It’s that perpetual party dilemma: You want to serve fun, fancy cocktails at your party, but you want to spend the night mingling, not shaking and stirring. Well, my reluctant mixologist, you’re in luck.
Ready-made cocktails will do the work for you — and we’re not talking those liter bottles of Mountain Dew-tasting margarita from the bottom shelf. You can get swank Manhattans in a bottle. Or something light and fruity. And if you’re up for a tiny bit of work, there are cocktail mixes that come in an array of fun, fruity flavors.
1. SpikedSeltzer. All-natural, cold-pressed citrus fruit essence is the flavor behind low-carb, 6 percent alcohol SpikedSeltzer drinks. They come in orange, cranberry, lime and grapefruit, and you can drink them straight or mix them with other juices and spirits for your own custom cocktails.
2. High West Barreled Boulevardier. Park City, Utah’s High West Distillery ages its own bourbon with sweet vermouth and bitter amaro in oak barrels for its Barreled Boulevardier. It also makes a barreled Manhattan and a rye and wine aperitif called Yippee Ki-Yay.
3. Sauza Sparkling Margarita. Short of juicing your own limes, your next-best option may be Sauza Sparkling Margaritas, which come in original lime, sparkling mango peach and sparkling wild berry, and are made with real tequila.
4. Arty’s Moscow Mule. They’re all the rage this year, and it’s easy enough to mix up a pitcher. Or you could try Arty’s Moscow Mule. The micro distiller also makes three different Old-Fashioneds and a bloody mary.
5. The Manhattan: Barrel-finished cocktail. Esquire magazine teamed up with Louisville, Kentucky, distiller Jefferson’s Bourbon to create a bottled Manhattan cocktail.
6. Smirnoff Grand Cosmopolitan. Vodka and Grand Mariner combine with cranberry juice for the ultimate girlie cocktail, the Cosmopolitan made easy. Smirnoff also makes a malt liquor-based sparkling peach Bellini.
7. The Caesar. This Canadian cocktail is a lot like a bloody mary: It’s tomato-based with horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce, but with anchovy flavor and clam broth thrown in as well. Crazy Uncle Über Caesar is made by Toronto chef Guy Rubino.
8. Crafthouse Cocktails Moscow Mule. This version of the popular mule is made with organic ginger juice, craft vodka and pure lime juice. Crafthouse also makes Paloma and Southside cocktails.
9. Fluid Dynamics Rye Manhattan. For a less-sweet version of the cocktail, there’s craft distiller Fluid Dynamics’ Rye Manhattan. They also make a Brandy Manhattan, a Dry Martini and three other ready-made cocktails.
10. Bacardi Mojito. Who better to concoct a rum-based cocktail than a rum company? Bacardi’s Mojito is made with essences of lime and mint.
11. Candlelit Manhattan. For something extra fancy, there’s the Candlelit Manhattan by Mr Lyan’s, a sweet and herbal bourbon-based cocktail.
One final tip for a stress-free cocktail party: We just tried Pubware’s unbreakable drinkware and loved the glasslike look and heft without the worry of messy/dangerous accidents or clouding in the dishwasher.