Whether you're entertaining 10, 20, or even 40 or more guests, preparing large quantities of delicious cocktail coolers will please everyone and help you relax a bit and enjoy your party.

Mix-ahead drinksSome people mix large quantities of these cocktail coolers in plastic storage containers or plastic coolers, which safety experts understandably frown on. However, you can mix coolers in large stockpots or punch bowls, and ladle the beverages into individual pitchers. Cover all containers and if possible, chill them in the refrigerator before guests arrive.

Keep drinks tastyDon't add ice to the serving bowl or pitcher. Pour coolers over ice in individual glasses. That way, you won't dilute the drinks before anyone has had a chance to enjoy them.

Pretty beverage serviceFor an attractive serve-yourself bar, put out beverage dispensers (shown at left), pitchers or bowls and ladles for different cocktails, along with a large tray or platter of beautifully arranged fruit garnishes, such as pineapple wedges, peach, lemon, lime or orange slices, and fresh ripe strawberries. Colored glasses and straws will add just the right festive touch. Try these affordable, eco-friendly party cups. 

Here are a number of fabulous hot weather cocktail crowd-pleasers. They're simple to make, but elegant enough to add flair to any casual outdoor affair.

Note: We've figured the recipes for 40 servings—plenty for a crowd. Also, of course, be sure to have plenty of water, soda, and lots of other non-alcoholic beverages on hand.

TROPICAL ICED TEA

Makes 40 servings

2 64-oz. containers unsweetened iced tea
2 64-oz. containers orange juice
1-1/3 750-ml. bottles coconut rum
3/4 cup honey

Garnish with slices of orange, lemon, or both.

WHITE SANGRIA

Makes 40 servings

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 750-ml. bottles Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chablis.

Slice assorted fresh fruit: oranges, lemons, pineapple, peaches, and whole strawberries or raspberries.

Combine sugar and water. Simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Pour the hot syrup over fruit and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, put the fruit mixture into serving container and add chilled white wine.

 


SUMMER COOLER

Makes 40 servings

2-2/3 750-ml. bottles raspberry vodka
1-1/2 two-liter bottles lemon-lime soda
2 46-oz. cans pineapple juice
4 cups fresh mint

Garnish with lime slices or fresh raspberries.

PEACH BLISS

Makes 40 servings

2-2/3 750-ml. bottles light or dark rum
2-2/3 750-ml. bottles peach schnapps
2 64-oz. bottles cranberry juice
1 liter bottle club soda

CITRUS TWIST

Makes 40 servings

1-1/3 750-ml. bottles dark tequila
1-1/3 750-ml. bottles dark rum
1 46-oz. can grapefruit juice
2 46-oz. cans pineapple juice