• Insider Tips on Serving Cocktails to Groups

     
    FROM THE Spring 2019 ISSUE
     
  • Insider Tips on Serving Cocktails to Groups

     
    FROM THE Spring 2019 ISSUE
     

Z BAR, the globally inspired cocktail lounge atop The Peninsula overlooking Michigan Avenue, offers customized batch cocktails for groups in an upscale, but relaxed atmosphere. The individual responsible for dreaming up and preparing these communal beverages is Vlad Novikov, who’s official title is director of cocktails and culture. Novikov’s travels frequently inform his mixology.

“One example is the Paralia—which combines the ancient Greek spirit mastiha with lemon verbena, peach and tsipouro, another Greek liquor—inspired by my love for Greece,” he says.

When it comes to making cocktails for groups, Novikov recommends keeping these three things in mind:

1. ALTERNATIVES
Novikov warns that no matter how balanced or widely appealing a group cocktail is, chances are someone won’t like it. He advises keeping a variety of alternatives on hand, including a light-bodied lager, a sparkling wine and a seasonal nonsparkling wine.

2. CIRCUMSTANCES
Factors like time of day, location and group composition should be taken into consideration when deciding how many cocktails to order. “People will probably consume less on a weekday than a weekend, or a Saturday brunch compared to a Saturday night,” Novikov says. Generally, he recommends planning on about two servings per guest.

3. APPROACHABILITY
Novikov says it’s best to stick to mild, popular flavors when creating a drink for multiple people. In his experience, fresh fruit juices go over well, while spirit-forward options like martinis and manhattans do not.

Novikov’s go-to drink for groups is a punch called The Disco Fever (available at Z Bar). For this beverage, a mixture of Absolut Elyx, Champagne, lemon and mandarin and passion fruit juices is topped with edible flowers and served in a disco ball.

Aventri, a leader in events management software (EMS), recently released ‘The Top 100 Meeting and Event Venues in the United States’ for 2019. The company took the ten top-rated meeting and event cities in the United States and picked the top ten venues in each area, compiling a list of 100 highly-regarded spaces. 

The guide identifies the two most valuable factors in attendee satisfaction as venue location and activities in the host city, followed by capacity, uniqueness and proximity to local attractions.

 

Andrea Hahn, general manager of Chicago’s new MB Ice Arena, knows her way around an ice rink.

 

Held at the United Center Sept. 21-23, 2018, the Laver Cup—a men’s tennis tournament pitting six top European players against six of their counterparts—marked the first time this major event has been held in the United States. Total event attendance was more than 93,000 people, with fans from around the world traveling to Chicago for an unforgettable experience with the game’s best players. “The Laver Cup was a huge win for Chicago,” says Kara Bachman, executive director of the Chicago Sports Commission.