How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

Cocktail Contest Party

Host a fun Couples Cocktail Contest party with your friends, complete with judging ideas and score cards!

You guys, I have such a fun post for you today, all about how to host a couples cocktail contest party!

Earlier this year, my husband and I hosted a Couples Cocktail Contest Party. It was something we had been brainstorming for quite awhile, and once we got moved in to our new home, and settled, we were finally able to make it happen!

Now that the entertaining season is upon us, I’ve been doing some thinking about how to host a similar party again, with a few tweaks.

First, I’ll tell you about how our party worked, and then I’ll fill you in on some of my ideas to make it even better.

—-> You can get the entire kit that I used for my party HERE.

How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

The Guests

We used to create digital invitations, and either emailed them or sent them through social media to our couple friends. There are so many great designs to choose from, and allows you to keep track of your guest list and RSVPs, too. This is the design I used:

evite for the invitations
How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

Overview of How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

In our invitations, I included instructions pertaining to how the party would work.

I sent the invites a couple of months before the party, to give the couples adequate time to create and test their cocktail ideas.

This is a fun bonus of this type of party– couples get to have fun together planning, creating, and testing their drink ideas in the weeks before the party. 😍

In the message from the host area on the evite, I included this information:

Let’s have some fun while engaging in some friendly competition at The First Annual Couples Cocktail Competition! We’re giving you plenty of time before the party so that you can do a little bonding with your spouse as you create and test your signature cocktail. Here are the guidelines:

1. You bring the ingredients to make 10 of your specialty cocktail, including the alcohol, garnishes to fancy it up, and the appropriate glasses to serve it in.  (We have martini, highball, rocks, beer and wine glasses, but if you want something different, please provide.  We also have standard barware on hand to create your masterpiece, such as shaker, muddler, pitchers, blender…)

2. Give your cocktail a name. Be creative!

3. Make it pretty!  Appearance is a category on the scorecard.  

4. Be prepared to explain your cocktail, or tell a story about it.

5. After serving your cocktail to everyone, we will vote.  Categories include:  1) Taste 2) Visual Appeal 3) Creative Name 4) Originality 

6. We will supply appetizers and munchies for all, and a prize for the cocktail champions!

7. Let the games begin!

The Menu for the Cocktail Party

How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party with good food

Food is an important element of any party, particularly one where adult beverages will be served!

One thing I’ve learned to do that takes some of the stress out of hosting a party or holiday gathering is to make some of the food myself, but buy some things pre-made from the store as well. This cuts down on the stress of trying to do it all yourself, while still letting you serve some of your special homemade dishes that your guests will love!

I mean, you want to be able to enjoy the party, too, and not be so stressed about getting all the food prepared on your own. For this party I made:

I took some help from the store by purchasing:

  • Frozen cream puffs from Costco. These can be found in the freezer section and come in a BIG package. You simply thaw them out an hour or so before serving, and they are so good! They added a sweet treat to my food spread with minimal effort on my part. I did offer a couple of very easy dipping options that were simple to whip up. One was a basic chocolate sauce with some espresso powder mixed in, and the other was raspberry jam thinned out with a little rum.
  • My favorite Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus served with cut-up veggies.
  • A shrimp cocktail platter that was ready to serve.
  • A mixture of cheeses, cured meats, dried fruits, roasted nuts, fig jam, and an assortment of crackers, which I used to assemble my own charcuterie tray.

When people arrived, I had the spread all set up on my kitchen island. This allowed people time to fix a plate, and gather around in the kitchen, giving guests who hadn’t met before a chance to interact and break the ice.

It also ensured everyone had some food in their stomachs before the cocktails started flowing! 🤣🍹🍸

How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party
Our friends are awesome…

I have a selection of white serving dishes and platters that are very versatile. I can pull them out and use them for any occasion, and they work together cohesively.

I also keep on hand a variety of different mini chalkboard labels that work nicely for letting guests know what each dish is. Then, after the party, they can be erased and reused for the next event.

How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

The Cocktail Contest

After eating and chatting for a while, we moved to the basement, where our bar is, but you could easily move the food aside in your kitchen and make room for the cocktail set up.

We asked our guests to bring the necessary ingredients for their custom cocktails, and we provided all the barware and tools.

I gave each couple a clipboard with the scoring details and room to make notes on each couple’s cocktail as they tasted it.

The judging wouldn’t happen until the end, so I wanted them to have a way to remember their thoughts as they tasted each one over the course of the evening.

My husband and I went first.

As we were working together to craft our cocktail, we also shared its unique name and the story behind it.

We called our cocktail the “Fountain of Youth”. We both turned 50 this year, within a month of each other, and to celebrate we went to Walt Disney World!

We used a Walt Disney quote to explain our inspiration– “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional…” Our adults-only trip was a chance for us to play and have fun, even though we are getting “older”. 🤪

Our martini was made with 100% cherry juice, which has numerous health benefits and anti-aging properties, so this was also part of the inspiration for our “Fountain of Youth” name.

It says right on the bottle that it can “reduce muscle and joint soreness, improve sleep and boost immunity”.


