How to throw a New Year’s Eve cocktail party

19 Nov 2021

Alcohol Celebrations

Start the year as you mean to go on! Here’s how to throw a New Year’s Eve cocktail party to remember

Wondering how to throw a fabulous New Year’s Eve cocktail party? As the only chocolatier to run two bars — one in our tropical home of Saint Lucia and one overlooking the bustling Borough Market in London — we’d like to think we know a thing or two about cocktails.

From espresso martinis (with a twist) to creamy cacao liqueurs, we’re pros at whipping up cocktails that are flavoursome and long, strong and short, and everything in-between. Not to toot our own horn, but we’ve also conjured up a range of cacao-infused tipples. So, whether you’re looking for event planning advice, cocktail recipes, or spirit recommendations, you’re in safe hands.

Three, two, one… let’s get into it!

A New Year's Eve cocktail toast

Choose a party theme

All the best parties have some sort of theme. Even if it’s just a vague dress code or colour scheme, your guests will appreciate knowing what to wear, what to bring, and what to expect from the event. If you want to keep things simple, something as easy as ‘fun and festive’ or ‘classy cocktails’ will be a hit with your friends.

A theme will help you choose your decorations and cocktail recipes — which can be difficult when you have endless options. Notify guests about what you’ve chosen in your invitations (or text invites — it is nearly 2022, after all!)

Set the scene

A cocktail party calls for a bar. Whether you’ll be whipping up your boozy creations in your kitchen or setting up your own minibar, make sure you’re fully stocked for a night of fun. 

Grab all the alcohol you’ll need (plus mixers and garnishes), ensure you have plenty of ice in the freezer, and polish up your best drinks glasses. Arrange your spirit and liqueur bottles on your table to emulate the cocktail bar experience and cut some lemon and lime slices so they’re ready to use.

Have some cocktail recipes ready

If you’re hosting the cocktail party, chances are you’re going to be the bartender! How can you prepare for the event? Get your mixology skills up to scratch over the Christmas period. Purchase a cocktail shaker and muddler, then try out different cocktail recipes and ask your family for constructive feedback. You’ll be able to tweak your drinks repertoire ahead of New Year’s Eve. Trust us, you’ll ooze confidence in your creations when it comes to the big day.

Fancy hearing a few of our favourite cocktail recipes? These are our tried and tested crowd-pleasers…

New Year's Eve cocktails

Cacao Gin Martini

A cacao spin on a classic gin martini — fresh and citrusy with a malty edge.

Ingredients:

  • 50ml Cacao Gin
  • 25ml Orange Curacao
  • 3 dashes Cocoa Bitters
  • A few ice cubes

Method:

Add the gin, orange curacao, cocoa bitters, and ice to your cocktail shaker. Give it a shake, then pour your cocktail through a strainer into a freshly cleaned martini glass. If you want to garnish your martini, grate some orange zest into a swirl and add it to the drink.

Our Cacao Gin is made from London gin infused with cacao for a malty, toasted edge. With five botanicals, including macadamia, juniper, coriander, orange, and grapefruit, you’ll adore its fragrant taste and uplifting finish. It’s the perfect foundation for our Cacao Gin Martini — it even won the bronze medal at the World Gin Awards 2019 and three stars in the 2014 Great Taste Awards.

Cacao Espresso Martini

Cacao brings an extra layer of rich, malty notes to the infamous espresso martini. A great option for a sophisticated New Year’s Eve cocktail party.

Ingredients:

Method:

Add the vodka, espresso cream, shot of espresso, and ice to your cocktail shaker. Shake well until frothy, then strain into your martini glass. Make sure you use a strainer — this helps to create the creamy froth. Garnish with a few whole coffee beans — heavenly!

Chocolate espresso martini recipe

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cream

A velvety treat blending sweet dulce de leche flavours with creamy cacao.

Ingredients:

Method:

Add the chocolate cream, liqueur, vodka, orange zest, and ice to your cocktail shaker. Shake gently — but not so much that you make your mixture frothy. Strain the contents into your glass of choice. To garnish, either pre-dip the rim of your glass into melted chocolate and crushed biscuit, or sprinkle a few flecks of edible gold leaf over your cocktail. This will create a wonderfully festive aesthetic.

See our Rabot restaurant drinks menu for more inspiration, or take a peek at our other blog posts on making velvetised cacao cocktails or the history of cocktails.

A delicious chocolate cocktail

Cause a stir with a New Year’s Eve cocktail competition

The best party activities get everyone involved, so ensure all your guests feel welcome to have a go at creating their own cocktails. Small touches will help to create an atmosphere of inclusivity. Print out some drink recipes to give people guidance on what they can create with your ingredients. 

Another fun idea is to schedule a New Year’s Eve cocktail-making competition (something along the lines of The Great British Bake Off — but with fabulously inventive cocktails). Even if drinks go flying, it’s these chaotic moments that make a night memorable!

Send your guests home with a gift

After you’ve thrown such a splendid cocktail party, your guests will be dying to know your mixology secrets. If you’ve been treating them to a few of our tipples over the course of the evening, send them on their way with a small dose of Hotel Chocolat. You’ll find three generous sample bottles in our Gin and Liqueurs Collection, so why not buy enough packs to surprise each of your guests with one mini bottle each?

They’ll be able to choose between our Cacao Gin, Cherry and Raspberry Gin Liqueur, and Mango and Passionfruit Gin Liqueur. If they’ve sampled our larger bottles throughout the night, they can choose their favourite!

From everyone at Hotel Chocolat, happy New Year! We hope you have a wonderful party and fall head over heels in love with your cocktail creations.