Throwing a cocktail party can be pretty overwhelming. Besides all of the preparation at your home setting the scene and offering up some yummy food, you have to worry about the drinks, too. Fancy cocktails from renowned mixologists are all the rage these days, and serving a premium cocktail at your party would be pretty impressive. Unfortunately, the exotic ingredients and unique methods of preparation can also be pretty expensive. If you're on a budget and want to throw a great cocktail party, don't worry -- here are some tips to help you pull it off.
The Guest List
Remember when you're planning out your party that each guest on your list will likely consume a few of your delicious cocktails. When working on a budget, you should calculate a per person average to make sure you're covered. If you only have $100 to spend, you shouldn't invite 30 people. If getting better food and mixing higher-priced drinks are important to you, then pare down the list to an intimate level. If having more people there is your goal, then do the opposite and scale down your food and cocktails. Skip the paper and consider going with an electronic invite or get the word out via social media. You'll immediately save some money on invitations and stamps.
Food is one area you can save on for your cocktail party. Nobody is expecting a sit-down dinner, so stick to a small selection of light appetizers. Making a variety of dips to serve with a selection of crackers and vegetables is an inexpensive way to fill up a party tray. Check your local grocery store for prepared party trays that won't break your budget. Your best bet for providing some inexpensive finger foods is to troll the Internet for ideas. There are hundreds of Web sites dedicated to inexpensive recipe ideas that manage to impress.
And the star of the show: the cocktails. When it comes to liquor, you don't have to provide a full bar. Pick out a few standards, and plan your cocktails around them. If you can't afford to go top-shelf on everything, choose a few premium brands for the most popular liquors and work your way down the price list with the others. It's better to go cheap on mixers than the liquor. Many people like to create a drink specific to the party in addition to providing a couple options for liquor and mixers. When planning for this, look for recipes that have less expensive ingredients that can be made without buying any new equipment. Punch is a great way to serve a signature drink on a budget. In addition to all of the cocktails, you should also pick out a small selection of beer and wine. Before you buy, check with your local spirits shop and ask about specials.