This is the cherry juice we used, also from Costco. It makes excellent martinis!

And finally, we bought some light-up glow cubes from Amazon to add a fun and youthful component to our drink.

This was also inspired by our Disney trip, as they are offered in lots of different adult and kid beverages there! I was able to get a dozen of them on Amazon and they were the perfect touch to our custom cocktail!

Our Fountain of Youth cocktail
How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party
Glow Cubes
How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

Cocktail Competition Ideas

To streamline this drink-making process during the party, you can ask the couples to do some of the prep work prior to arriving.

For example, before the party started, Mark and I cut out our lime twist garnishes and stored them in the fridge.

Also, because we were “in it to win it”, we also infused our own vodka by steeping lime slices in plain vodka in a large mason jar for several days.

How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

This drink-making and sharing process is repeated by each couple. It was almost like going to dinner, drinks, and a show because it was fun to watch each couple work together to create their craft cocktail, and tell the story behind it!

And let me tell you, our friends are CREATIVE! They took this cocktail contest seriously and their drinks and performances did not disappoint!

Just look at these masterpieces each couple came up with! I mean really….

The Cocktail Competition

How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party
Jen & Adam’s drink was also Disney-inspired because Jen is a Disney travel agent!
How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party Blood Marys
Nick and Aimee’s Bloody Marys contained a whole meal in the garnish!
How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party
Kelly and Phil’s Waukee Mule was a history lesson! It was named after the old Waukee mining industry, in which they used mules to haul the coal!
How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party
Dough & Darcey’s Neptune-inspired drink came with an incredible performance in which guests could get “knighted”. So much fun!
How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party
Part of the process of getting “knighted” involved having to kiss a “baby”. 🤣🤪

If you need some cocktail recipe ideas, you can find some of my favorites HERE.

Time to Vote!

After all the couples have presented their drinks, it’s time to vote! Couples used the notes they took during the cocktail party to fill out their scorecards.

(You can now get my entire Cocktail Contest Party Bundle on Etsy HERE.)

We had five couples, including ourselves, so we only needed space to rank four, because nobody was allowed to vote for their own. Your party may need more or less, but 8 spots are included per scorecard.

The Prizes

Since we asked guests to bring all the ingredients for their own cocktails, Mark and I provided all the food, and prizes, We had a prize for each category, as well as one grand prize for the overall winner!

For the category prizes, I made “trophies” out of bottles of wine. I created my own wine labels and bottle tags for each one. Here are some examples:

My Etsy Bundle comes with a total of TEN different bottle tags, giving you plenty of options!

Each category winner got a bottle of wine, and the Grand Prize winner also got a gift card to a local restaurant!

I wish I had taken pictures of each of the prizes, but by that time we had all sampled FIVE different cocktails, well….. I just wasn’t thinking clearly enough to take pictures. 🤣🤣

What I might change for next time…

You guys, this was so much fun! And our friends really took it seriously and came up with AMAZING cocktails and stories to go along with them!

I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to try this with.

How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

That being said, I do have a few takeaways for next time.

First, this was A LOT of alcohol. My drink limit is usually two, maybe three if we’re stretching things out over several hours. So FIVE different cocktails in short order was too much.

By about halfway through, people were only tasting the last drinks instead of enjoying them.

In the future, I think I’d cut it back to having one drink per couple, rather than one drink per person. Couples could share each drink for judging, and then maybe go back for another of their favorites?

Also, there was a variety of different alcohols represented, and sometimes, for me anyway, mixing alcohols leads to not feeling so well later.

I do better if I’m only drinking one type for the evening. So, next time I might have the couples create drinks centered around just one type of liquor.

Pin for How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

This couples cocktail contest party was such a fun way to spend an evening with friends! Have you ever hosted any couples-themed parties? If so, I’d love to hear your ideas!


UPDATE: You guys, here is the new Etsy Bundle that will let you download everything you need to create your own Cocktail Competition Party! This bundle includes invitations, contest rules, tasting notes, scorecards, 10 bottle tags to use for favors, awards, or “trophies”, and recipe cards so you can share all the great cocktail recipes from your friends!

Cocktail Competition Party Etsy invitiations, score, awards for How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

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8 thoughts on “How to Host a Couples Cocktail Contest Party

  1. We have hosted for the last 3 years at christmas with our 5 adult kids. It is a blast, and we also have a white lies t-shirt theme to ramp it up 😂. We learned to do either smaller drinks or share also , and are also limiting the booze to one or two. Great voting sheets and prizes!!

  2. Great idea! Sharing with my adult son and his fiancé who asked for ingredients, tools (including a smoker) to experiment with mixology for Christmas. Pinned!

  3. Oh my gosh, this looks like fun! We have hosted competitive wine tastings before. And now I think a mixology competition may be in our future. But I’m with you and think sharing a drink for each couple sounds like the way to go.
    Thanks for sharing at the Fabulous Friday Link Party. I’m thrilled we’ll be featuring it this week.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday, 578. Hope you have a great week and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

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