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The best drink shortcuts for weekend celebrations

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Cocktail shortcuts

Hosting a weekend soiree? Chances are, not everything will go as planned. If you find yourself lacking a key ingredient, or if you're short on time, take our advice and follow these sanity-saving shortcuts.
Friends having cocktails

Quality over quantity

Instead of trying to stock every possible liquor and mixer, decide on the drinks you'd like to serve and go for top quality ingredients.

iphoneUse a cocktail app

If you find yourself staring at your bar with no clue what to make, help is near. Try an iPhone app like Mixology. This app lets you plug in the ingredients you have, then tells you what cocktails you can make -- with instructions, of course.

cocktailServe a signature drink

Instead of playing bartender, mix up a pitcher of sangria or another refreshing cocktail you think your guests will enjoy. Preparing one or two drinks ahead of time will give you more time to enjoy yourself, so you won't have to fill orders all night.

Keep it simple

Leave the muddling to the mixologists. Keep things simple with drinks that only require a few ingredients. Cranberry juice and vodka, rum and cola and gin and tonic are all good choices.

Relax the glass

If you're having a large party, but don't have, want or need a large quantity of glassware, consider renting it. If you can't justify renting glasses, don't worry about matching. Even easier -- skip the glassware and go with plastic. Your guests will be having too much fun to notice or care.

sodastreamGet fizzy with it

Instead of heading out to the market and hauling back two-liter bottles or six-packs of soda, make your own fizzy water and flavored sodas with a home soda maker.

margaritaMake creative substitutions

If a guest wants a margarita, but you don't have the ingredients, don't give up. Get creative. Mix tequila with limeade in place of Cointreau and limejuice for a surprisingly delicious margarita.

Make your own crushed ice

So your water dispenser only makes big ice cubes when you need crushed? No worries. Put your ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap the bag in a towel. Grab your hammer and smash away. Voila -- homemade crushed ice.

Watch: Cocktail mixing tips

Check out these cocktail mixing tips and tricks -- and look like you know what you're doing at your next weekend celebration!

Summer cocktail recipes

Mango vodka cocktail
Banana Bangkok buzz
Trendy summer cocktails

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