Why a Drink Menu?:
- Guests are "forced" to step out of their drink barriers and maybe try something new.
- Drinks can be customized for the party's theme or occasion.
- The cost is significantly lower because you do not have to stock a full bar.
Whenever possible I prefer to create a simple drink menu because it can be tailored to any occasion and purpose; from a simple 3 Martini menu for a business open house to a beach party where the blender's whirling your choice of 4 Margaritas or a themed party where the color of the drinks and garnish make the difference. Your first decision in creating a drink menu is to choose an aspect that you want to focus on. There are literally thousands of cocktails available and no matter what drink theme you decide, there will surely be cocktails to fit.
Example 1: Martinis with Similar Mixers:
- Classic Martini - Gin, Dry Vermouth, Bitters, Olive
- Dry Manhattan - Whiskey, Dry Vermouth, Bitters, Cherry
- Tequini - Tequila, Dry Vermouth, Bitters, Lemon Twist
Stock sweet vermouth to turn any of these sweet or perfect. Vodka's another option but it doesn't add much flavor to the Martini so I like to leave it out.
Example 2: The Forgotten Classics:
Example 3: Taste of the Tropics:
Example 4: Keep the Blender Whirling:
Example 5: Warm It Up:
- Black Stripe - Dark Rum, Molasses or Honey, Hot Water
- Hot Toddy - Whiskey or Brandy, Hot Tea, Lemon, Honey
- Tom & Jerry - Brandy, Dark Rum, Egg, Hot Water, Sugar
Universal Garnishes: Lemon, Orange, Nutmeg, Cinnamon Stick, Clove
Example 6: Single Spirit:
This Scotch menu is well-balanced with just enough variety.
Example 7: Special Themes:
For an example, this is a Rocktini menu I created for a rock stacking party (too much fun, really). Drier, up drinks were requested by the hostess and I went with gemstone colored drinks and renamed them temporarily to fit the rock theme.
Final Drink Menu Thoughts:
I like to keep drink menus simple, somewhere around 3-4 drinks. Too many drinks can delay drink orders and some people will spend more time looking over the menu than they will socializing. Too few and you might not cater to different tastes.
Print a drink menu or two to sit on the bar. Make it easy to read and understand. If you rename a common drink to fit a theme, include the common name so that your guests can find the recipe later and make it at home if they wish. It's always a good idea to laminate or cover your menu with contact paper, anything to protect it from spills.
Be aware of other possible drinks out of your menu. For instance, if you're serving a rum cocktail and have cola on hand, a Rum and Coke is not out of the question.
Include a mocktail or non-alcoholic alternative for designated drivers and others who do not drink. Juice based mocktails such as the Beach Blanket Bingo also open the possibility of stirring up alcoholic drinks like a Sea Breeze.