Out of ALL the spirits, whisky is my favorite! I attend and cover a multitude of whisky events in Chicago. You can imagine how disappointed I am that most of them have been or will be cancelled due to the pandemic.
World Whisky Day is Saturday, May 16th. It was founded in 2012 and falls on the third Saturday of May each year. Events take place globally and the main focus is all about making whisky fun and enjoyable!
Closures of restaurants and bars are still in place in Chicago, but that’s not going to put a damper on World Whisky Day or socializing for that matter. To celebrate World Whisky Day I was invited to partake in a virtual whisky tasting with Aberlour Single Malt Scotch. Scotland native and Chicago brand ambassador, Callum O’Donnell, gave us an introduction into the world of scotch with a guided tasting of three Aberlour expressions. What a fun way to taste, see, and experience Aberlour through a virtual setting! My favorite was the Aberlour A’bunadh Alba. A complex mix of sweet baked apple notes alongside crisp citrus flavors!
During the “Shelter in Place” order I’ve attended virtual cooking classes, dance parties, birthday parties, cocktail hours, and just about anything you can think of virtually. That got me thinking about virtual hosting etiquette. Check out my tips below for hosting a virtual cocktail hour and make sure you grab a bottle of Aberlour to get the party started!! (I included a simple cocktail recipe you can make with Aberlour below).
Tips for Hosting Virtual Cocktail (Happy) Hours
TECHNOLOGY – I will admit I’m not a leader when it comes to technology. However, even I was able to navigate easy (and free) platforms like Zoom to host virtual events. Make sure everyone gets the link to the virtual hang out and any other pertinent info like ID numbers/conference codes….etc.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! Are you hosting the virtual party for friends, family, co-workers, etc? Based on who you’re hosting should help you set the vibe. Party might be a little more risqué for friends versus co-workers.
Main THEME – Everyone love’s a good party theme. Whether it’s a ladies night with tropical themed cocktails, a brunch theme with everyone ordering chicken & waffles from the same restaurant, movie/TV show premiere watch party… Let the guests know the theme and what to expect.
Side Theme – Take the main theme up a notch with a side theme. How about a Ladies Night Cocktails and facial party? You can make cocktails and also do a little self-care by doing DIY facials together. Take it to the next level with a dress code: Everyone comes dressed in comfy pajama’s. (Sounds like my type of party!)
Interactive – One of the main reasons to host Virtual Parties is to be interactive. We’re stuck in the house all day with the quarantine, so we’re ready to interact with others. You can accomplish this with games (trivia), hands on activities (like cocktail making), and having an open forum for questions/ suggestions.
Preparation – If you’re hosting a virtual event where the guests will need certain ingredients (example: cooking class) make sure to send that information at least a week before the event. You want to give your virtual guests time to be prepared.
Time/Date/Day – This sort of goes back to knowing your audience and goes without saying, but try to choose a day/time that works for most people. Generally most people are going to want to do Happy Hour virtual settings on Thursdays/Fridays to wind down the work week. Brunch Happy hours would work better on Saturdays or Sundays versus Mondays. (DUH)
Aesthetics – Some Virtual hosting platforms give you the option to change the background (kinda like a green screen). So if you’re hosting a Tropical theme ladies night you can pick a beach background. Either way make sure to give the platform a test run before the event and make sure lighting is right and put away any embarrassing things that shouldn’t be seen in the background.
Have FUN! Most important of all is DON’T stress. Be thankful there are platforms that connect you with the outside world. This is a new landscape for most, so experiment with the dynamics and do the best you can!
Quarantine Cocktail Recipe – Whisky Sour
2 oz Aberlour 12 Year Old
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
1 egg white
Dash of bitters (as garnish)
Put all ingredients (excluding bitters) in a shaker without ice and dry shake for 10 seconds
Add ice to shaker and shake again for 10 seconds
Strain in to a rocks glass with or without ice (the choice is yours)
Add 3 or 4 dashes of Angostura bitters to the foam on top of the sour.
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