The Secret to Throwing a Soirée Guests Will Remember

You can always tell when you’ve entered the home of a seasoned host. They’re welcoming, calm, and (most importantly) they always make sure the cocktails are flowing. There’s just something about serving hand-crafted cocktails that steps up the caliber of any event you’re throwing. It’s one of those details that feels intrinsically grown-up, doesn’t it? We partnered with Cointreau to share the key entertaining tips to throw the kind of soirée your guests will be talking about for weeks afterward. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to make this possible even if your only experience with mixing cocktails is that time you made the punch for your college dorm party.

These days, when entertaining at home, we love to create fresh cocktails with seasonal ingredients to make the evening feel extra special and thoughtful. With a few years of hosting under our belts, we’ve discovered that what guests ultimately remember from an evening is great food, crafted cocktails, beautiful décor and, of course, good company.

For the upcoming holidays, we’ve been inspired by classic and effortless entertaining, with a twist of course—think Art-Deco circa 1920s meets modern day glam. Read on for the best ways to create a memorable evening for your guests at home, from the essentials to keep on your bar cart to the decor that sets the scene.

 

The Everygirl Entertaining Tips

 

 

Bar Cart Essentials

Having a properly stocked and stylized bar cart is essential when entertaining at home. When styling our bar cart, especially for the holiday season we always stock it with festive glassware, seasonal flowers, the essential cocktail tools, and our must have spirits, like Cointreau—the original orange liqueur, and key ingredient to our favorite classic cocktails (including the margarita, sidecar, and white lady).

 

Set the Scene

When hosting, we always start our planning by creating an inspirational mood board and thinking of creative ideas to make the evening memorable for our guests. For us, the tablescape is always a focal point and a place where the soirée thematic comes together, creating a statement for the evening. We love to add personal touches through our décor and make our guests feel special. Lately, we’ve been personalizing coasters to act as table cards and even better, doubles up as a stylish takeaway.

 

Cocktails

No soirée is complete without handcrafted cocktails, and with the holiday season upon us, we are focusing on creating classic cocktails with our own personal twists. Recently, we have been playing with a few of our favorite classic cocktails. We took the classic Sidecar and added champagne to shake up a Sparkling Sidecar. It’s easy to create with just four simple ingredients: Cointreau, cognac, fresh lime juice, and champagne. See recipes below!

 

Serve with Style

Much like cocktails, your food should be served with style and ease. Given many people’s dietary restrictions, we recommend serving light and healthy bites that everyone can enjoy. For an easy starter, we like to serve a pear and goat cheese crostini—a three step guest favorite. Additionally, a pasta entrée is always a good idea since it allows you to add the vegetables (and meat, if you choose) all into one filling serving! And it’s easy to prepare!

 

Florals

We believe florals are an important element to bring life and a pop of color to your space when entertaining. Not only do they elevate your décor, but they act as the perfect prop for any Instagram photo!

 

Games + Activities

We always like to include something fun and unexpected for guests when we entertain. One creative idea for the holiday season is to set up a “make your own classic cocktail station” with all the proper tools and fresh ingredients they’d need.

 

Recipes with Cointreau

The White Lady

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 2 oz. Botanist Gin
  • 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

How to Make: Combine all ingredients in a shaker tine and add ice. Shake all ingredients and strain into a cocktail coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

 

 

Lady in the Garden

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 0.75 oz. Botanist gin
  • 0.75 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 1 bar spoon simple syrup

How to Make: Muddle cucumber. Combine all ingredients in a shaker tine and add ice. Shake all ingredients and strain into a cocktail coupe glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice and mint on a bamboo cocktail pick

 

 

The Sidecar

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. Rémy Martin VSOP
  • 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

How to Make: Combine all ingredients in a shaker tine and add ice. Shake all ingredients and strain into a cocktail coupe glass. Garnish with a sugar rim and lemon twist.

 

The Sparkling Sidecar

(twist on the original Sidecar)

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. Rémy Martin VSOP
  • 0.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 oz. champagne

How to Make: Combine all ingredients in a shaker tine and add ice. Shake all ingredients except sparkling and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Garnish with a sugar rim.

 

This story was in partnership with Cointreau but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

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