Have an Easy House Drink Ready for Guests

Having simple signature drink makes dinner parties a breeze, but also means you are always prepared for when guests unexpectedly drop by.

illustration of people drinking at home
Photo: Barbora Idesoá

One of the best hosting tricks I've learned as an adult is always having a house drink at the ready when friends come over—ideally something extremely simple, easy to keep on hand, and that's a sure crowd-pleaser. The house drink can be boozy or alcohol-free, but at its core it must be unfussy. My go-to is a cocktail so simple that I'm not sure that I can even properly call it a cocktail. It's a drink I picked up from the team at Saint-Germain in New Orleans: a gentle pour of Dolin Blanc, over a good ice cube, with a twist — ideally in a Nick and Nora glass, but honestly any thin-rimmed cup will do. It's refreshing, and only three ingredients if you count the ice cube. Here are some other notable house drinks that I love:

Mango Seltzer

Aishwarya Iyer, Founder, Brightland

Iyer always keeps fruity seltzers on hand, and particularly likes offering guests a mango seltzer, ideally from a brand like Sanzo, along with a splash of her company's citrus champagne vinegar. But any bright champagne vinegar would do.

White Negroni

Jen Pelka, Co-Founder & CEO, Une Femme Wines & Charles Bililies, Founder, Souvla

This husband and wife duo always have the ingredients for a white negroni in their home. They pour equal parts gin, Lillet, and Mommenpop blood-orange vermouth over ice, and then strain the drinks into Nick & Nora glasses, adding a twist of whatever citrus they have on hand.

Arak and Mint

Mona Leena, Chef, Lulu Berkeley

Leena muddles arak with ice and mint, and then adds water to the mix. The water makes the drink slightly cloudy, which she says is pivotal for bringing out the anise flavor of the arak.


Meryl Rothstein, Writer and Recipe Developer, Pasta Social Club

Rothstein and her husband always have a bottle of Lambrusco chilling in the fridge for guests. Their go-to is the Opera 02 Lambrusco Amabile, which reminds her of the bountiful markets in Modena, Italy, and she swears tastes great out of paper cups.

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