In the spirit of a return to nights out in the city (now that cottage weekends are a thing of the past), yesterday we told you how to have the most notable night out possible.
But you’ve known since high school (sorry Mom and Dad) that a good, solid night out begins with a good old-fashioned pre-drink.
And we’re not talking about the keg, pizza, and beer pong-filled pre-drinks of days past (note: they should probably be way past).
Here are 8 ways to have a pre-drink the grown-up way.
1. Start early
Now that skipping class and sleeping all morning isn’t an option and our hangovers have magically gone from bad to worse, starting early makes more sense than ever. That way, not only do you have more hours in the evening (so you won’t feel guilty throwing in the towel at midnight), you have more time to spend with those friends who you see less and less of. And that couple with the baby (yikes, we know) can come too.
2. Have a fixed number of guests
Whereas your university days meant a pre-game free-for-all with a revolving door of ‘friends’ you may or may not actually even have known (hey, as long as they brought booze or hot friends, all was cool), a mature pre-drink means a curated guest list of fixed numbers. This helps break the ice before a night on the town among groups of friends who may not know each other (try to make sure everyone doesn’t come from the same circle to keep things interesting) more so than drinks at a stuffy bar.
3. Have an even(ish) number of guys and girls.
Just because it makes more sense that way. If you find there will be a disproportionate number of couples, make sure to invite an equal number of singles to balance out the vibe. The last thing your guests want is to be the token single person in a room full of cheers-ing couples.
4. Put away the bong
You’re not in university anymore. And even if you like to indulge in a little ‘greenery’ from time to time, doing so may offend some guests. Not to mention, with camera phones perpetually snapping and documenting the night away, the last thing you need is to be caught red eyed and giving your neighbor a ‘super’ in the background of an Instagram shot.
5. Have food other than pizza
A pre-drink of any kind always requires food. After all, you have a long night ahead of you. But instead of the last minute call to Pizza Pizza (and subsequent scramble for cash among 11 friends), have a selection of appetizers for your guests to enjoy. Of course, this requires a minor financial investment on your part (whether you stalk up on a selection of beloved President’s Choice apps or go all out with a caterer), but that brings us to our next point – expect to spend money.
6. Don’t be cheap about it
We’re as much about saving a dollar here and there as anyone else is. But don’t volunteer a pre-drink if you don’t expect to spend money on it. Nothing sets off the vibe for the rest of the night than a pre-drink that runs out of booze, has zero mix, or inspires guests to call the damn pizza place themselves.
7. Make a specialty drink
Make your party a memorable one with a signature cocktail – because what young professional doesn’t love a signature cocktail? Whether it means a mojito, sangria, spiked lemonade, or a punch, make something that can be served in a bowl or pitchers for guests to pour themselves. It will make your life that much easier.
8. Add an interactive feature
We recommend spicing things up by asking couples to drop their keys in a bowl upon arrival (fine, we’re kidding about that one). But in all seriousness, whether it means a game of Cards Against Humanity or a dance-off complete with prizes, have an interactive element planned to your pre-drink. It will help in that whole breaking of the ice thing even more and put everyone in a good mood before you venture out into the evening.