Quar-entain with more than a quarantini.

By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
August 21, 2020
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Quar-entaining may sound counterintuitive to our pandemic mindset, but social distancing doesn’t mean complete social isolation (if you haven’t been exposed to COVID-19, of course). If you’re itching to invite friends and family over, practicing CDC-approved ways to safely host guests outdoors will hopefully heal quarantine-induced loneliness and create new memories as we continue to isolate and stay at home to prevent the spread of disease

Perhaps you’ve built a bar in your backyard for this unprecedented summer, or just gotten creative with your rooftop to recreate your favorite going-out experience. Maybe just the concept of hosting a fun, delicious, and safe gathering has paralyzed you with anxiety, but Real Simple is here to help you unwind, socialize, and sip at a distance. Have hand sanitizer at the ready and create your socially distanced bar with these DIY drinks that guests can mix up themselves!

Cocktails that are built in the glass are perfect for distanced drinking, especially spritzes, which don’t require exact measurements, but rather proportions. Provide guests with their own personal cans or bottles of club soda (La Croix or Perrier in citrus flavors work great!), Prosecco (mini bottles make this super easy), and bitter aperitivos like Aperol, Campari, Ramazzotti, or any bitter Italian amaro of your choice.

If you don’t want to buy multiple bottles, decant the aperitivi into small swing top bottles or recycled jars before guests arrive. For an added flare, you add individual bowls of garnishes like citrus wheels, herbs, or green olives. When guests arrive, walk them through the spritz making process: Fill the glass with ice, add equal portions of aperitivo and Prosecco, top with a splash of soda and garnish to your liking. 

Mini bottles may evoke images of travel or illicit drinking, but these 1-ounce babies are perfect for distanced drinking, ensuring not everyone is touching the same bottle. Offer small bottles of high-quality liquor, as well as fun flavors, like Wild Roots’ fruit-flavored vodkas, as well as good club soda and tonic, like Fever Tree, plus wedges of lime and lemon. Because the mini bottles are pre-measured, guests can mix up cocktails to their liking without fumbling with a jigger. Provide paper straws for stirring and sipping.

Anything can be a mimosa (or wine spritzer), as long as you top the juice with Prosecco. Provide guests with their own selection of fresh 100 percent fruit or vegetable juices (buy small bottles or juice your favorite produce yourself), plus Prosecco, and happy hour is ready to go. To make the mimosas, add cold juice to the glass, and top with bubbly. To fancy things up outdoors, consider Corksicle’s stemless glasses, which keep beverages cold and look chic at any DIY bar.

If DIY mixology isn’t quite your game, the pros are already on it. Plenty of bar-worthy ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktails are readily available online and in stores, that are effortless to serve and drink. For a lower alcohol treat, consider Ramona’s wine spritzers, Social Club's cocktails in seltzer form, Volley's tequila-spiked flavored seltzers, and more. 

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Having non-alcoholic beverage options is essential to being a good host, but you don’t have to stop at bottled water. Curious Elixirs makes herbaceous bottled beverages mimicking the flavor profiles of classic cocktails, TOST’s sparkling beverage is a great 0 percent ABV substitute for bubbly, and Hella Cocktail Co’s Bitters & Soda cans mimic the refreshment of an ice cold spritz sans booze.