Australia’s at-home cocktail party boom

Hosting an at-home cocktail party is the hot new trend in entertaining as Aussies look for more affordable ways to socialise as the cost of living rises.

During COVID-19 Aussies developed a taste for mixology, investing in bar carts and stocking them with spirits. Data from Nielsen found 40% of consumers are interested in make-at-home cocktail kits, followed by bottled pre-made and grab-and-go options (both 37%).

New data from IWSR shows alcohol consumers are showing a clear preference for home consumption versus visiting the on-trade, with signs that behaviours learned during the pandemic have become entrenched.

Now a national survey by Woodford Reserve has revealed those bar carts are being dusted off again, with the majority (77%) of the population no longer tied to a night out to get together with friends, with 59% believing that they are expensive and 41% admitting they spend over $150 each time they do.

Half (49%) of Aussies now choosing a cocktail night with nibbles as the preferred way to host, over a traditional dinner party (34%).

The research also revealed:

  • Aussies want to unlock their inner mixologist: Nearly half (48%) of the population think a cocktail is a great way to treat themselves, and 42% want to make cocktails more often than they do now.
  • Aussies want more autonomy over their night: More Aussies are opting for cocktail nights at home as they can play their own music (50%), save money (40%) and curate a personalised experience (34%).
  • Aussies love to stretch their spirits: Half (50%) of Aussies are looking for recipes that show versatility by using the same spirit to make different cocktails, ultimately scaling back the cost of ingredients, with 40% keeping the spirit premium quality.

Maybe Sammy’s under $10 cocktail tips

In response to the growing demand, Woodford Reserve has partnered with award-winning bar Maybe Sammy and expert stylist Briellyn Turton on hosting an affordably luxurious cocktail party.

Maybe Sammy Bar Manager Paolo Maffietti said: “If there is something we know, it’s how much Aussies love a cocktail. We want to help them get comfortable with their at-home mixology skills, so they can relax and enjoy hosting their friends.

“As we see this rise of the cocktail hour sweep the nation, it’s really exciting to be able to help bring this to Aussies homes.”

Among the tips were how the humble garnish can be used to elevate your cocktail from a quick chopped up wedge, to a bar standard aesthetic treat. For bourbon, orange peel can be crafted by using a citrus peeler. Peel a long, thin piece of orange rind at least four inches long. Carefully coil around a toothpick or something similar. Hold for about 10 seconds, then hang over the edge of your glass. Make sure to pre-batch ingredients and everything you need to make a cocktail. This will allow you to serve the highest quality drinks at volume and with speed. Preparation is key!

Every great bar incorporates some level of theatrics into its service, such as the famous Maybe Sammy bubble gun. Surprising your guests with a roaming drinks trolley or bar cart is a fantastic way to make your mark as the host-with-the-most. This means not only creating a memorable moment for your friends, but means you can take drinks to your guests, without them
lifting a finger, maybe even mix or shake their cocktail right in front of them to really impress.

Maybe Sammy created three Woodford Reserve cocktails that can be made at home with minimal ingredients and equipment – all for less than $10 per guest. View them all here.

They include the Home Fashioned, Highball and Whiskey Sour. Our favourite was the Highball, recipe below.


  • 30ml Woodford Reserve
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • 15ml sugar 1:1
  • Top up with Mandarin Soda (Strangelove)

METHOD: Add ingredients to the mixing glass. Add ice to mixing glass and small ice cubes to a highball glass. Stir ingredients for 30-40 seconds. Strain into serving glass

As for the accompanying food, Woodford Reserve suggests charcuterie spreads and canapes. Embrace platters and small bowls spread around the table instead of one classic board to encourage guests to roam the room. For something that
looks luxe and tastes incredible, but is low effort to prepare, offer trout roe and creme fraiche on toasted waffle.

When it comes to at-home cocktail party styling tips, interior designer Briellyn Turton said: “It’s exciting to see that people are wanting to use their homes to host at-home cocktail parties, as it’s such a great way to bring people together.

“Sometimes hosting can be intimidating when you don’t know what to do with your space. It was exciting to partner with Woodford Reserve so we could help Aussies get their homes bar ready, to make use of their space and create the perfect atmosphere.”

According to Turton, music is one of your most powerful tools when setting the atmosphere of the night, so selecting the perfect playlist is important. The ultimate music hack is to pick a bar whose vibe you want to emulate, and search their name on Spotify, almost always you can find the venue’s playlist, preloaded with the perfect tunes to carry you through from first drinks to final hours of the evening. Try a Maybe Sammy playlist here.

For more information about Woodford Reserve, the Luxuriously Affordable At-Home Cocktail Party Guide and new Maybe Sammy Cocktails recipes, visit the website here.

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