Ready-to-drink canned cocktails
While most mass-produced canned cocktails taste awful, a growing number of local distilleries are making delicious ready-to-drink beverages with natural flavours and top-notch spirits. Collect a selection of faves like the Cherry Gin Collins from Eau Claire Distillery, the Gin-arita from Last Best and the Cuba Libre from Romero Distilling, along with non-alcoholic options like Confluence Distilling’s zero-proof gin and tonic, and the sparkling alcohol-free botanical negroni from Wild Folk. Throw everything in a bucket of ice and invite guests to serve themselves throughout the night.
Concentrates and ready-to-pour cocktails
For just a touch of razzle-dazzle, invest in bottles of premixed cocktails or cocktail syrups for a shaken (or stirred) experience requiring very few mixology skills. Many of the local distilleries like Eau Claire, Bridgeland, Confluence and Burwood offer variations of manhattans, negronis, espresso martinis and the bee’s knees that come alive with a quick shake over ice. Locally produced concentrates like Mighty Pine Mixers (available in flavours like peach cobbler and blueberry basil) and Porter’s Tonic can easily be mixed up with any guest’s regular or zero-proof spirit of choice.
Pack some punch
Invest in a vintage punch bowl, dump in a bottle of ginger ale and some frozen juices or pink lemonade, add your choice of gin, rum or Champagne, and you’ve got yourself a very easy pre-mixed cocktail, sized to serve a crowd. It’s a good idea to offer a boozy option as well as a non-alcoholic punch for kids and non-drinkers — just be sure to label each carefully to avoid unfortunate misunderstandings.