The secrets to a successful holiday cocktail party are revealed in this easy how to!

Cocktail Party-7

Today we’re talking about two of my favorite things: cocktails and cameras.

First, cocktails. Throwing a cocktail party gets people in the mood for the holidays like no other. Making drinks with sugared cranberries, persimmons, spiked cider, and eggnog… what could be more festive?

I think the hardest part of throwing a cocktail party is figuring out what to make. The key is to make killer cocktails using minimal ingredients that will satisfy a crowd.

The best way to do this is to choose a light liquor cocktail, a dark liquor cocktail, and a bubbly cocktail (because everyone likes bubbly). Beyond that, it’s figuring out the best ways to create a dynamic set of cocktails that will balance each other. Below I’ve outlined the basic necessities for a stellar cocktail party. Read on, party people!

The secrets to a successful holiday cocktail party are revealed in this easy how to!

The essentials:

-Good bar glasses. You’re going to want a combination of champagne flutes, rocks glasses, and hurricane glasses
A large glass pitcher. This will come in handy for your spiked cider
A carafe. Perfect for that Eggnog White Russian you’re about to drink
-Holiday-themed napkins! (Ones similar to those in pictures found here)

The booze:

-A light liquor (vodka, gin, or light rum)
-A dark liquor (bourbon or whiskey)
-Some bubbly

And the mixers:

-Cinnamon sticks
-Apple cider
-Mulling spices
-Assorted winter fruits (I used apples, persimmons, pomegranates, and grapes)
-St. Germain (the most delicious elderflower liqueur. Oh yes.)
-Sugared cranberries (recipe below!)

Boom. Done.

Bourbon Spiked Cider with Winter Fruits

The three cocktails I’ve chosen range in both liquor type and flavor profiles. We have a fruity Bourbon Spiked Apple Cider, a floral Elderflower Champagne Cocktail, and a rich Eggnog White Russian. Talk about a party!

Now onto cameras. Because so much of my life and career is in the visual realm, having a great camera is of paramount importance. But photographing my day to day life, I struggle to find a happy medium between using my smartphone and breaking out my huge DSLR. I feel like I’m either sacrificing quality or portability constantly.

Eggnog White Russian

So when I got the opportunity to work with Olympus on this post, I jumped for joy. Their new camera, the PEN E-PL7, is a lightweight point-and-shoot camera with a mirrorless lens. In non-photography-speak, this means it’s a small handheld camera of fantastic quality.

Even with all the photo apps out there, my smartphone doesn’t cut it.The PEN E-PL7 is easy to travel with, and provides much higher quality images than my smartphone does. Built in wifi lets me connect to my smartphone easily so posting on social media is a jiff.

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail with Sugared Cranberries

It was a welcomed addition to this cocktail party, as I was able to shoot with ease without loosing quality. Just look at the two images below for comparison. The left is shot with the PEN E-PL7, and the right is shot on my smartphone.

Cocktail Party IMG_6545

I can’t wait to take this camera with me on my upcoming travel guides, too. Instead of lugging my huge DSLR around foreign cities, I now have a perfect handheld camera to capture my travels.

Last, the PEN E-PL7 takes awesome videos! I was able to shoot this in a matter of minutes, then pieced it together on my computer. Get ready, friends; videos may be my new thing šŸ™‚


How To Host a Holiday Cocktail Party



For the Bourbon Spiked Cider with Winter Fruits

  • 1 red apple, sliced thin
  • 1 persimmon, sliced thin
  • seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1 cup red grapes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 48 ounces (6 cups) apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons mulling spices
  • 1 1/2 cups bourbon

For the Eggnog White Russian

  • 32 ounces (4 cups) eggnog
  • 1 cup vodka, or 1/2 cup vodka and 1/2 cup coffee liqueur
  • cinnamon sticks (1 per glass)
  • ground cinnamon, for garnish

For the Elderflower Champagne Cocktail with Sugared Cranberries

  • 1 bottle dry champagne
  • 8 ounces St. Germain
  • 1 cup sugared cranberries (recipe below)

For the sugared cranberries

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar


For the Bourbon Spiked Cider with Winter Fruits

  1. Slice the apple and persimmon on a mandolin, picking out seeds as you get to the core of the fruit. Place in a large pitcher along with pomegranate and sliced grapes. Stir in apple cider, mulling spices, and bourbon. Serve over ice.

For the Eggnog White Russian

  1. In a large carafe, combine eggnog, vodka, and coffee liqueur (if using). Stir. Pour into glasses fitted with cinnamon sticks, and top with powdered cinnamon.

For the Elderflower Champagne Cocktail with Sugared Cranberries

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and toss in cranberries. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, toss cranberries in remaining 1 cup of sugar, then place on a large plate and freeze until ready to serve.
  2. To make the Elderflower Champagne Cocktail, combine 4 ounces of champagne with 2 ounces of St. Germain. Top with frozen sugared cranberries.

All photos (except for smartphone comparison) shot on Olympus PEN E-PL7 with M.ZUIKO 14 – 42mm II R Black Lens.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Gaby Dalkin

Sarah, these are lovely! Making me excited to get the holiday parties on!

Sarah | Broma Bakery

Thank you Gaby! It was so fun to create a more lifestyle-themed post. So happy you enjoyed it šŸ™‚

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