Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Throwing a Singles Mixer, Part One

Hopefully you took my advice on Friday and had a selfless weekend. This post is about another kind of weekend. You can meet women at parties, so why not throw one of your own?

Even better than a plain old party is the Singles Mixer.

Not on the invite list: any one who is part of a couple. This party is strictly for single people. But, you say, all (or most of ) the single people you know are your friends. Male friends. First, don’t limit yourself to inviting friends. You’ll want at least 30 people on your invite list to make it a successful party, so invite co-workers, cousins, acquaintances, classmates you rarely talk to. Oh, and the rule for each invitee is that they have to bring at least one single person of the opposite gender.

Stocking the Bar

Liquor. The basic types of alcohol that you’ll need are: vodka for martinis--preferably a good vodka like Stoli, lemon vodka (you’re using this for mixing, so a cheap vodka is fine), bourbon (I suggest Maker’s Mark), gin for martinis (preferably a good gin like Bombay Sapphire), and a cheap gin for mixed drinks (not Beefeater cheap--Seagram’s cheap). If you want to add another spirit, vanilla vodka is a good mixing alcohol. Keep the vodka in the freezer.

If your group of friends are wine drinkers, have a bottle of white wine and a bottle of red wine on hand, but there is probably no need to have more than that. Guests love to bring bottles of wine so you’ll not want for wine. Chardonnay is a good standby white wine. I hate it, but most people who drink white wine seem to like it. I prefer a Reisling. A Shiraz or Cabernet is a good standby red wine. I’m not huge on buying expensive wines for parties. Intimate dinner parties, yes. Large mixer parties, no.

You’ll want some basic liqueurs like Triple Sec (or Cointreau if you want to spend a little more), dry vermouth and sweet vermouth.

You’ll also need non-alcoholic mixers: tonic water, club soda (best purchased in the short six packs so it doesn’t go flat like it does in a liter bottle), grenadine, Rose’s lime juice, bitters, lemon juice and orange juice (if you’ll be making screwdrivers or tequila sunrises) and/or cranberry juice (if you’ll be making cosmopolitans). All of these non-alcoholic mixers are available at most grocery stores.

For garnishes, have sugar, maraschino cherries, limes, lemons and large green cocktail olives.


Measuring glass or a shot glass to use for measuring

Ice bucket and tongs

Cocktail glasses. These can be had for cheap at Pier One Imports (or even a thrift store). Martini glasses. Short and tall tumblers. Wine glasses. Please use glass, not plastic. If you must, use plastic for drinks that would go in a tumbler. You must use glass for drinks that go in a martini glass!

Cocktail shaker and a sturdy glass that fits over the top for shaking. The metal tops that come with cocktail shakers are impossible to remove. To see what kind of sturdy glass I’m talking about, watch the bartender at your local bar.

Toothpicks (for the olive garnish)


Martini pitcher

Cocktail recipe book

The successful host will know how to mix a martini, Manhattan, Lemon Drop, Cosmopolitan, Gin and Tonic, and a Tequila (or Vodka) Sunrise. Surprised by the Tequila Sunrise? They’re really cool looking and I’m trying to bring them back in vogue.

Up on Friday: Feeding the Crowd


  1. In the eight years I've been living in Seattle, I'm not sure I've known 15 single people I could invite to a party, which is how many I'd need to meet the minimum of 30 if each of them knows someone single that I'm not already inviting. This makes me feel that this plan is not so good for people in their 30s or older, like myself, because by then most of their friends will already be hooked up. On the other hand, you could argue that if I were pursuing more activities where I could be meeting single people, then I'd have a big enough pool to draw from.

  2. So question is: what do you do when you don't know that many single people? Let's take your own example, Phil. Okay, so you know a lot of non-single people--I can sympathize. Many of my friends are married/partnered too. However, if you wanted to throw such a party, you could ask me (or any of your married friends) to invite a bunch of my single friends (or co-workers or relations). You don't have to keep the invite list to those you have one degree of separation from. You may have a lower percentage of success with those people showing up but the number of people within two degrees of separation is much higher than the number within one degree. And you always have such good parties, it wouldn't be hard for me to talk at least a couple of my single friends into going!

    So, hopefully, by doing that you'd have a big enough pool. And, if not, like you wrote, if you pursued more activities, you'd could get a bigger "one degree of separation" pool. BTW, Meetup.com has a bunch of "older" single meetup groups in Seattle. (Yes, we are now in the older category...)

  3. So, are you saying ask the married/partnered friends to invite their single friends to go to a party they're not attending, hosted by someone the second-degree single friends don't know? Or open up the party so it's not strictly singles after all?

    Also, I submit that a significant reason I have good parties is because of the good group of people I know, whom I invite to the parties. If most of the singles are coming from friends of friends, that makes it much chancier.

  4. You could open up the party if that's the best way for you to get singles to come.

    It does make it chancier, I'll admit, but the people in your "good group" probably have some pretty fantastic friends themselves that aren't (yet) part of the group!