6 Essential Cocktails for Entertaining 

August 14, 2019

When having an adult party, it is important to impress your guests with delectable drinks. But with so many great cocktails, it can be hard to know what to mix up! Not to worry, Bluegrass Beverages has you covered. We have some classic, crowd-pleasing beverage recipes that will leave your guests thinking you are a true mixologist.  

Lavender Gin and Tonic 

A twist of lavender tonic water makes this classic drink show-stopping. You can get lavender tonic water (and tons of other varieties) at your local liquor store. Spending a little extra money on a nicer gin makes all the difference. Bluegrass Beverages has many varieties of gins, so consider some brands like Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, Corsair, Tanqueray, or Bombay Sapphire in order to set the bar high. Remember tonic water tastes vastly different than club soda. Tonic has quinine, which pairs extremely well with gin’s juniper berry taste. Want to garnish your drink with something fancier than a lime wedge? Spice it up with a rosemary or marjoram sprig, which will go nicely with the lavender aroma of the tonic water. 


  • Ice (cube or sphere) 

  • 2 fluid ounces of gin 

  • 4 fluid ounces of aromatic lavender tonic water  

  • 1 wedge of freshly squeezed lime 

  • 1 lime wedge for garnish (or garnish of your choosing) 


Put the ice in a glass (this can be a tall, narrow cocktail glass or a whiskey cocktail glass), filling the ice almost to the top. Pour the gin, quinine water, and lime juice over the ice. Stir well with a cocktail spoon. Garnish and serve! 


Manhattan, Tennessee 

A Manhattan is traditionally a man’s cocktail, but it appeals to all. It’s dark and beautiful, and your guests will love sipping this liquid art while chatting away. A Manhattan is normally served in a martini glass, but a whiskey tumbler will do. Be sure to chill it first. Traditionally, a Manhattan uses Canadian whiskey because it rose to popularity during prohibition, but use a hometown Tennessee whiskey like Corsair, Belle Meade Bourbon, George Dickel, or the ever-present Jack Daniel’s. 


  • 2 fluid ounces of Tennessee whiskey, bourbon, or rye of your choice 

  • 1 fluid ounce of sweet vermouth 

  • 1 dash of orange bitters 

  • 1 brandied cherry for garnish 


Combine all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Stir or shake the drink until it is consistently cold. Strain the contents into the glass of your choosing and garnish with a brandied cherry. 


Nashville Margarita 

Margaritas can be one of the most overlooked cocktails. However, if you make a classic margarita, it can be life-changing. Do not use margarita mixes; there’s a reason why they have a bad rap. Like in our other recipes, if you use better liquors, your drink will be far superior. Check out blue agave tequilas such as Cein Anos, 1800 Silver, Jose Cuervo. If you get overwhelmed, just ask a Bluegrass Beverages associate for help. Another tip for wowing guests is to salt the rim. All you need to do is put some Rose’s Lime juice on a plate and sea salt on another plate. Put the rim of the glass in the juice, then dip it into the salt, and the salt will stay on the rim. Definite wow factor! 


  • 6 fluid ounces of tequila 

  • 4 fluid ounces of triple sec 

  • 3 fluid ounces of Rose’s Lime Juice 

  • 3 fluid ounces of lemon lime soda 


In a shaker glass, combine the ingredients over ice. Shake the contents and then strain into a tall glass that may or may not have a salted rim. Enjoy! 


Jalapeno Martini 

If you love some spice, this drink will be your favorite. Vodkas can be infused with just about anything. If your local liquor store does not have infused vodkas, all you have to do let some peppers sit in your vodka for a few days. As you’d expect, the higher the peppers-to-vodka ratio, the spicier your vodka will be. This drink has a spicy punch of jalapeno vodka, but cools down your mouth with pineapple juice. This is a crowd-pleaser. 


  • 4 fluid ounces of vodka 

  • 1 splash of sweet vermouth 

  • 3 fluid ounces of pineapple juice 

  • 1 jalapeno twist 


In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka and juice over some ice and shake, then set aside. In a chilled martini glass, splash some sweet vermouth in the glass and swirl it so the vermouth attaches to the sides of the glass. Pour in the strained contents of the shaker. Add a jalapeno twist and serve. 


Mules of the World 

If you want to consider the different tastes of your guests, you can always make the house drink Mules of the World. A mule is any liquor with a ginger beer. It is simple to make and delicious. Get the nicest ginger beer you can, like Fever Tree or a local artisanal brand. Then stock your bar with your favorite liquors such as Jameson, Jose Cuervo, or Grey Goose. You can’t go wrong with this one. 


  • 4 fluid ounces of liquor of choice 

  • 4 fluid ounces of ginger beer 

  • 1 lime wedge for a garnish 


In a chilled mug filled almost full with ice, pour the ingredients together, stir, garnish, and serve! 


Summertime Peach Spritzer 

It’s summertime in Middle Tennessee, and that means plenty of peaches! Nothing will impress your guests more than a refreshing peach spritzer. This spritzer is easy on the eyes as well as the mouth. Sugar the rim to be extra fancy. 


  • 3 fluid ounces of sparkling white wine 

  • 2 fluid ounces of peach liquor 

  • 1 fluid ounce of agave nectar 

  • 1 peach wedge, sliced in the middle 


If you want to sugar the rim, dip the rim of a champagne glass in the peach liquor, then dip the rim into a plate of sugar. Then pour the liquids together and stir with a cocktail spoon. Garnish with a peach wedge and enjoy!