Although gatherings may be more intimate this year, celebrations needn't suffer. Put well-curated drinks recipes on the menu to surprise your closest family and friends. Here, Soho House's Beverage Director Tom Kerr shares in-house tips, cocktail mastery, and how to bring the bar home.
Despite the small head count this year, take pride in preparation. Streamline your cocktail menu to include just one or two standout drinks. 'Measure out and pre-mix where possible,' says Kerr. Think olives, lemon twists and orange zest for garnishes - a sure-fire way to elevate a simple cocktail.
Stock the cart
Create a designated space for your cart for an interactive, at-home bar experience. 'At the Houses, we set out our bars like you would at home. The ingredients, garnishes, glassware and cocktail equipment are all within easy reach,' he says. Be sure to equip your bar with essential spirits to see you through New Year's celebrations, too. 'I always have Angostura bitters to hand, plus Double Dutch tonics.'
Invite guests to dress up to elevate the occasion. Set a time and meeting point to kick off the celebrations in style. Toasts are encouraged.
Think about the time of day you're serving drinks, as well as the time of year. Winter calls for drinks with dark spirit bases, like Eggnog and Old Fashioneds. For pre-lunch drinks, switch out for lighter bases - G&Ts, Negronis and Martinis are suitable options. Save the Manhattans for post-supper unwinds.
Mix it up
Certain cocktails suit certain glasses, but don't be afraid to improvise. 'You can serve a G&T in a wine glass and an Old Fashioned in a coupe. It's OK to bend the rules,' says Kerr.