Shaken Not Stirred—Poker Night Cocktails
SHAKEN NOT STIRRED—POKER NIGHT COCKTAILS
Poker nights can take a lot of hard work to plan and implement. Aside from organizing a bunch of people with different schedules and work hours, a challenging prospect at the best of times, there is also the food and drinks.
Beer and wine are the most accessible options; both can be purchased in larger quantities relatively cheaply, but if you're looking to take your event up a notch and make it feel like a high roller game at the casino, cocktails are the way to go. Don't overdo it though; whatever you decide to have at the event, drink responsibly and don’t drive afterwards.
Before you buy any ingredients to mix cocktails, you need to plan and think about what kind of alcoholic beverages you want to make. Some key considerations before you start might be:
If you have never made cocktails before, mixing up a batch of margaritas in a mixer might seem like an impossible task, especially if you don't own a mixer. Keep it simple and look for cocktail recipes you can realistically create and prepare.
If you want to play the games as well, you might not have time to constantly be getting up to mix drinks for everyone at the table. A solution could be to pre-make a punch in a large bowl and leave it out so people can self-serve. A punch is the easiest and sometimes cheapest way to provide enough drinks for a large group of people with minimal effort on your part.
Not everyone likes to drink alcohol, so it's a good idea to have some alternatives available. Water, soft drink or juice are good options, but if you want everyone to enjoy a fancy drink during the night, there's a wide selection of mocktail recipes.
Food helps soak up the alcohol and slows its absorption into the body, allowing people to enjoy a drink without worrying about getting intoxicated. It’s a good idea.
Try to allow at least three glasses per person. Regardless of how careful you are, there will be spills, breakage or some other mishap that you can't prepare for. Keeping a good supply of extra glasses will help the night to run smoothly. Plastic cups could be an easy alternative; they can be bought relatively cheaply and in large quantities. Little cocktail umbrellas might also be necessary, if you want to be all extra fancy pants.
DECIDE WHO IS PAYING
If you regularly host a poker or games night, paying for all the food and drinks yourself can get very expensive. Unless you have an excellent job with lots of disposable income, paying for everything yourself is probably not realistic. A good option could be to ask everyone who wants cocktails to contribute to covering the costs.
Alternatively, you can take some money out of the pot, albeit after asking permission, or you could put a stipulation into the game that whoever wins picks up the tab. Whatever you decide, make sure everyone is clear on what's happening; there is nothing worse than coming along to a poker night and unexpectedly being told you owe someone for drinks and need to pay immediately.
ALCOHOL & MIXERS
After sorting out who will be footing the bill and what kind of drinks you will be making, the next step will be buying ingredients. You don't want to overdo it; cocktails are fun, but they can also get people drunk quickly. You also don’t want the drinks or related activities to detract from the main point of the evening—to play poker and have fun! As a guide, count on your guests having three to five drinks every six hours.
Realistically, you don't want people to drink more. Problems arise, from petty squabbles over cards and hands, all the way through to waking up in Denver with a tattoo of you know what you know where. Do yourself a favor and don't provide too much alcohol; it's not worth the headaches. Or tattoos.
As the host with the most, you should ask your guests if they are allergic to any food or drinks, to avoid potential problems later. Create a group on a social media platform where you can have the details of the game, start time, finish time, the rules, what game you are playing and ask for people to list any allergies to food or drinks they might have.
BRING YOUR OWN (BYO)
Ask everyone to bring their own cocktail ingredients or drinks, which completely removes the burden from you. Create a list of drinks or cocktail ingredients in the social media group and ask players to bring them.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
“You’re a big man but you’re in bad shape. With me it’s a full-time job. Now behave yourself.” If you can afford it, you could hire a professional bartender to mix all the drinks. This will leave you free to enjoy the game and not have to worry about getting drinks for your guests. If you pay extra, they can usually bring all the required ingredients as well, removing another worry from your list of things to do.
Lastly, once you have made all the important decisions, you can think about getting a bit creative and making the event a themed night. There are many famous movies you can find inspiration from. For example, a James Bond night, ask everyone to wear a suit and tie to the game and serve Martinis. Alternatively, assign poker themed names to the drinks: a big blind Bloody Mary, a pocket kings Margarita. The only limit is your sense of fun and imagination.
COCKTAIL RECIPE IDEAS
Cocktails are versatile; there are thousands of recipes available online, and everyone seems to have their own spin on popular drinks. However, as such, it can be challenging to narrow down which ones might be right for you and your guests. To get you started on your search for a good cocktail or mocktail, here is a list of some popular tipples served in bars around the world.
Made with gin or vodka, vermouth and garnished with an olive. The Martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages thanks to the James Bond franchise. You’re welcome, world!
A mix of sugar, bitters and water with whiskey or bourbon. Garnished with an orange slice and a cocktail cherry.
Served shaken over ice, or frozen (with blended ice), a Margarita is usually made from tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and salt on the rim of the glass. Let the good times roll.
Made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters.
Generally served in a copper mug, a Moscow Mule is made with vodka, spicy ginger beer, lime juice and garnished with a slice of lime.
A traditional Cuban highball made from white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint. Break out the cohibas for the authentic experience.
Contains whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, and egg whites.
An Italian cocktail made from gin, vermouth, Campari and garnished with an orange peel. A traditionally made Negroni is stirred, not shaken. Like a reverse James Bond. Whatever.
A mixture of brandy, lemon and triple sec.
A drink straight out of the 1970s, a Painkiller is made from rum, pineapple, orange juice and coconut cream.
LONG ISLAND ICED TEA
A combination of vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec, gin and a splash of cola for color and taste. A classic.
A 1970s-era Puerto Rican blended drink made with white rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice.
Usually served in a tall glass, a Tequila Sunrise is a layered mix of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup.
DARK & STORMY
Sometimes simple is best. A Dark & Stormy is a mixture of rum and ginger beer.
A mix of tomato juice, vodka, spices and celery on the side.
Another simple drink, a Daiquiri is made with white rum, lime juice and syrup.
MOCKTAIL RECIPE IDEAS
A blend of strawberries, sugar and shredded ice.
VIRGIN MINT LEMONADE
Made up of fresh lime juice with mint leaves and served with ice.
Described as the “perfect Thanksgiving drink,” a Pomegranate Spritzer is made from pomegranate, ginger, lemon and ice.
A non-alcoholic version of a Bloody Mary, a Virgin Mary is made from tomato juice, lemon juice and Worcester sauce.
Arguably the most straightforward drink on the list, an Apple Fizz is just a combination of apple juice and soda water.
Made from citrus juices, pineapple juice, grenadine and angostura bitters. Make it home from the ball with both shoes.
A traditional drink made from ginger ale and garnished with a maraschino cherry.
A quick, easy option that can be made in a large batch. A fruit punch is a mixture of different juices like orange, pineapple and lemon.
A Tequila Sunrise, minus the tequila. A mixture of orange and pineapple juice with a dash of orange bitters.
All these ideas are given to help inspire you to make your home game as much fun and entertaining as possible. This article is intended for entertainment only. It is not related to, nor a reflection of, Global Poker, its views, its products, content, or its games. Global Poker does not promote alcohol abuse. Please drink responsibly.