The Ultimate Family Gathering Cocktail Recipe Guide
Family gatherings are great, aren't they? Hanging out with the cousin who forever makes you belly laugh and catching up with the fam you haven't seen for ages. But don't you just hate how they sometimes are a little stressful too? Over-enthusiastic aunties, competitive siblings, and over-sharing grandads are all under one roof. The good news is we've got lots of great ways to make sure everyone has as much fun as possible. Whether it's the festive spirit of Christmas, the excitement of New Year's Eve, or a birthday get-together, we reckon the best way to make sure it's the most memorable event ever is with a gorgeous drink in your hand.
Cocktail Guide For Your Family Gathering
1. Cocktails to serve at a family Christmas party
A winter holiday or Thanksgiving family gathering is likely to be a sit-down event. Whether it’s a traditional turkey roast or some other feast, drinks are a great way to break the ice and get everyone relaxed beforehand. It’s nice hanging out together, especially if it doesn’t happen very often, so there’s no need to rush them to the table.
Our experts suggest starting with something a little celebratory such as a French 75, a beautifully bubbly, citrus-forward aperitif to cleanse the palate ready for the delicious food you’ve spent hours preparing. For the main course, cocktail recipes using Tanqueray No. Ten Gin or Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka can really compliment the heavy flavour profile of the food. Afterwards, post-dinner is time for relaxing (hopefully by a beautiful log fire) with either a Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky Sour or an Old Fashioned.
However, if you’re cocktail out by this point and simply want an easy sipper to see off the long day, The Singleton Of Glendullan Single Malt Scotch Whisky has a beautifully nutty profile that will go beautifully with that Christmas cake or a cheeseboard. Or if you’re full to the brim but really just want one final treat, then it might be time to crack out the Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur.
2. The Best Birthday Cocktails
A milestone birthday is always a great excuse for a family get-together. Whether it’s a 21st, a 30th, or any other big birthday! Many of the same rules apply to the Christmas celebration, i.e. your guests will love having a cocktail to sip on soon after they arrive. If your celebration is during the summer months, what about serving a fruity cocktail that is easy to batch in large quantities?
If you’re planning a buffet, cocktails in a tall highball glass which are easy to hold and walk around with are a good idea. We’re thinking Long Island Iced Tea, or a Whisky and Ginger could be just the thing. If there’s a birthday cake involved you could pair it with a delicious dessert-style cocktail like a Rum Espresso Martini a Flat White Martini or Baileys Salted Caramel Espresso Martini.
3. Cocktails for New Year’s Eve Parties
New Year's Eve can be just as enjoyable at home as out at a party. Forget the crowded bars, long waits for drinks and expensive meals. Pull together the canapé selection and party food and roll out that bar cart. With the space, time and comfort of your own home, you have room to be a little more intricate in your cocktail-making, so let's pull out the big guns.
Whilst there have been many variations of "martinis" popping up over the last few years, nothing beats the crisp taste of a classic Martini cocktail or a Negroni. Two drinks are both very easy to pre-batch and dilute so that you can serve to guests straight from the freezer, meaning you don't have to spend your entire evening in the kitchen.
4. How to keep kids entertained at a family party
Big family get-togethers often mean lots of little ones who need entertaining, especially with all that grown-up chat going on. If you’ve got the space indoors, you could set up a dedicated play area complete with board games, LEGO bricks or painting equipment. Kids love being involved, so why not set them a challenge to paint the best picture of Grandpa asleep in his chair? Appoint a judging panel and don't forget to give out prizes! If you’ve got outdoor space, you could organise a scavenger hunt, relay race or sports day events (which the adults will get competitive over too!).
5. Don’t forget to capture the moment
Pictures or it didn’t happen, right? Encourage people to take photos of the event or nominate someone to be chief photographer. Having someone going around taking pics can feel a bit disruptive at times, but trust us, no matter how much they grumble at the time, they’ll love the memories and will be enjoying them for years to come. Why not create a cloud-based shared album, so everyone has easy access? Or get a Polaroid camera to capture a few beautiful memories of the evening without everyone having to have their phones out all evening.