Ina Garten's Cocktail Glass Tip For A Truly Chill Evening

Hosting is equal parts opportunity and being overwhelmed; it's fun yet scary and freeing yet frustrating. So when it comes to hosting your loved ones, the first thing you must remember is that you're inviting them over for the hang, not just the meal. If you need inspiration or a pep talk, the hostess with the most-ess Ina Garten has all the pro tips, but one of her best is to check your ego at the door and worry only about nice touches (like keeping your guests' drinks chilled), not showstopping.

Of course, you may just want to enjoy a nice cocktail by yourself — but even when indulging solo, you deserve nice things. So keep it simple, like Ina. When it comes to serving cocktails, Garten prefers to chill her martini glasses first. It's a simple gesture that doesn't take up too much time, but it still makes everyone feel special. 

A quick step that makes all the difference

One of the ways Garten makes sure she nails hosting is by getting the small gestures down. For example, as part of her Pomegranate Gimlet recipe, she makes sure she chills the glasses for at least an hour before she makes the drinks. She wants her guests to feel accommodated and special, but she's not about to give herself an insurmountable to-do list either. 

Chilling your cocktail glasses is absolutely essential if you're serving cocktails that come straight up (as in, without any ice). Even if you're using the proper stemmed glasses for a martini, if you sip it nice and slowly, it will come up in temperature after a while. Chilling your cocktail glasses buys you more time before the glass — and therefore the cocktail — warms up. This way, that crisp, cold mouthfeel remains for the duration of the drink.

Serving cocktails in frosted glasses also just looks really cool and feels lovely to the touch if it's a warm evening. If you're subscribing to Garten's theory of nice touches over grand gestures, then serving cocktails in chilled glasses can make the night seem super elegant — even if you're serving a very simple meal or having a night in by yourself with a nice cocktail to end the evening.

Other ways to keep drinks delightfully simple

Hosting a party? If you want to serve your guests any cocktail they can dream up, then hire a bartender or a bar cart for your event — but otherwise, pick one drink and batch it. Of course, always ask if there is a liquor that someone in the group is allergic to or absolutely hates. You want everyone to enjoy the drinks, after all. 

If you truly don't know where to start, survey your guests and ask for their two favorite cocktails and wherever you find overlap, start there. However, if you know your guests' tastes well enough, make that decision and stick to something seasonal. This is a good tip even if you're just having a cocktail with your significant other for a home date. If it's summertime, maybe a fruit-forward or citrus cocktail, or you can opt to use liqueurs in your cocktails. If it's a chilly winter evening, maybe something more traditional like an old-fashioned. 

By batching a cocktail but pouring it into chilled glasses, you'll be conveying the nice touches that Ina Garten is so fond of. You can also pre-prep your garnishes for that extra special touch. Edible flowers in summer drinks? Curls of orange rind in winter warmers? Yes, please! Heck, you can even prep your garnishes and freeze them in ice cubes to make your nightly cocktail a breeze after a long day of work.