Party Potables


Here are a collection of classic cocktails, party punches, ice cream drinks, brunch beverages and a couple of new favorites that will help to whet your guests whistles.

Although there are thousands of alcoholic drinks served each day, there are just a few that over time have become classics. These are the drinks that every bartender has to know. They are what makes a party extra special and add just the right touch to any event.

Here are the most important recipes you should have in your arsenal. These recipes should be followed exactly by the beginner.

Brandy Alexander

Mix 1 ounce each of creme de cacoa and brandy. Add a splash of cream (more to taste). Pour into a stemmed glass and embellish with nutmeg.

Hot Buttered Rum

Twist a strip of lemon into a coffee mug, then drop in the peel and a clove. Pour in 2 ounces of rum and fill almost to the top with hot cider. Top with a pat of butter and add a cinnamon stick.

Cosmopolitan Martini

In a martini pitcher filled with a few ice cubes, stir in 1 1/2 ounces of vodka with 1/2 teaspoon of dry vermouth and 1/2 ounce of cranberry juice. Stir, strain, and pour into a martini glass.


In a pitcher or shaker, combine 4 parts Absolut Citron Vodka with 2 parts each of cranberry juice and triple sec (or Cointreau) and 1 part lime juice. Shake, strain, and pour into martini or cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Long Island Iced Tea

In a shaker, add 3/4 ounce each of rum, gin, vodka, tequila, triple sec, and sour mix. Shake. Pour into tall, ice-filled glass. Add a splash of cola. Garnish with a lemon wedge.


Combine 1 1/2 ounces of rye with 3/4 ounce of sweet vermouth. Add a dash of Angostura bitters. Pour ingredients in an ice-filled glass. Stir. Strain the drink into a chilled manhattan or a rocks glass, and keep the ice in the shaker. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Mint Julep

Take 2 sprigs of mint, [1/4] cup of water, and 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar. Muddle the ingredients with a mortar and pestle or emulsify in a blender for a few seconds. Pour over crushed ice. Add 3 ounces of bourbon. Stir, strain, and pour into a tall glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint.


In an ice-filled rocks glass, pour 2 ounces of bourbon. Add a splash of simple syrup, Angostura bitters, and club soda, stir, and serve.

Rob Roy

Combine 1 1/2 ounces of Scotch with 1/2 ounce of sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters, if desired. Pour over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a skewered cherry or orange twist.

Rusty Nail

In a rocks glass, pour 1 ounce each of Scotch and Drambuie over ice.

There are a number of Collins recipes--Vodka Collins and Rum Collins are two. However, here are the basic ingredients for the more popular...

Tom Collins

Mix 1 1/2 ounces of gin with 1/2 teaspoon of powdered sugar (or more for a sweeter Collins) and the juice of 1/2 a lemon with a splash of club soda or seltzer in a tall, ice-filled glass. If you'd like, dress up the drink with maraschino cherries.

Vodka Martini

Combine 2 ounces of vodka with a splash of dry vermouth.
Pour over a handful of ice in a martini shaker or pitcher. Gently stir. Put strainer over shaker and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a green olive on a toothpick or spear.

Whiskey Sour

Combine 2 ounces of blended whiskey to the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 teaspoon of powdered sugar into an ice-filled shaker. Shake, strain, and pour into a sour glass or champagne flute. You also can pour over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a slice of lemon speared onto a skewer and topped with a maraschino cherry.



Brunch Beverages

While there are many of us who can barely get down a cup of coffee for breakfast, we will often welcome some of the more potent eye-openers usually offered at a brunch. They're the beverages of choice for a breakfast or brunch buffet.

Bloody Mary

Combine 6 ounces of tomato juice with 1-1/2 ounces vodka. Add a dash of Tabasco sauce, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and the juice from a wedge of lime. Pour over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with celery.

Orange Blossoms

In a tall, ice-filled pitcher, add 1 1/2 ounces of gin for each serving. Fill the rest of the pitcher with orange juice and stir.

Tropical Cocktails

A summer favorite or for a party where you want to give your guests a taste of the tropics, these drinks go down easily but pack a punch.

