drinks is more than just getting everything in a shaker. The party’s theme and its attendees, among others, influence the ideal cocktails for the occasion.

Below are some classic cocktails worth serving at your next party. Contrary to popular belief, some of these examples require fewer ingredients and less effort than you may think. Here is the list:


1. Martini

The ubiquitous martini can’t get any simpler than taking gin and vermouth and mixing them. And yes, there’s an Italian vermouth brand bearing the same name, which may be where this drink got its name. Whatever the story, this classic cocktail earned the respect of American journalist Henry Louis Mencken, describing it as “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.”

You don’t even need a shaker to make one; combine one part dry vermouth and five parts gin in a mixing glass with ice cubes. If you wish, add a dash of orange or bitters and garnish it with a lemon twist or olives on a stick. For the best martini, don’t skimp on the quality of the gin and vermouth.


2. Gin and Tonic

Another classic concoction, gin-and-tonic is as simple as the term implies. Take one part gin and two to three parts tonic water, mix them up (again, a shaker isn’t necessary), and serve with a lime wedge. The drink has its roots in colonial times when officers in India had to put something sweet or tangy to neutralize tonic water’s bitterness. It was either that or get malaria.

The G-and-T is so basic that mixologists aren’t satisfied with just that. Using it as a base, they mix up more ingredients to create exciting variations. Add in your preferred fruit syrup for a sweet-tasting cocktail or some Irish whiskey for a leprechaun.

It’s as customisable as functions arranged by luxury party planners, which can put on quite a show with the drinks they can serve. Why settle for a plain G-and-T when they can add fruit and herbs for a distinct twist? Depending on the theme and budget, planners won’t have any shortage of cool ideas.


3. Negroni

Named after the French cavalry general Pascal Olivier Count de Negroni, this drink is basically an Americano but with gin instead of soda water. It might not be the best drink to serve people getting into liqueur for the first time, given its bitterness. But, once they get used to it, the negroni can act as a gateway to other drinks with similar tastes.

The negroni is such a classic that Campari, an Italian-based liqueur manufacturer, recently opened an art gallery to commemorate its centennial birthday. Mixing up one can be a little complicated, requiring equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth, and an aperitif (primarily Campari). Aside from the bitterness, drinkers may also taste some hint of fruit and spiciness.


4. Daiquiri

Just as a negroni uses soda water in place of gin, a daiquiri uses rum in place of tequila. One story of its origins (though it’s anyone’s guess how it really came to be) states that an American engineer in Cuba had to substitute rum for his cocktails after running out of gin.

A daiquiri involves one-part sweet syrup, two parts freshly squeezed lime juice, and four parts light rum. This time, you’ll need to use a shaker to mix the drink with shaved ice more thoroughly; it’s a derivative of the margarita, after all. If drinkers prefer it without ice, chill the glass for up to two hours in the freezer and take it out when the drink’s ready to serve.

And speaking of margarita…


5. Margarita

This Mexican-inspired cocktail (it didn’t originate from Mexico) rivals the martini for the prestige of being the most iconic party drink. It can be served in many ways: on the rocks, frozen, or straight up. While most glasses work just as well, the wide-rimmed margarita glass works best because it makes garnishing the rim with salt or sugar easier.

With the margarita, the mixing difficulty gets bumped up a bit. It requires three ingredients: tequila, triple sec (colourless orange-flavoured liqueur), and lime juice. Like the daiquiri, you’ll need to shake the concoction to blend it with the ice well. A margarita machine can also be an option, but where’s the fun in that?

For garnishing the rim of the glass, take a lime wedge and slice it halfway crosswise. Use the notch to run it along the glass’ edge before coating it with salt or sugar. Lime juice is sticky enough for the granules to decorate the glass.


Some Last Tips

The best thing about these drinks is that you can tweak the recipe however you want. The countless liqueur and ingredient options ensure that every drink served at a party will be drinkable art. The more presentable the cocktail, the more enjoyable the party.

Creativity is highly encouraged when making these social drinks; presentation may as well be half of, if not, the entire party. The video below can give you an idea of just how professional mixologists make them. They’re works of art that bring life to any soiree. 

Of course, these classic cocktails will suffice for a simple gathering of friends to celebrate being free after months of isolation. Drink differently, but above all else, drink responsibly.