This is a How-To Plan a Gin Party at Home guide 🙂
Quick Backstory: I planned a surprise Speakeasy Gin Party for Jen’s 25th Birthday Party earlier this month. We live in Bangkok, Thailand, so it was a house party with just close friends and workmates. Everything a complete surprise (with fake decoy) up until he walked in the door… (If someone had told me a surprise party was this much hard work before I started. I’m not so sure I would have gone along with it)
Pre-warning … I didn’t get a lot of great photos. The photos are quite blurry.. a little like the night 😉 I guess after the surprise part was done, the drinks went down a little too quick. It was a great night, and I still wanted to share with you everything from concept to education, so maybe it can help you plan your own Gin Party!
We love Gin & Tonics. I wanted something impressive. I ran through a whole list of ideas in my head
- Gin Party at a great cocktail bar in Bangkok, ie Teens of Thailand (not special enough)
- Coming up with a Gin Cocktail Menu at Home with printed cards (could be fun)
- Special cocktail created just for Jens at one of our favourite bars (would that be enough)
Until I combined all the ideas into one.
Private bartender at home.
Special Gin Cocktails for the night.
The end result? The Southeast Asia Bartender of the Year 2016 to bartend in our house and come up with 5 special Gin Cocktails based around Jens favourite flavours, along with a special tasting board to complement the gins – made by me!
Now we had the idea – I had to execute it.
Coordinating with the Bartender
Sourcing the food.. And hiding it all.. check!
The end result
Go with a theme for your party! It gets everyone festive, and creates a bit more fun to plan your food, drink and decorations around. Especially if you’re doing it at home, for a special event it helps distinguish things from a normal dinner party.
I chose Speakeasy – Gin fits right into the Prohibition time and Jens loves getting dressed up in smart clothes. So it was perfect. Our guests on the night wore hats, smart shirts, suspenders and bow-ties. It was a slice of Great Gatsby in our living room.
The Gin Bar in action
Planning the Cocktail Menu
I was lucky enough to work with our Bartender to create a menu. We discussed things like
- Theme for the party? Your cocktails can match your theme
- Flavours we were going for – In Jens case, I specified flavours like Rosemary and elderflower that I know he enjoys
- Spirits – any types of gins that you enjoy, do you already have some at home? Types of botanicals?
- Glasses – Do you need special types of glasses?
- Easy Drinking – What’s the aim of your night, do you want things that are easy to drink? Since we were a medium sized group of, I requested one that was easy to drink and the rest to bring us on a discovery of Gin.
We ended up with five different Gin Cocktails each featuring a different type of Gin. If you’re doing this with a group I suggest getting each person to bring a Gin. You can pick some Premium Gins and spread the cost around!
Planning the Food Menu
Much like cheese and wine, spirits and food can be exciting to mix and match. That’s one of the things we love about Gin – all the botanicals, mixing them with different combinations, tonics and brands.
There’s a certain subtlety in the art of food and drink that is really enjoyed by the Food Obsessed!
The spread for the night
Salami Balls, Artichokes, Pate, Smoked Duck Breast.. and more mmmm
Goats cheese and soft cheeses go perfectly with gin!
You can’t have a birthday.. without a birthday cake! Spot the Unicorn candle 😉
How I went about choosing Food for the night
As it was a party, I went for cold cuts and cheese. We’d had previous gatherings at our house where I prepared tapas – but pulling all that cooking and decorating off with a 2 hour timeframe of getting Jens out of the house. No thanks, was not about to attempt that!
Of course if it isn’t a surprise party, this part might be a little more fun for you to put together as you’ll have more time to prepare and cook things before the party. I had to put all the decorations, help the bartender, set the area up, get dressed and get the guests ready.. in two hours. Cooking.. was not on the table.
- I started by creating a list of the different standout botanicals in the Gin’s used, for example if there were strong notes of Apple. I’d write that down
- Then I created a list of possible meats and cheeses I wanted to order, ie one hard, two soft. Anything extras, like breads, nuts and fruits.
- Then the pairing! Working on a doc I started to google and match different botanicals with flavours that could work well. Then cross matched with online stores and types of products.
It took a good few hours. Plus we live in Thailand and not Europe where cheese and meats and plentiful and easy to obtain. I went all through online suppliers so I could get everything delivered to home from specialist stores.
You can view the result in our Gin Pairing Menu in the link below!
Let me know in the comments below if you end up hosting your own Gin Party!