There are so many secret ingredients to a successful meeting and event. State-of-the-art technology. A fantastic food spread. Sharp colleagues. And, oh yes, cocktails.
At Kimpton, we organize thousands of events every year and never stop imagining ways to bring something new to the mix. With rockstar chefs at our side, we’re now trend-setting with our beverage program, too. Innovative cocktails can take a gathering to the next level. In fact, a little nip during the day can really spark creativity and participation, especially among your shyer attendees.
To help you go beyond the ordinary here are six ways you can be inventive with adding cocktails to your agenda. Keep in mind that you can include virgin versions of any of these, and being responsible is key. Just have fun! And don’t forget: You can try these when you’re hosting at home, too.
1. Start with the Holy Grail — the Bloody Mary bar.
It’s been called “breakfast in a glass.” And who could argue with that? The Bloody Mary is a great eye-opener and can be just the hair of the dog your guests need if they are sluggish in the morning. Get their creativity going early with a build-your-own bar stocked with fresh, local ingredients — ranging from pickled veggies to bacon. You can also try Bloody Marias (made with tequila instead of vodka) or pre-made shooters. Set out a virgin mix for those that prefer it.
2. Try “Spike It” stations.
Lunchtime is prime time to blast a little fun and energy into an event. You can pull it off with little fuss by having a variety of unique and attractive beverage dispensers of pre-mixed cocktails, labeled appropriately of course. That way, your guests can dip into something new whenever they want — in the amount they prefer. It also allows them to try a liquor they haven’t had before, or enjoy one of their faves in a new and inventive way. Try negronis or a seasonal punch.
3. Wow with original presentations.
Drinks can be conversation starters before they’re even served. It all comes down to presentation. In warm weather, snow cones are a great idea; have a bartender on hand to shave ice and do pour-overs with syrups and liquors. You can also try booze popsicles or ice cubes. Think of it as snack time reinvented.
4. Tap into the flavors of the seasons.
Just like food, cocktails can be inspired by seasonality. With fall around the bend, it’s a great time to spike hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Or, bump things up a notch and soak mini taffy apples in spiked cider — it’s a treat with a kick that your guests will love.
5. Think mini.
Often, little things have the biggest impact. Especially when you pair small bites with mini cocktails. Consider food and drinks that naturally go hand in hand — mini tacos with mini margaritas, or cheeseburger sliders with shots of craft beer. This works really well for receptions, lunch stations and even during meeting breaks.
What is YOUR favorite way to perk up a professional or social gathering? Let us know in the Comments!