Friday, June 26, 2009

Party Time

Recently I was asked by the girlfriend of a friend of mine, if I'd be willing to come up with some theme drinks for

his big birthday bash. I, of course, said yes. As the party grew closer, the logistics of the event (specifically that there would be anywhere from 50-100 people in attendance) began to make me a bit nervous. One of the biggest challenges was that I had no way of predicting what sort of cocktail tastes the guests would have. In the end I decided to play it on the simple side -- By being kind of a lame cheater, and for the most part just serving up fairly unimaginative variations.

Drink #1
Tequila, St. Germain, lime juice

While I don't remember it, I can't imagine I haven't seen this Margarita variation before. I would imagine it was one of the first things many people did when St. Germain first hit the streets. This one was squarely in the "meh" range -- Not delicious, but not terrible. Not surprisingly it was the least popular of the three. In my defense, I will say that a number of folks were staunchly against Tequila citing all sorts of prior poor experiences. I tried to convince them that it was probably due to the over consumption of mixto, but that did little to assuage fears.

Drink #2
Black Seal Rum, Ginger Beer, half a lime

Yeah! A Dark and Stormy with half a lime thrown in! With this level of creativity, I can't believe I haven't been nabbed by Bourbon and Branch. Sigh. I fall into the camp of people who find lime in a Dark and Stormy to kind of "water" down the drink, but this one was quite popular, and I even had a few people tell me they liked the lime -- Finding that it cut the spiciness of the ginger.

Drink #3
Vodka, Chambord, lemonade

I knew I was going to be doing a Vodka drink, and when I found out that my friend has an freakish love of lemonade I decided to just do a simple spiked concoction with Chambord to add a bit of extra flavor. This tasted exactly what you would think it would. For my tastes it wasn't very good, but sweet Jesus did this thing fly off the bar. The cocktail snob in me winced a bit every time somebody said, "Yum! Tastes just like candy!", but I was happy that so many people enjoyed it as much as they did.

Overall, I had a great time, and enjoyed seeing so many people enjoying their drinks. Were I to do such a thing again, there are a few things I'd do differently.

First and foremost, I'd set a definite "cocktail hour". Going into the party I had thought one of two things would happen -- 1) There wouldn't be much interest in the cocktails as people would be more interested on the kegs, and shot station (that's right. Shot station. I run with a classy crowd.) 2) There would be an early run (the party started at 3) after which folks would "slow down" by switching to beer. What actually happened was that the cocktails were consistently popular, and it wasn't until around 10:30 that I finally broke down the bar. By the time I was done, all I wanted to do was hop in a cab, and head home. Having cocktails from something like 3-7, and letting folks help themselves to whatever was left over after that would have allowed me to spend some time at the party proper.

I would also ditch the "make up drinks" bit. I think everybody would have been somewhat better served by a selection of carefully chose classics. It wouldn't have been too much trouble to seek out drinks that in and of themselves fit the theme I was told about while still being able to offer a selection of drinks that wouldn't be perceived as run of the mill.


Cristina said...

Hmm, the first drink sounds interesting. Enough so that I might have to buy a bottle of tequila and try it. Wait...I think my mom has some tequila... :)

drinkaweek said...

Your mom is my kind of lady! You might want to toss in a little of Cointreau -- I felt like it could use some of that brightness to give it a bit of a pop.

If you make it, let us know what you think.