Virtual cocktail parties and cooking classes are probably two of my favorite things about this year. The imaginative social ideas executed through ZOOM and other video services have been impressive. Although attendees weren’t in the same room, they’ve felt intimate, in my opinion.
The best part is gaining access to cooking and mixology experts and picking their brains in cozy, casual settings.
My husband Dave and I did a virtual Aberlour Whiskey tasting recently, and it was the most fun we’d had in a while! It gave us both feelings of going out for a night on the town. We’d only traveled four floors down to the common area of our apartment building.
I decided since I wouldn’t be able to see my girlfriends in person anytime soon, I’d throw a virtual happy hour so that we could catch up and learn to be better at-home bartenders.
Reasons you Should Have a Virtual Cocktail Party
- It helps bartenders who are out of work.
- It’s a fun way to connect with friends and family when you can’t visit in person.
- It encourages you to get creative with at-home cocktails and move away from the same old go-to drinks.
- Personalized events with bartenders/mixologists are educational. We learned a great deal about alcohol basics.
Steps for Throwing a Virtual Happy Hour
Choose your Video Conference App
Make a Guest List with a Few of Your Favorite People
I limited my guest list to three people. I wanted to ensure easy engagement with each other and the mixologist.
Hire a Bartender
I hired Nigal Vann, a Chicago bartender, for the event. I wanted the party to be fun as well as educational. Also, I was not too fond of the pressure of figuring out cocktails for everyone. Nigal took care of all of that.
I’d met Nigal a few weeks prior when he was a special guest during the Aberlour Whiskey tasting. I immediately knew I wanted to collaborate with him somehow. His vibe and personality shined through.
Decide on a Dress Code
I knew right away that this was a no sweatpants party. Each guest was required to dress up and wear a fascinator. It created excited anticipation before the event.
Choose Which Spirits Will be Used
We decided to use spirits each of us had on hand for the virtual cocktail party. In the end, vodka and rum were the choices. We then told Nigal we wanted to learn two drinks. One cold and one hot and boozy cocktail to get us through the winter.
Nigal took it from there and crafted two unique cocktails for us. He then sent the recipes in advance so that we could prepare our homemade syrup and batter.
We had a ball and ended up having a 3-hour virtual cocktail party; one hour with our bartender and two hours with just the girls!
Below are the incredible cocktail recipes that Nigal created! Try them, they’re yummy!
Shake Your Pom Poms
- fresh lime juice
- homemade grenadine (see instructions below)
Add one cup of white sugar, one cup of pomegranate juice, and 1 tsp of cinnamon to a small pot on the stovetop. Cook on low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool and store in the refrigerator.
Combine 2 oz Vodka, 3/4 oz fresh lime juice, 3/4 oz homemaker grenadine in a shaker tin with ice, and shake for 15 seconds. Strain into a glass and top with soda (optional), garnish with a rosemary sprig.
Feeling All Haute and Buttered
- 1 1/2 lb brown sugar
- 1/2 lb softened butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 packet hot chocolate mix
- Spiced Rum
- Chocolate liqueur
Hot Chocolate Butter Batter Instructions
Add butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, hot chocolate mix to a bowl and stir until blended. Place in the freezer covered. Remove from the freezer for 30 minutes and allow to soften before you make your cocktail.
Combine 1 Tbsp batter, 1 1/2 oz spiced rum, 1/2 oz chocolate liqueur to mug or glass. Fill with hot water and stir. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream.