You may be wondering, “how can I make amazing drinks for my office?” Wonder no more! I’m going to let you in on a few of my secrets, so you can liven up your office happy hours.

To get it right, just start with the end result you’d like to achieve. Think about this:

  • What’s the weather like?
  • Which produce is in season?
  • What does your team like?

That can mean the difference between your coworkers feeling like they’re sipping a $12 agave margarita or a cheap and easy well drink at the local dive. With this in mind, work backwards.

Since you’ll probably be making drinks in bulk, you’ll want to stick to simple cocktail recipes. Think more of Sandra Lee’s three-ingredient Heirloom Sangria, not so much Jamie Oliver’s eight-ingredient Gin Fizz. Don’t get me wrong: I love a good gin fizz, but who has time for that? Look for recipes with just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients. I can’t tell you how irksome it can be hunting down something obscure like lavender simple syrup or rose water, especially if you only need a small amount. Stick with three or four ingredients at most, unless your mixologist game is strong.

With so few ingredients, each has to be high-quality. Let’s start with the liquor. If you use something that smells of nail polish and burns like rubbing alcohol, all the fresh juice in the world isn’t going to change that. You don’t have to go crazy top-shelf, but something decent in the middle price range is a must. If you’re using a neutral spirit like vodka, consider infusing it. It’s super easy and will increase your cocktail fanciness exponentially.

Because many seasonal recipes, especially in warmer months, call for fruit or juice, try sticking with things that are in season. Citrus and stone fruit are great in the summer, while apples and grapes are great in the fall.

While we’re on the subject, consider making your own juice! Though it’s time-consuming, your body will thank you when you don’t fill it with sugary store-bought juice. You can use a manual citrus press or a juicer, if you have one on hand. Also, don’t forget to strain any seeds or pits. You don’t want a choking hazard on your hands.

The simplest is punch. It is entirely idiot-proof and as easy as one-two-three. Here’s what you’ll need:

2 handles of vodka or blanco tequila (any quality will do)
1 two liter container of something sparkling (think something citrusy, like Fresca)
2 large containers of different kinds of juice (anything will work)

Combine all of your ingredients into a large bowl and stir. Provide a ladle for serving. Done.

Before you run to the store to get started, there are a couple things to consider.

  1. Be sure to taste while you’re concocting your cocktail. It would be a shame to serve something unpalatable after putting in all the effort to source and whip your ingredients together.
  2. Provide an appropriate accoutrement: something starchy to soak up some of the booze will work best. Dietary restrictions shouldn’t be neglected either. Some of your teammates may prefer to avoid liquor. Others might be gluten-free or allergic to sulfites, tragically excluding beer and wine. However, they should be able to indulge with everyone else all the same.
  3. Have a variety of beverage options in addition to your cocktail. Beer, cider, and wine are great places to start. Your happy hour should be inclusive of everyone.

This is intended as just an introduction. Don’t shy away from experimenting. There’s a wide world of interesting combinations. Remember that some of the most loved drinks started as fortunate accidents.

 

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