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Host A Maker's Mark Cocktail Party

Updated on May 31, 2009
Maker's Mark Coasters
Maker's Mark Coasters

Trip to the Distillery

Back in 2005 I had the opportunity to tour the Maker's Mark distillery. I happened to be nearby because I was performing a live cooking demonstration for a very large group of people and I had an extra day off. I am not a drinker though I will toss a little nippy-nip (my mother's phrase for hard liquor) into food if it enhances the flavor.

A Little History

The creation of Maker's Mark is the combined efforts of two families, the Samuels (pioneers from Pennsylvania) and the Burks (transplants from Maryland). Both families were involved in distilling but it wasn't until 1953 when a Samuel descendent purchased a mill owned by the Burks Maker's Mark was born. This particular whiskey is made from local grain only and the local iron-free, limestone water. I can testify that it is still made in a very old fashion way. I remember the smell of the "mash" inside some very old open barrels. You are able to lean right over the edge of the barrel for a good look at the fermenting process. For more history, visit


Before I begin with this theme cocktail party, let me be a responsible adult:

This article does not encourage excessive drinking nor drinking and driving. Use the buddy system to drive your guests home. Provide your guests with sleeping attire (medical scrubs), a blanket and a pillow should they become too intoxicated. Open a spare room with plenty of floor space.


Theme Colors, Decor and Shots

With that said, it's time to plan your party. Gather a group of fun, favorite friends. This party would be a great Friday night unwind. You'll have all day Saturday to sleep it off (just joking). If you decide to send invitations, keep it simple and use Evite

Your theme colors are: Black, Red, Copper and Beige. Keep your table cloths, plates, soft drink cups, utensils, balloons, streamers, confetti, etc. in these colors. Don't shop at an expensive party store, find a local wholesale paper goods supplier or shop online: If you want to get a little into the Maker's Mark name visit their gift store to order the inexpensive coasters at Splurge on the dipped shot glasses. They would be perfect for that straight shot of whiskey!


When I created this theme party for a client in a more elaborate style, I chose the following drink recipes for his bar menu. Remember to consider the guests who won't drink whiskey straight. Otherwise break out your shot glasses! Make the punch and cocktail before guests arrive. A suggested bar menu:

  • Stawberry Daiquiri - 1 can frozen limeade, 10 ounce package frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup rum, 1/2 cup whiskey, 1 banana and ice
  • Whiskey Sour Punch -4 cups bourbon, 4 cans frozen lemonade, 2 quarts apple juice, 2 quarts ginger ale, maraschino cherries and ice (mom's favorite with slices of fresh apples)
  • Spiked Cranberry Cocktail - 1 quart cranberry juice, 1 can pineapple juice, 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 1/2 cup whiskey, and 1 liter ginger ale


Keep the menu restricted to finger foods suitable for a napkin. Have plenty to eat. Experiment with adding whiskey to the appetizer recipes you already have in your recipe box. Here are a couple to get your started:

  • beef tenderloin marinated overnight, grilled, sliced and served with horseradish on crostini. Search out a good marinade recipe then add whiskey to taste.
  • cheese fondue with whiskey - take your favorite fondue recipe and while in preparation, stir whiskey to taste.
  • whiskey bacon shrimp - wrap 16/20 peeled and deveined shrimp in a good bacon using a toothpick to hold together. Using a very shallow pan, bake until bacon is crispy. Put your shrimp in a chafer for table service. Pour a little whiskey over shrimp then light the shrimp just before everyone can eat. Flambe!
  • whiskey meatballs - make your favorite meatballs (no jelly), then mix and heat peach preserves, orange marmalade, whiskey and a little sugar for a sauce. Pour over cooked meatballs then serve.

Be safe and have fun!


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