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Host an At-Home Happy Hour

We love happy hour. We love drink specials. And we love that it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere. But after a while, the bar tab really puts a dent in our budget and the packed atmosphere makes it hard to hold a conversation.

Instead of heading down the street to the local pub (again), gather up your friends or the work crew and head over to your place. Make sure to include these tips, drinks and snacks to transform your home into a Cheers away from Cheers.

And don’t feel ashamed to ask your guests to pitch in on drinks and food when you need help – it’s their happy hour, too!


Have a Variety of Alcohol

Although we are total advocates for having a fully-stocked bar at all times, there’s no need to spend your weekly paycheck at the liquor store. Try to keep in mind what your friends like to drink during a normal happy hour. If guests tend to drink one certain type of liquor, then have a fifth of that on hand. Otherwise, a few airplane bottles of different types of liquors should suffice. Depending on how many people are coming, have at least one bottle of red wine, one bottle of white wine and a 12-pack of beer should be enough. Try finding a beer store that offers mix-and-match packs – you can gather a variety without needing to buy several different cases.

Try our Picante Shandy Cocktail for the beer drinkers, and our Mount Gay Rum and Tonic for the liquor sippers to really impress your guests -- they're both totally easy crowd pleasers!


Don’t Forget Mixers

Keep some soda on hand for the non-drinkers, but also don’t forget about the mixers for the liquor drinkers. Club soda, tonic water, ginger ale, Coke and 7-Up are all common mixers for hard liquor. Make sure to also have some maraschino cherries and fresh fruit, especially lemons, limes and grapefruit, for flavor and garnish.


Serve Some Bar-Worthy Snacks

The plus-side of hosting a happy hour at home is the ability to serve homemade food, but don’t feel the need to spend hours in the kitchen. Ditch the standard pretzels and peanuts, and whip up our quick Healthy Chickpea Dip and Zesty Italian Dip to eat with pita chips and veggies. Pop some Individual Pita Pizzas in the oven for some delicious and cheesy apps. You can even assemble the pizzas the night before, save in the fridge and bake the evening of for some no-fuss finger food.


Set the Mood With Décor

If you’re worried there won’t be enough seats or space for everyone, pull out some folding chairs and floor cushions just in case. To really set the mood, have some fun with a framed chalkboard (use our DIY Chalkboard Party Sign if you want to make your own) to detail the “drink specials." Light some candles, and incorporate some string lights to set the mood. For a few bucks, buy some fresh cut flowers from a nearby stand to really add to the ambiance.


Be Your Own Jukebox

No happy hour is complete without the right tunes. Make a playlist beforehand, and include a mix of your current favorite hits and some classics. Keep in mind what you like listening to at the bar – "Sweet Caroline" anyone? – and mix in some of your favorite songs that don’t normally get much airtime. 


Include Supplies for Drinking Games

Another perk of hosting your own cocktail hour is having free reign of your space. Since there’s plenty of room for drinking games, have a deck of cards, some pieces of paper and pens and a few quarters on hand. Take a look at our list of drinking games for inspiration, and don’t worry about getting too loud – it’s your place, after all!

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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Exotic Cocktail Recipe Video Link to video gallery. Upgrade your spring sips with this cocktail tutorial. »

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