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Hosting a dinner party is always a good idea, but grocery shopping, timing out multiple courses, and cleaning it all up are tedious acts we wouldn’t mind giving up. Having friends over for drinks, on the other hand, means you can enjoy all the perks of a fabulous fete without stressing that you forgot to reserve the pasta water. 

Whether you’re serving a signature cocktail or arranging ingredients on a tray for guests to mix themselves, you’ll need more than just excellent coupes to make it feel like a real party. Linen napkins, petite hors d’oeuvre plates, and mixologist-level gear will make your friends and family feel like they’re at a trendy bar, but better, because it was designed by you. Below you’ll find all the fixings to host a proper happy hour, starting with glasses to help your drinks taste better. 

Compliment-Worthy Cocktail Napkins and Coasters

Because the goal is more upscale bar, less dive bar, paper napkins just won’t do. Patterned cloth ones will prevent rings from ruining your furniture while also showing off your style, whether that’s a stack of traditional block-printed florals or kitschy ones embroidered with Christmas lights. 

Special-Occasion Glasses 

While we’re not 100 percent sure it changes the taste, every cocktail is designed with a specific vessel in mind. You can fill a balloon glass with a ton of ice, which makes it ideal for a gin and tonic; the tall and skinny shape of a Collins glass preserves the fizz of a Paloma; and the shallow slope of a martini glass allows the garnish in your vodka (or gin) to rest. 

Tricked-Out Bar Carts

Like your very own bar on wheels, a bar cart can easily travel from room to room, keeping your guests properly hydrated. Accessorize it with trays for bottles, tumblers for straws or cocktail picks, and bowls for citrus.

Mixologist-Level Gear 

Pull out a mixer, jigger, citrus squeezer, or muddler, and your friends will think you actually got your bartender’s license. These tools may sound fancy, but they’re less expensive than you’d think. On Amazon, you can score two julep strainers for less than $10. 

Appetizer Accoutrements 

While you’ll want to show your guests a good time, you don’t want things to get messy. In other words, give them some light bites to absorb your delicious cocktails. Grab easy appetizer plates for festive hors d’oeuvres, a big cheese board, or little metal bowls that nod to classic bar snacks.