The festive season is a time to party, be it the Christmas office party or your New Year’s Eve celebration. Hors d’oeuvres or full meals are optional, but festive holiday cocktails will definitely be served at any party worth the name. At this time of year, lots of party hosts are eager to learn from experts how to do a cocktail class and explore cocktail ideas guaranteed to delight their guests.

Cocktail-making classes or workshops are the perfect solution – they give you a chance to feature favourite traditional festive cocktails alongside the best winter holiday drinks that are trending this year. But with so many events already crowding a busy time of year, it’s important to think about how to host a cocktail making class that stands out and attracts the big audience you know is out there?

First of all, make sure your class is available to as many people as possible. Add a streaming element to make it a virtual cocktail class, and you’ll open your doors to an online audience. Since it’s easy to follow along and make beverages at home, an online cocktail class works well in a hybrid event (remember to share the list of ingredients with online attendees), and that alone can help increase ticket sales. For a more competitive consumer base, it’s worth looking into how to host a cocktail competition. Another smart idea is to include non-alcoholic drinks – with a growing population of teetotalers, why decrease your potential audience? After all, eggnog can be made with or without brandy, and it’s delicious either way!

To make sure your class has the best and brightest festive cocktail ideas, let’s check out some recommendations on how to throw a holiday cocktail party from top mixologist workshop creators.

1. Get the festive cocktail class word out early

In a crowded social calendar, the early word gets the worm, so to speak. The sooner you can let people know about your event, the greater the chance they won’t already have other commitments. “We started marketing our holiday cocktail classes earlier than usual,” says Laura Johnson, the founder and CEO of US-based You & Yours Distilling Co. Wait too long, and your potential ticket buyers might already be committed to a performance of “The Nutcracker Suite,” a night of carolling, or a showing of the Christmas movie classic, “Die Hard.”

Eventbrite Boost offers event creators a full array of promotion and marketing tools that makes spreading the word about your event easy, especially across social media like Facebook and Instagram. Not only that, but with the data and metrics Eventbrite Boost can provide, you’ll also be able to study exactly what advertising worked and where your campaigns can be improved.

For Johnson, early marketing efforts weren’t just about letting people know of the event before their competition did the same. Instead, by getting advertising and promotion efforts underway early, Johnson notes, “guests could purchase multiple tickets for a fun group holiday outing.” A holiday-themed class that’s entertaining and informative can work well as an office team-building experience or a family-reunion occasion, so make sure to give team leaders and Uncle Bob time to get organised!

Marketing early also helps in another way – by giving people enough opportunity to purchase tickets ahead of time for gifts. Remember that gifts aren’t just given on Christmas morning. Whether it‘s a New Year’s Eve surprise or a Burns Night treat, a cocktail class can make a unique gift.

2. Set up your festive cocktail kit beforehand

As in many areas of life, it’s best to be prepared. If you’ve ever watched a TV cooking show, you’ll notice Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver always have their ingredients measured out and ready to go. The same goes for cocktails, and especially for festive ones that can include surprise ingredients, which you might not have to hand. Share ingredients and instructions with virtual attendees in plenty of time ahead of the session so they can make sure they are ready.

“Portion out each item in different taster glasses,” advises Tori Zamrik, marketing and event coordinator for craft brewery business Taft’s Brewing Company. That way, “all that’s left to do is mixing everything together.” No one necessarily needs to see you measure out some crème de menthe, so simply set up your ingredients before your class starts, and set everything close by so it’s easy to grab them when they’re needed. Just be sure you’ve labelled your ingredients – you won’t want to mistake a measure of gin for a splash of water!

Zamrik also suggests that drink recipes including several ingredients make for a better and more exciting class experience than simpler drinks. “The more that people can shake in a shaker glass, the better,” she notes.

3. How to host a cocktail making class that’s more than just cocktail menu ideas

To make your cocktail class one that people remember, be sure it’s more than a simple rundown of a recipe list. Because the festive season is so rich in colourful traditions, it’s a wonderful opportunity for your event to stand out. Festive-themed gifts for your guests like mulled wine, tree decorations or cocoa-making kits provide a memorable finishing touch. And for your virtual attendees, choose gifts and cocktail-making kits that can be sent to their homes prior to the event.

But Christmas is, of course, about more than just gift-giving. No Christmas party would be complete without a few cheesy Christmas classics and even some carolling. In fact, the classic Christmas carol “Here We Come A-Carolling” is about going carolling and drinking wassail – a centuries-old recipe of hot mulled cider and spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Including some singing in your Christmas cocktail class is a given.

No matter what festive element you end up adding, the key is to go beyond just a list of cocktail ingredients. Of course, you don’t want to omit the recipes themselves, but you can also do what Taft’s Brewing Company’s Zamrik does: “We give out recipe cards for guests to take with them so they can recreate them at home.” And because Eventbrite makes it easy to email all your guests, you can even send out recipes electronically once the class is finished.

Whether it’s a set of recipes or a scented candle, leaving your guests with a “takeaway” gives them something to remember you by. You can make your cocktail class truly memorable with a festive gift.

4. The best Christmas holiday cocktails class gets everyone involved

To impress your cocktail class attendees, make sure they’re not simply standing around watching you make drinks. Get them involved. That’s the advice of Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, author of “Gin: A Global History” and “The 12 Bottle Bar.” “They need to enjoy the party, too,” she reminds us. To really enjoy the party, people need to roll up their sleeves and get creative.

“One way to do this is to set up a DIY cocktail station where guests can customise their drink.” A gin and tonic bar, for example, can “offer various choices of gin, tonic water styles, citrus, herbs, and fruits for garnishes. An Old Fashioned bar might include a few types of whiskey, various types of sugar cubes, and a selection of bitters.”

As with the festive gifts, special ingredients can be purchased and sent to virtual guests beforehand – even more reason to get your promotion efforts underway early. For online cocktail class attendees, Solmonson suggests another way to get them involved: “Assign them ingredients for them to bring.” Even better, this reduces the number of items you’ll need to prepare ahead of time (though, of course, it’s always a good idea to bring backup ingredients!).

5. Keep your festive cocktails simple

While your Christmas cocktail class can attract those who might already know the difference between an aperitif and a digestif, you’ll also attract less-informed people who may not have the background knowledge you might think of as common. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests with obscure ingredients that tend to be more expensive.

Asking someone to buy various spirits and then asking them to use a 1/4 teaspoon in a drink lacks logic. Go with classic recipes that can be easily reproduced. And if you’re designing a class with several different recipes, try to include ingredients that overlap.

Put your guests in high spirits by learning how to host a cocktail making class

Ultimately, people want to have fun during the holidays, and if your event makes them smile or laugh, chances are they will remember you when they’re looking for their next event to go to. Add colourful decorations, turn on some seasonal music, and most importantly, put a smile on your face. The fact is, when you’re having a good time, attendees will be, too.

Whether you’re making Christmas cocktails, experimenting with New Year cocktail ideas, or trying out mobile cocktail-making classes, planning, organising, administering, and then actually hosting it all can be a drain on your enthusiasm.

The good news is that when you put Eventbrite’s tools to use, the enjoyment comes easy. Find out how Eventbrite can help plan, market, and sell tickets to your class and put you in the holiday mood!

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