Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that, at no extra cost to you, we will be compensated when a purchase is made. We only recommend products that we use ourselves.
You've got 50 thirsty guests coming over for a party and with all the cocktail knowledge you've been bragging about lately, they are expecting some tasty tipples!
What you need is just one easy, low maintenance, (and most importantly) delicious drink that hardly requires any thought or effort to prepare and serve in bulk.
Here are our 3 simple rules for making cocktails for parties, events and large gatherings, plus and a bonus list of 6 great cocktails that meet the criteria.
1) Keep it Simple
First and foremost, less is truly more here. Extravagant cocktails like Zombies are rarely seen outside of bars because the more ingredients that are required the more complicated it gets to prepare in bulk. As a result, they're slower to make again and top up when they run out, and more expensive to source all the bottles required to make them in the first place. Opting for a cocktail recipe with 4 or less common ingredients, that do not need to be shaken or muddled, is the number one trick to saving lots of time and money when preparing to serve multiple guests.
2) Keep It General and Familiar
A big mistake many people make is not keeping tastes and flavours straightforward and familiar. When making cocktails for large groups and parties the main aim is to make sure everyone is happy with the drink they have, because if even one person dislikes the drink this can potentially throw all of your hard work and preparation out the window. A tip for this is to stick to universally known, fruity flavours. Also avoid short, strong drinks, as these can be too intense for casual drinkers to enjoy.
3) Choose a Drink You Can Batch
The easier it is to whack into one big jug or bowl the better it will be for you and your guests – people just need to ladle or pour their portions into a glass and go! Fussy cocktails that require a lot of love and care for each individual portion (we’re looking at you, Mojitos) will not fare well here! Any recipe with a decent amount of juice tends to be a winner for this - the more juice the better, as it will provide volume while keeping things simple. Also, try not to pick drinks that have crushed ice, as it will melt faster and dilute the whole batch and you'll have to go and make more!
There's no point in hosting a great party if you don't get to be part of the fun, so make sure you don't choose a drink that will inadvertently slow the good times down!
With all of the above in mind, here are the 6 best cocktails to batch for your bash. Follow the recipe and multiply the measurements by the number of guest you plan to serve (or to the capacity of your jug).
The ultimate boozy brunch and frat party sharer, no list of this calibre is complete without a Rum Punch. Where it may lack in simplicity compared to other drinks on this list, it definitely makes up with the low maintenance once it’s up and running. Be liberal with the pineapple juice for this one! Leave a ladle in the bowl, turn your back on it and enjoy the festivities - the hard work is over!
Sex On the Beach/Woo Woo
Two sides of the same delicious coin. On a sweltering summer weekend when you and the gang are feeling particularly tropical, a Sex On The Beach is a sure-fire way to summon your inner Ibiza spirit, and a great option for hassle free top ups (which you’ll need because there’s no way there aren't going to be refills once you start). If, by some slim chance the stars haven’t aligned in your favour and you discover that you’ve run out of orange juice, you can completely get away with making the executive decision to make a Woo Woo bowl instead!
Nothing feels more elegant than relaxing in style on a hot day with a jug of Sangria in hand. To make it even better, they’re insanely easy to make too, with only a few low-cost ingredients - most of which you could have lying around the house right now. While these are made with sharing in mind, there is no shame in enjoying a whole jug for yourself... in fact we encourage it! Just be sure to buy lots of ripe fruits to make this drink look as beautiful as it tastes.
Super simple with only 3 ingredients, a jug of Aperol Spritz is guaranteed to bring pizzazz to any garden party – no shaking or mixing required! It's so easy to batch in fact, that Aperol gained a world record for making the worlds largest spritz of 1,000 litres back in 2016! When it comes to making these beauties, having a Sodastream on hand is an absolute game changer especially if you plan on making more than just a few of these sharers, or for saving money on any drink with soda water in general. With one available you now only need prosecco and Aperol to keep the party going indefinitely since the soda water is covered. Find out more about how a Sodastream can save you time and money here.
Yet another simple classic that can be thrown together to be enjoyed by all, especially if it's in a fishbowl! A classic Margarita has only 4 ingredients, but if you really want to double down on the ‘simplicity’ point, a Tommy’s Margarita is a great alternative since it doesn’t need the triple sec, saving you even more money and effort. Although both of these drinks usually require shaking, you can get away with only a vigorous stir in a big pot. No need to rim each glass with salt though, unless your guests REALLY insist…
Long Island Iced Tea
Okay, okay... with up to 8 ingredients it’s not necessarily the simplest cocktail out there, but Long Island Iced Teas are the wildcard of the cocktail world! These can be an unexpected win if you’re hosting a house party where you can expect or request that everyone brings a bottle of something to contribute, you can almost be certain that you’ll accumulate at least 4 out of the 5 white spirits needed to make a Long Island Iced Tea – Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila and/or Triple Sec. Throw in some lemon juice and sugar syrup and fill to the brim with coke to enjoy your immediate promotion to the best party host of all time.
For more cocktail recipes that you can enjoy either on your own or with all your best pals, see our full list of cocktail recipes.