Making cocktails for a large group of people can be vexing. Do you make a big batch beforehand, and risk wasting booze? Do you play bartender all night, mixing up individual drinks and potentially missing out on the fun? I suggest you do neither, and instead turn your guests into amateur bartenders with recipe cards. Photo by Claire Lower.
All you have to do is a pick a cocktail (or cocktails), buy the ingredients for your libation of choice and print out a few recipe cards to hang out at the cocktail station. Set up your station with the required booze, mixers, garnishes and glassware, and let your guests go to town playing mixologist. Not only does this cut down on waste and free you up for mingling, but your guests get to expand their cocktail knowledge, and cocktail knowledge is cocktail power.
You also don't have to limit yourself to one cocktail recipe; you can pick a theme. I once hosted a cocktail party in this fashion, and all of the recipes came from the Hemingway-inspired cocktail book To Have and Have Another. One of the "recipes" was just pouring gin into a coconut, and it was very effective.