Party hosting hacks for the holidays and beyond

(BPT) – Hosting friends and family in your home is fun any time of the year, including the holidays. However, with entertaining comes the stress of planning and the pressure to make each get-together more exciting than the last.

Throwing a memorable party does not have to be overwhelming. With a few simple hosting hacks, you can impress your guests at every turn, from food and drinks, to decor and even parting gifts, creating an unforgettable experience for all.

Smoke ’em with a signature cocktail.

Having your own “signature” cocktail puts a personalized and festive stamp on any celebration. Dazzle your guests with a cool mixology trend and try torching a cocktail.

Lighting a float is one cool technique to try. Once your cocktail is mixed, add a thin layer of a high-proof alcohol very slowly on top of the drink (tip – pour over the back of a spoon). The higher proof alcohol will float on top, then light it on fire to bring out more of the flavor. Mixologists recommend using a torch like the Bernzomatic ST2200T Detail Torch for this.

Create your own beverage cart.

Bring libations to guests by creating your own beverage cart. Not only does it keep guests from having to travel back and forth to the kitchen, it also adds a retro element to any party. Simply take an old (or new) office or craft cart on casters, spray paint it in a festive color and – Viola! – you have a portable beverage cart. Stock the cart with spirits, soft drinks, ice, cocktail napkins, garnishes and everything you need to achieve beverage service on-the-go.

Wow with a custom centerpiece.

A centerpiece can communicate the vibe of your celebration. Sure, you could go buy something pre-made, but creating your own centerpiece will add a personal (and impressive) touch to any table.

Create your own copper pipe holiday centerpiece like this one from PrettyHandyGirl.com, made using a Bernzomatic TS4000 High Heat Torch. You’ll need about 3 feet of copper pipe, some copper corner elbows to join the pipe pieces, T-connectors, and basic equipment such as a tape measure, safety gloves and glasses, and a pipe cutter. Visit the website for a full list of materials and assembly instructions. The centerpiece is so versatile it can be used for any occasion.

Prep and clean ahead of party time.

Anything you can do before party day is one less thing you have to spend time on during the celebration. Many key party tasks – from appetizer prep to setting the table – can be done a day (or even two) before the party. Pre-mix the punch the night before, pre-make and refrigerate dishes and get your party music ready and queued up a day early.

If you don’t have time to clean the entire house, focus on the areas where guests will be. Create a fresh, fragrant aroma that will permeate the house by simmering vanilla, lemon and rosemary in a pot of water on the stove.

Leave a lasting impression with a parting gift.

If you want to create something nice and simple for guests to leave with, you don’t have to stretch your mind or your bank account to give something unique. Check out the kitchen aisle in a home or super store and pick up a set of wooden kitchen serving utensils. Then, using the soldering tip of a Bernzomatic micro torch, engrave patterns and designs, or even personalize the names of your guests. Tie a ribbon to the handle and you’ve got an easy and practical gift.

Whether you’re planning a holiday soiree, celebrating the New Year or hosting another special event throughout the year, a few smart hacks and the right tools will help create an event that is memorable, impressive and most importantly, fun.

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