Bahama Mama

In a large ice filled shaker, combine 1 jigger of coconut rum with a [½] ounce of triple sec. Add a splash of orange and pineapple juice, cre[ag]me de coconut, and grenadine for color. Shake and pour into a tall glass and decorate the glass with an orange wedge.

Banana Daiquiri

Blend 1 ounce of light rum with 3/4 ounce of cre[ag]me de banana. Add a splash of sour mix, a dash of simple syrup, and one peeled banana. Put into a blender with a handful or two of crushed ice. Blend until thickened. Garnish with a fresh fruit skewer.

Rum Runner

In a blender, pour 1 ounce of light rum with 1/2 ounce each of cre[ag]me de banana and blackberry brandy over a handful of crushed ice. Add a splash of orange and pineapple juice and a dash of grenadine. Mix until the drink is slushy. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with an orange slice.

Cork Poppers

Popping the cork on a champagne bottle has long been the symbol of celebration. However, when you want to use the sparkling wine in mixed drinks or when you have a less expensive bottle that could use a little help from mixers, here are some you can try.

Champagne Cocktail

Mix chilled champagne with a dash each of bitters and simple syrup. Pour into a champagne flute. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Kir Royale

In a champagne flute, pour 3/4 ounce of créme de cassis. Fill the rest of the glass with champagne. Add a lemon twist.


In a champagne flute, fill a quarter of the way with orange juice and top with chilled champagne.

Mocktails for You

You will likely find more of your guests opting for nonalcoholic beverages, so make sure you have plenty of soda, juice, and water to quench their thirst.

Piña Colada

Blend 2 ounces of cream of coconut with 3 ounces of pineapple juice. Toss into a blender with crushed ice and mix until thick. Pour into a tall glass, top with whipped cream, and garnish with a pineapple wedge.


Combine 2 ounces of sour mix with a splash each of lime and orange juice. Pour over a handful of crushed ice, and mix in your blender until smooth. Pour into a margarita glass with a salted rim. Trim with a lime wedge. (For the alcoholic version of this, add 1 1/2 ounces of tequila with 1/2 ounce of triple sec.)

Miami Vice

Combine 2 ounces each of half-and-half and root beer. Add a splash of chocolate syrup. Pour all the ingredients into a shaker with crushed ice. Shake well and pour into a tall ice-filled glass and top with your cola of choice.

Virgin on the Beach

In a tall, ice-filled glass combine 2 ounces each of cranberry, peach, orange, and pineapple juice. Add an orange wedge to the glass.

Shirley Temple

Pour 7-Up in a tall, ice-filled glass. Stir in a splash of grenadine and adorn it with a spear full of maraschino cherries.


Straight from the shot glass and down the hatch. All of these drinks should be mixed and served in individual shot glasses.

1. Amaretto Kiss: Mix a 1/2 ounce each of amaretto, lemonade, pineapple juice, and vodka.

2. Purple Haze: To equal parts vodka and Chambord, add a dash of sour mix and cranberry juice. Pour over ice, swirl, strain, and pour into a glass.

3. B-52: Layer Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Creme, and Grand Marnier in equal parts.

4. Big City: Combine equal parts of vodka, triple sec, and lemon juice.

5. Mudslide: Layer equal parts Kahlua, vodka, and Bailey’s Irish Creme in a glass.

6. Melonball: Mix equal parts of vodka, Midori, and orange juice over ice. Stir, strain, and pour.


From this basic recipe, you will be able to create an almost endless selection of gelatin shooters.

Choose your favorite gelatin flavor. Prepare according to package directions, replacing half of the required cold water (more or less to taste) with vodka, gin, or a favorite alcohol.

Place desired amount of 3 oz. paper cups, plastic pill cups or shot glasses on a cookie sheet. Pour 2 oz. mix into each container, chill until solid, and serve with a fancy toothpick or small swizzle stick.

A few favorite combinations are:

Blueberry gelatin with equal amounts raspberry schnapps and Chambord.

Sparkling white-wine gelatin with either champagne, white wine, vodka, or white rum.

Lime gelatin with tequila.

Peach gelatin with bourbon.

Party Punches

The most commonly served beverage at a wedding reception, graduation party, anniversary celebration, shower, or open house is ladled from a bowl--with or without a "punch."

