Entertain your guests (or just yourself) with these easy tips and tricks to make any party go with a swing, from journalist and blogger Kate Watson-Smyth of Mad about the House
The Webster will be the talk of the party. The bonus? It’s made from sustainable wood.
Style up your drinks cabinet. A cool drinks unit is all the rage now, and the Webster, with its etched front and metallic details, really looks the part. With the doors closed and some ornaments on top, it’s a stylish addition to any living room. When the lights go down and the guests arrive, throw open the doors to show an array of pretty glasses, enticing drinks and cool cocktail gear.
Top tip: If you don’t have a drinks cabinet, make a display on a worktop or side table. It creates a focal point where you can show off your glassware.
Don’t save the best until last. Keeping your favourite glasses for best means you won’t use them very often, and that’s a shame. Have them on display and use them every day. They’ll elevate even the simplest mocktail and make that dull weekday evening more special.
Top tip: Decorative glasses with a metallic finish will add to the festive vibe.
Remember the ice. No cocktail is complete without a few rocks thrown in. There’s nothing like that chink of cubes to get the party started. Make sure you include an ice bucket on top of the cabinet – you don’t want to be running to the kitchen every five minutes.
Top tip: Try freezing tiny lemon wedges, mint leaves or berries in the water in your ice tray to add a decorative element to your drinks.
Use the right tools for the job. Always use a measuring jug – the correct quantities are important for the taste of the cocktail, and stop everyone sloshing too much in as the evening wears on. What starts as a sophisticated cocktail can rapidly turn into a large brandy with a splash of champagne if you’re not careful.
Top tip: Cocktail stirrers are a great way for people to recognise their own drink if they’ve put their glass down to dance.
Create a good playlist. No party is complete without a great soundtrack, so make sure everyone’s in the mood with some of their favourite tunes.
Top tip: Start with familiar tracks from the teenage years of your guests. That will instantly break the ice and get everyone up for a dance.
Portrait photographer: Rory Gardiner