Once commonplace in the North American social landscape, the cocktail parties penchant for mixing a diverse group of people in a relatively casual atmosphere has, sadly, fallen into disfavor as Miamians increasingly head to bars and clubs to provide all the hospitality with none of the onerous clean up. But while Miami is gifted with an almost endless array of debaucherous dives and classy cantinas, we can’t help but feel that something is lost in such an impersonal environment.
Intent that, more than campaign finance reform or a shuffling of supreme court justices, a few proper cocktail parties would sort out our nation’s increasing divisiveness, we’ve gathered a few easy-to-follow rules for creating your own mixer. A simple, safe rule for throwing your own cocktail party: There’s no such thing as too much ice, food or mixer, and nothing worse than a drink that benefits from a couple of cubes standing simply lukewarm in the glass or a room full of liquor drinkers with nothing else in their stomachs. As such, you must aim for each guest to have 1-2 drinks an hour, and then go ahead and stock a little more mixers, ice cubes and hors d’oeuvres than you would normally assume. No party in Miami is complete without the semi-random passerby becoming completely inculcated in the festivities, and one never knows when an inquisitive father-in-law will see a smattering of cars in the driveway and decide now is the perfect time for an impromptu visit.
Another important rule occasionally overlooked: Get the furniture out of the way! With the exception of perhaps a couple of seats for the differently abled or elderly, the point of a mixer is, well, to mix, and that’s impossible when people park themselves onto deep and comfy couches. Not only contributing to a higher potential for synergy, such a setup also ensures your precious furniture will remain spill-free throughout the proceedings.
Which leads to the next rule: Always prepare for clean-up. A couple of small wastebaskets spread across the room ensure that no one is left awkwardly with a shishkebab skewer or olive pit for the whole evening, and easy-to-reach cleaners and paper towels located behind the bar ensure that, should anyone have an oooopsies, the remedy will be swift and effective. A quick and hysteria-free response will signal not only that the host has everything under control, but that you should have an overflowing guest list for many soirees to come.
Another once-standby faded into obscurity, there’s perhaps no drink that better suits South Florida’s tropical climate than rum punch, and no better signature sip for a cocktail party than a delicious beverage guests can serve themselves. Originally developed in India with a name derived for the sanskrit word for “five”, this 5-ingredient mixture of fruit juices and liquors made big waves among Colonial administrators and eventually found its way to our continent. Easy to make, a well-mixed rum punch should contain 1 part dark rum, 1 part coconut rum, 1 part pineapple juice, 1 part orange juice and a healthful splash of grenadine. Outfit with a couple of lime wedges or orange slice garnishes and you have a drink sure to make sure you’re the talk of the town for many parties to come!