Throwing a Cocktail Party on a Budget

Cocktail parties are a great way to get your friends together, and throw a touch of class to the mix. All it takes is for people to dress up a little bit, have a few drinks, put some records on, and you could be throwing a party with an ambience that people will be talking about for months to come. The only downside to throwing a cocktail party is that some of the more complicated recipes require a walk-in liquor cabinet, just to store all of the ingredients. Throwing a great party shouldn’t break the bank however, so we’ve put together a list of five classic cocktails, to satisfy different tastes, but only requiring you to buy three types of alcohol – gin, whisk(e)y and vermouth.

Tom Collins

This is an easy to make, lively but delicate, drink dating back to the 1870s.

50ml Gin
25ml Lemon Juice
1tsp Sugar
Soda Water

Simply combine the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup well in a highball glass, and then top off with the soda water and garnish with a wedge of lemon to serve.


A cousin of the Tom Collins, the shorter Gimlet has a considerably more sour edge, and is named for the British Royal Naval surgeon Sir Thomas Gimlette.

50ml Gin
25ml Lime Juice
1tsp Sugar

Fill a mixing glass with ice, and pour in the sugar, gin and lime juice whilst stirring. Strain into a martini glass and serve with a twist of lemon peel.


One of the simplest mixed drinks, and perhaps the best well known. The Martini is a great way for accentuating the complex flavours of the gin, but may not be for the faint hearted as it packs quite a punch.

50ml Gin
10ml Vermouth

Stir the vermouth into the gin in a mixing glass filled with ice, stirring until the mixture becomes cold. Strain into a martini glass, and garnish with an olive. You can make the martini ‘dirty’ by adding a splash of olive brine to the mixture.

Old Fashioned

It is said that this drink deserves its name, as it is the world’s oldest cocktail. This is a perfect cocktail for anyone who prefers darker spirits, and more complex tastes.

50ml Whisk(e)y
1tsp Sugar

Orange Peel

Place a large piece of orange peel in a short glass, and add the sugar on top. Work the sugar into the peel, using the coarseness to break it down and release the oils and flavours. Add half the whisk(e)y and stir to dissolve all the sugar. Fill the glass with ice and add the rest of the bourbon, giving it a good stir. You can also add bitters, to taste.

Like everything in life, throwing any sort of party means one thing for certain: dishes. No matter how many dirty dishes life creates, let Finish take care of the washing up, so you can get back to what’s important. With Finish Shine and Protect, you can relax knowing that all your glasses – cocktail and otherwise – are being looked after with Finish glass protection.