Cocktail queen Kay Plunkett-Hogge knows everything there is to know about throwing a party. Lucky for us, she’s happy to share.
Keep It Classic
‘If you’re going to bars you’ll get your dry ice and your burning tobacco leaves, but at home it’s exciting to rediscover the classics. Try a Negroni or a martini for some vintage cool. And don’t forget to scour the charity shops for any little glasses in different shapes and sizes.’
Be The Hostess With The Mostess
‘Remember, you’re the one having people round, so if you stand in the corner chatting to one person all night, that’s not hosting. Make sure you chat to everybody, and ensure that everybody is introduced to each other.’
Less Is More
‘Keep it simple because really it’s about your guests and it’s about the food and drink. If you only serve one drink, make it a Margarita. It’s a really easy one to mix. For Christmas, have some fresh and seasonal flowers, but don’t go too over the top with the tinsel.’
Get The Essentials
‘You’ll need a good shaker, with a well fitting lid – you don’t want daiquiri on the ceiling. And a long spoon to stir. You don’t need to have to go and spend loads of money. But don’t forget the ice!’
Kay Says Relax
‘Don’t try to do too much; nobody wants a frazzled hostess. If you can’t do all the food, don’t worry, buy some nice bits and bobs in. Only do a couple of cocktails, you’re not a bar, it’s your house. The more you enjoy yourself, the happier your guests will be’.
If In Doubt, Add Bacon
For a drink with a difference, pour leftover bacon fat into a bottle of bourbon or vodka for a Bacon Bloody Mary. Just pop it into the freezer overnight and strain for baconized cocktails.’
Choose Quick Canapés
‘Don’t let the canapés stress you out. Go for an easy trio of nuts. Cover almonds in butter and put them in the oven for 20 minutes, before serving them warm with salt. Toast walnuts in a pan on top with sugar, cayenne pepper, fresh rosemary and salt. The simply toss some peanuts with fresh chilli, coriander and little bits of green spring onion or chive.’
Kay’s Failsafe Cocktails
‘The Margarita, the Cosmopolitan and the Daiquiri. Those three are really simple and it’s easy to just mix them up front and just shake them to order.’
Make Mine a Martini by Kay Plunkett-Hogge (£14.99, Mitchell Beazley) is out now.