A Guide To Do-It-Yourself Party Cocktails — Ingredients, Techniques, And More

October 10, 2023

Are you interested in learning how to make your own craft cocktails for your next party?

You don’t need an extensive bar or a background in mixology; all you need is the right tools, some basic ingredients, and a guide to help you along.

Let’s explore the world of do-it-yourself drinks and discuss simple techniques and recipes that anyone can follow. From classic margaritas to unique spirits mixes — read on for tips on how anyone can master their own cocktail crafting skillset.

The Basics of Mixology

Mixology is the art and science of crafting the perfect cocktail. It goes far beyond just pouring a few ingredients together and calling it a drink. There are specific techniques and tips that can make all the difference in creating a truly delicious beverage, including:

  • Always use fresh ingredients, especially when it comes to citrus fruits like lemons and limes. Avoid using bottled juices whenever possible.
  • Use quality spirits for the base of your cocktails. It may cost a little more, but it will make a noticeable difference in the taste and overall experience.
  • Make sure to properly measure all ingredients to ensure consistency and balance in your drinks. This is where a jigger comes in handy.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and ingredients. Part of the fun of cocktail-making is creating new and unique combinations.

With a little knowledge and practice, anyone can become a skilled mixologist and impress their guests with stunning cocktails. So why not start experimenting and see what kind of exciting drink concoctions you can come up with? Take your bartending skills to the next level and discover the wonderful world of mixology.

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Get the Right Equipment

Before you begin, it’s important to have the right equipment for making cocktails. Aside from the traditional shaker, a nugget ice maker is an essential tool to have on hand. You can find these items at most kitchen supply stores or online retailers like Gevi — these products often come at an affordable price and can elevate the quality of your cocktails. Other useful tools include a jigger for measuring precise amounts of liquid, a strainer for removing ice and other ingredients from your drinks, and a muddler for crushing fruits and herbs.

Essential Ingredients

Having a well-stocked bar is key for any DIY cocktail party. Here are some essential ingredients that you should always have on hand:

  • Spirits: Vodka, gin, rum, bourbon, tequila, and whiskey are all versatile spirits that can be used in a variety of cocktails. It’s best to use quality brands for the base of your drinks.
  • Liqueurs: These sweetened spirits add depth and flavor to cocktails. Some popular options include triple sec, amaretto, and elderflower liqueur.
  • Citrus Fruits: Lemons and limes are essential for adding a refreshing tang to cocktails. Make sure to use fresh fruit for the best flavor.
  • Bitters: These concentrated mixtures add complexity and depth to cocktails. Angostura bitters is a classic option, but there are many different flavors available.
  • Sugar Syrup: This simple syrup can be used as a sweetener in cocktails instead of granulated sugar, which can be difficult to mix into cold drinks.
  • Mixers: Tonic water, club soda, and ginger beer are all common mixers that can add fizz and flavor to cocktails. Don’t forget about fruit juices like cranberry or pineapple as well.

Cocktail Recipes

Now that you have the basics down, it’s time to start mixing! Here are a few classic recipes to get you started:

Classic Margarita

  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt for rimming the glass (optional)


  1. Rim a margarita glass with salt, if desired.
  2. Fill a shaker with ice.
  3. Add all ingredients to the shaker and shake well.
  4. Strain into the prepared glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy!

Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1 sugar cube or ½ tsp of granulated sugar
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish


  1. In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube and bitters together.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and add the whiskey.
  3. Stir well until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with an orange peel twist and enjoy!

With these two simple recipes as a starting point, feel free to experiment and create your own unique cocktail concoctions. The possibilities are endless when crafting delicious drinks for your next party.

Non-Alcoholic Options

If there’s one thing better than a delicious cocktail, it’s a fantastic mocktail! For those who don’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to compromise on flavor. If anything, fresh mocktails can be even more refreshing and satisfying than traditional cocktails. The key is to use fresh ingredients that pack a flavorful punch. There are plenty of options to choose from, like tangy citrus fruits, juicy berries, or aromatic herbs.

To get started, try a non-alcoholic version of the classic mojito:

Virgin Mojito

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • 1 tsp sugar or sugar syrup
  • Club soda


  1. In a highball glass, muddle together the lime wedges, mint leaves, and sugar or syrup. Make sure to not over-muddle, as this can make the drink bitter.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and top with club soda.
  3. Give it a gentle stir and garnish with a sprig of mint.
  4. Enjoy this refreshing and non-alcoholic twist on a summertime favorite!

Serving Ideas

Hosting a party is already stressful enough, let alone thinking of creative ways to serve your drinks. It doesn’t have to be complicated, though. Even with a simple twist, you can make your drinks stand out.

A classic punch bowl is an effortless option, especially for larger gatherings. Add some fresh fruits or a decorative ice ring to make it even more appealing. For a more casual affair, mason jars and paper straws can add a rustic vibe. A charcuterie board isn’t just for food; it can also serve as a drink station. Display different types of beverages in carafes or vintage bottles and let your guests help themselves. Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of a garnish. A slice of citrus or a sprig of rosemary can give your drinks an elevated look and taste.

With the right equipment, ingredients, and techniques, anyone can become a skilled mixologist and create delicious drinks at home. Whether you prefer classic cocktails or want to experiment with new flavors, the world of mixology has something for everyone. So why not gather some friends, stock up on the essentials, and start shaking up some tasty drinks? Cheers to becoming a home bartender extraordinaire!

Drink responsibly.

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