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Too Many Cooks: What Cocktails Do You Entertain With?

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You'll be hearing from the staff at Food52 in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more. 


There's a reason everyone always ends up in the kitchen at a party. Usually, that's where the bar is.

Cocktails can make or break an otherwise lively get together: they can turn a perfectly agreeable evening into one to remember, a low hum into a dull roar. When the drinks are flowing, the conversation's good, and the snacks -- better.

But, when faced with what to make for a throng of eager party-goers, we often end up scratching our heads: what drinks can you stir together easily that will serve -- and impress -- a crowd? With this in mind, we asked our team of fellow imbibers:

What cocktails do you entertain with?

How do you please a thirsty crowd? What can you pull together from your liquor cabinet last-minute? Tell us in the comments!

Jackie: Pimm's Cup! It's so refreshing, and especially delicious in spring and summer.

Lauren L: White wine sangria.

Karl: Lately, (bourbon) Manhattans. In the summer I make what I consider a Margarita variation, but there's probably a more accurate name for it -- tequila + lime juice + some sort of syrup.

Jenny: I scale this up for parties. 

JulieNegroni, always. But, the summer calls for Salty Dogs (I like them with gin) -- easy to make, easier to drink.

Merrill: Prosecco, or something else sparkling, with some kind of fruit purée or shrub.

More: Don't be caught empty handed -- we have everything you need for a spontaneous cocktail party.

Michael: I recently batch-made Boulevardiers for a dinner party of 6 by premixing ten of them in a bottle. The only thing I had to do when the guests arrived was stir two at a time in a cocktail pitcher, strain, and garnish. In the summertime, I like to go the punch route. Here's a summer punch I posted on Food52 in 2009!

Posie: I go for Palomas. For a classy version, I use tequila, grapefruit juice, and seltzer. For something a little less classy, and more delicious, I just use tequila and grapefruit soda.

Jojo: For spring and summer, whiskey sours with some mint and/or basil and a few splashes of fizzy water.

Christina: I love a good Campari spritzer on a summer day.

Lindsay-Jean: +1 for sparkling things, but when summer hits, nothing beats a good margarita, so +1 for those too. Though I do love a Pimm's Cup. And a Negroni. Screw it. +1s all around!

Lauren K: I make a huge batch of rhubarb liqueur every year and serve it at parties. Perfect with soda and/or prosecco. For brunch parties, I have a reliable Bloody Mary recipe and I let guests pick their booze of choice: vodka, gin, and tequila. Is it summer yet?

KenziNegroni negroni negroni

Danny: Old. Fashioned. That is all.

Marian: Negroni negroni -- negroni negroni (to the tune of this).

Sarah: I made a pitcher of the Southside at a dinner party the other week, and let's just say my friends have never been happier. 

Catherine: Unfortunately, I am not yet classy enough to possess a liquor cabinet, but on one cold winter's eve I did brew up a batch of Rooster Punch to great success. Based off a drink of the same name from the Red Rooster in Harlem, it consists of red wine, brandy, orange liqueur, and orange juice. Don't knock it 'til you try it.

Bea: My favorite drink in the world: a Perfect Manhattan by Michael Ruhlman.

Gabriella P: I made this Apple Rye Punch for nearly every party and holiday since October, and it made the endless winter slightly more tolerable. In summer, I do gin, Prosecco, Canton ginger liqueur, and maybe a touch of grapefruit juice. 

Tell us in the comments: what are your favorite cocktails to entertain with?

Tags: cocktails, entertaining, drinks for entertaining, too many cooks, boozy drinks

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