Tips for a Sober Yet Sexy Cocktail Party

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How to host a party without alcohol

Make it a double, in that case

There comes a time when you’re craving the social experience of hosting a dinner party at home, without the assumption of alcohol. We’re finding that the more conscious our society is becoming of health and longevity, reaching for a cocktail, beer, or liquor is not as common as it used to be. For this reason, as a hostess, you have every right to throw a cocktail party—sans alcohol. To keep it feeling festive, elevated, and aesthetic (since we’ll admit, mixed drinks just do add a touch of sophistication and creativity to a spread at a party), see our top tips for hosting a cocktail party at home.

1. Assorted glassware

Whether you have vintage glassware, an entire Anthropologie set, or a few different everyday use glasses, bring them out. Multi-colored? Yes please. Varied sizes and stem heights? Diversity is welcome here (always is). If they’re sitting in your glass case, what better time to bring them out than for a cocktail party?

Psst… if you’re needing some inspo for types of glassware to add to your case, check our favorite list of essential items here

how to host a party without alcohol

2. Mixed variety of re-mixed drinks

  • Ginger beer: Adds a kick of spritz, a touch of flavor, and a bit of spice to any drink. Contrary to what it sounds like, this actually does not contain alcohol. (Most versions, so check ABV as you purchase to stick to your mocktail evening)
  • Coconut water: Ahh, and it’s hydrating! Even more effective, when you’re not dehydrating with alcohol.
  • Blended or pureed fruit: It’s sweet, it’s pretty, and it’s just downright tasty.
  • Club soda: Foundation is to your makeup process as soda is to your drink.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Disclaimer—only a touch. ACV is strong and bitter in flavor, but a few drops stirred in with ice cubes presents a fresh twist to any beverage. Bonus: ACV is great for balancing blood sugar. Win, win. 
  • Coffee: Chill it, mix it, or keep it warm for a night cap. Dessert in a mug, can you make that a double?
  • Iced tea: We love jasmine, green, or raspberry passionfruit. Mixing these in add a soothing, tasteful (and tasty) element to any mixed experience. 

To guide your mocktail-mixing process, check out what our local mixologists recommend here.

ideas for a party besides alcohol

3. Fun garnishes

There’s just something about adding a touch of decor to your drinks that take them from good to delightful. Our go-to additions for elevating the social experience.

  • Assorted paper straws: A pop of color or design here and there does the trick
  • Fresh fruit: Who doesn’t want fresh berries bobbing between ice cubes?
  • Herbs: A sprig of mint, basil, or rosemary bring a new hint of flavor, as well as a chic aesthetic
  • Citrus: Lemon, orange, or lime. Wedge them, chop them, zest them. 
  • Edible flowers: A rose by any other name… can also decorate a drink. Who knew.
  • Powdered sugar: A spoonful of sugar helps anything go down. And truly beautifies a drink.
  • Custom ice cubes: Easier than you’d think to make, and really the only thing you need to level up your mocktails. Make custom ice cubes

Or, check out how to dress up your drinks. We wrote all about it. 

what to put in mocktails

4. Serve dinner: Keep it simple

If throwing a dinner party sounds exciting to you, you go, star hostess. If the thought of hosting not only a party but also providing a meal feels like putting on your grown-up pants that you don’t think you fit into yet… we’ve got you. Below, our favorite meals to prep for a crowd (large or small) that are simple to make ahead of time. Oh, and they’re tough to mess up ;)

  • Pasta: Toss in sundried tomatoes, pesto, arugula, and mix in penne and corkscrews for the wow factor.
  • Salad: You can’t go wrong. Keep it “simple” with Caesar (which can be as embellished as you’d like, of course) or throw nuts and cheese into a spring mix. 
  • Stovetop soup: Depending your season, a cozy bowl of soup is a warm welcome to anyone looking for comfort in a social scene.
  • Enchiladas: Add in black beans, zucchini, sweet potatoes, or your meat of choice to bring a spin to this classic Mexican dish.

Psst, secrets to meaningful dinner conversation, here.

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5. Unique spaces for various moods

There are the people who will want to sit back and relax, and there are the ones who would prefer to constantly be busy with their hands. Facilitate each of these guests—and others in between—by setting up different spaces for different vibes.

  • Busy bodies: Set up a drink-mixing station. Mix up sangria, or pour juice into carafes so guests can be their own mixologists. Or, if they insist on washing dishes throughout the night, let them be your guest (and let them carry on with the washing).
  • Chillers: The living room welcomes those who wish to lounge. They’re easy to entertain with a sofa, lit candles, and a few snacks arranged within reach.
  • Outside crew: The lively ones. Make the music accessible to adjust, offer a game or two (corn hole, bocce ball, water pong… it is still fun, report back if you think differently). 

Plus, our top tips for how to host in a small space. Make the most of it ;) 

Consider your sober cocktail party ready to go. Integrate these tips, send out that invite, and make it happen. Looking to add a theme to your gathering? Partytrick has you covered. 

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