The planner, the social chair, the vibe curator — whatever you want to call them, every group of friends has someone who makes the reservations, arranges the nights out, and hosts the parties. If you are that person (ahem, guilty as charged), you know it's not just that you love to plan; making sure your friend group has a good time every time you hang out is how you show you care.
Next time you feel the urge to get something on the calendar, forgo making dinner plans in favor of a laid-back happy hour at home. There's no need for you to make reservations anywhere, but you'll still have plenty of quality time with your people — and since you're hosting, you can ensure the vibes will be immaculate.
Plus, happy hour offers the perfect opportunity to spend time with any type of friend, from the work bestie you're hoping will become an IRL friend to your close group of college buddies to the childhood neighbor who just moved to your city. Here's how to host an elevated but relaxed happy hour — and get closer to friends new and old in the process.
Spread the Word With a Virtual Invite
Instead of waiting until the day before to shoot off a group text, plan your next happy hour a few weeks in advance to ensure all of your friends can make it. Instead of going back and forth about everyone's schedule, send out a free Doodle poll to get everyone's availability and pick a date. All that's left to do is send out a Google calendar invite with all of the details — or if you're feeling really fancy, a fully designed digital invitation. Keep the guest list within your group of friends for a small, intimate hang, or invite people who don't yet know each other for a little friendship matchmaking.
Create a Gorgeous Cocktail Station
What would happy hour be without a signature drink? Add some wow factor to your setup by creating a stunning cocktail station with all the ingredients your guests need for a Ketel One Botanical Spritz. First, they'll fill a wine glass with ice, then top with 1.5 ounces of Ketel One Botanical and 3 ounces of sparkling water. Stock up on a variety of fresh fruit and herb garnishes so your friends have an option for whichever varietal of Ketel One Botanical they choose: Peach & Orange Blossom, Grapefruit & Rose, or Cucumber & Mint.
Serve Elevated Hors d'Oeuvres
Forget standard bar fare like wings and pizza; instead, show your friends how much you appreciate them by serving some next-level happy-hour bites. Just choose a semi-homemade hors d'oeuvre that you can make with a few store-bought elements so you don't spend ages in the kitchen. Take bruschetta, for example: you can buy the toast rounds premade, then finish them with no-cook topping combinations. Store-bought pesto sauce, sliced tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese make for a quick and easy riff on classic caprese, while ricotta cheese, sliced prosciutto, and a dollop of fig jam hits that crave-worthy balance between sweet and salty.
Make It a Monthly Tradition
Before everyone finishes their cocktails, make sure you have a plan for your next meetup. Plan to make happy hour a monthly tradition, complete with a recurring calendar invite, to make sure your busy schedules don't delay your plans. If you like, you can even come up with themes: pick an obscure holiday to celebrate like International Picnic Day, or make it a wig party. The key component is making time for your friends every month — and honoring that commitment. It's just a happy hour, but carving out that time for your friendships can be surprisingly impactful.
Design: Marissa Dickson