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Text by Liz Wallace Food styling by Ryan Reineck Photography by Pippa Drummond

Prep Ahead

“Make a pre-batch of Manhattans or Negronis and store in a pretty glass bottle. When guests arrive, set out the lovely cocktail mix next to some drinking glasses, ice, and garnishes (blood orange wheels or even marigold flowers add a nice touch) for easy assembly. Because there’s no citrus blended in, the batch will last forever—just keep the leftovers in your fridge.”

Helen Johannesen, sommelier and director of operations at Animal and Son of a Gun

Find Your Hero Ingredient

“Pair cocktails with sweet and spicy bacon—it hits all the flavors. I make a large batch on a sheet tray in the oven (preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit). Flip the bacon when it begins to brown,  and brush with honey once it’s cooked. Then sprinkle on some ground Aleppo pepper or cayenne for extra heat.”

Patrick Janelle, cofounder of The Liquor Cabinet and Spring Street Social Society

Hot Tip

“Every cocktail has a base, and you can play with other ingredients, like swapping vodka in a Bloody Mary for tequila, bourbon, or even gin.”

Keep the Party Going

“When the evening is at a lull and you want to hit refresh, break out a pitcher of mezcal and bitters. Both ingredients can go beyond aperitif hour. The combo is a nice palate cleanser, and I like the ease of using a pitcher.”

Andrew Tarlow, author and owner of Diner, Marlow & Sons, Reynard, Achilles Heel, and Roman’s

Hot Tip

“Serve with a plate of sliced oranges dusted with Arbol Chile. The kick of zest and spice brings up the pace.”

Go Lo-Fi

“I’m not a great mixologist, so I have things on hand like the Sofia by Coppola sparkling wine in a can—imagine a sexier version of those wine coolers from the 1980s and ’90s. They’re a festive way to fake a cocktail if you aren’t the best bartender.”

Kerry Diamond, restaurateur and editor of Cherry Bombe

Hot Tip

“I always have nice tinned sardines or anchovies in my pantry. They’re tasty and keep for a long time. I also swear by Triscuits in a pinch. Even big chefs like them because they’re made from real ingredients.”