Coffee Pot Cider Punch

Pour 1 quart apple cider, 1 pint cranberry juice, 1 cup orange juice, and 3/4 cup lemon juice into a party-size electric coffee pot. Place 1 cup of sugar, 3 cinnamon sticks, 1 tablespoon whole allspice, and 1 tablespoon of whole cloves into the grounds basket. Perk on mild or until the "ready light" comes on, and serve in heat-resistant mugs or cups. Garnish with cinnamon sticks to be used as stirrers. Makes twelve 4-ounce servings.

Creamy Hot Rusty Nail

In a large double boiler (or saucepan on medium-low), add 1 cup of half-and-half, 5 cups of milk, 1 teaspoon each of ground ginger and nutmeg, 1 cup of Scotch, and 1/2 cup of Drambuie. Stir constantly until heated through. Do not boil. Equally divide into 12 mugs. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Hot Irish Whiskey Punch

Stud 12 thick lemon slices with 4 cloves each. In a large bowl, mix 3 cups of Irish whiskey with a 1/2 cup of soft, packed brown sugar until sugar dissolves. In 12 small mugs or heat-resistant cups, place the lemon slices and the equally divided whiskey mixture. Top with 6 cups of boiling water divided among the cups. Stir and serve. Makes 12 servings

Ladies Who Lunch Punch

In a large punch bowl, combine 4 cups each of brewed (or instant) tea and apple juice. Add 6 cups of pineapple juice and 3 cups of gin. Thaw two 6-ounce cans each of frozen concentrated lemonade and orange juice.

Stir into mixture and chill for 2 hours. Just before serving, add three 12-ounce cans of cold ginger ale. Slice an orange into wheels to float on top of punch and serve in punch cups. Makes 36 servings

Wedding Day Punch

Combine two 12-ounce cans of frozen pink lemonade concentrate, one 46-ounce can of apple juice, 3 lemonade cans of cold water, and one 1-liter bottle of 7-Up or ginger ale into a punch bowl. Add 1 bottle of champagne (or for a nonalcoholic punch, 1 more liter of soda or sparkling cider) into the bowl and stir. Float an ice ring in the punch mixture. Makes approximately forty 5-ounce cups

Ice Cream Drinks

These drinks are delicious and filling as both bar drinks or dessert. The nonalcoholic versions made with flavor extracts are festive, frozen fun for guests of all ages.

Chocolate Bear

Drop a handful of ice into a heavy-duty blender. Pour in 1 ounce each of Kahlua and créme de banana and 1 or 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream. Mix until ice is melted and drink is a milkshake consistency. Pour into a large wine (or cocktail) glass. Top with whipped cream and shaved chocolate (or chocolate sprinkles).

Crumbled Cookies

In a blender, add 1 ounce each of white créme de menthe and créme de cacao and 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream. Blend until it is a milkshake consistency. Pour in a martini glass or cocktail glass and top with a crushed chocolate cookie.


Pour 1 1/2 ounces each of Galiano and Grand Marnier into a blender filled with 4-6 ice cubes. Add 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream. Top with a splash of orange juice and grenadine. Blend until it is the consistency of a milkshake. If the mixture is too thick, add more orange juice. Pour into a glass and garnish with an orange slice.


In a blender filled with 4-6 ice cubes, add 1 ounce each of créme de menthe and white créme de cacao. Mix in 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream. Blend until of milkshake consistency.


Pour 1 1/2 ounces each of Galiano and Grand Marnier into a blender filled with 4-6 ice cubes. Top with 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream. Add a splash of orange juice and grenadine. Blend until it is the consistency of a milkshake. If the mixture is too thick, add more orange juice.

Coffee Drinks

Once dinner is over and the party is winding down, you’ll find many of your guests looking for just a little kick before they head out. This is the perfect time to show off your flare for the fancier coffee:

Caffe Di Amaretto

In a mug, pour 1 ounce of amaretto. Fill with hot coffee. Stir and garnish with whipped cream and minced orange rind.

Cappucino Sausalito

Combine 1/2 ounce each of amaretto and Kahlua in a large mug. Pour in 4 ounces each of coffee and hot chocolate. Mix. Top with whipped cream.

The Skater's Waltz

In a mug combine 1/2 ounce each of Kahlua and peppermint schnapps with 5 ounces of hot coffee. Garnish with a peppermint stick.


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