BRIDAL SHOWER: Offer up different options than simply the usual champagne. Tea cocktails, which is a mix of tea syrup and sparkling wine, is great to change things up. Another good option is kir (white wine with crème de cassis) or bellinis (sparkling wine with peach puree/nectar for something that's more feminine/sweet/fruity/fun.
CO-WORKER PARTY: Dina Cheney, author of The Tasting Club, recommends a formal wine-tasting to break the ice. You can try starting with three red wines, ranging from light to full-bodied, and three white wines, ranging from dry to sweet, and pair them up with complementary cheese (like Gewürztraminer and swiss or Cabernet Sauvignon and blue cheese).
BEST FRIENDS PARTY: "If there's a theme that unites you, re-create that moment," says Karen Page, coauthor of What to Drink with What You Eat. "Serve something that bonds you again." If you all have a love for France, choose a selection of French wines. If you know your buddies' favorite drinks, it's always a good idea to have those on stock, suggests NYC party planner Soraya Jallon. Or, have a variety. "I'd choose one to three featured drinks depending on the occasion and season at hand. Why not fun-flavored martinis?" says Cheney.
DIVORCE PARTY (What? Never been to one??): Think about it this way: an ending can be a new beginning too. And your friend probably needs her "spirits" lifted, so try wine or champagne — it's festive and your celebrating a fresh, new start!
WEEKEND PARTY: "Mint juleps are delicious and perfect for a weekend hangout," says Cheney, who adds that the drink is associated with lazy days and relaxation. "Then again, you can never go wrong with fun mojitos!"
WEEKDAY OFFICE PARTY: If there's a no-alcohol policy, opt for virgin lemon spritzers, which consists of syrup, lemon juice, sparkling water, and fresh mint. For a weeknight office party, simple wine and beer is appropriate, depending the formality of your office.
HOUSEWARMING PARTY: When you think home, do you think "comfort" or "relaxing"? We do too, so go for a cozy, aromatic option, like a spiked apple cider or mulled wine (especially great in the colder months). For a housewarming in the summer, a giant bowl of rum punch fits the bill.
BACHELORETTE PARTY: This is your excuse to be a little naughty, and go straight for the "Sex on the Beach" cocktail. SATC fans, pink cosmos are in order. But, if that's a little too racy, go for a sweet, decadent drink, like a Mudslide with Bailey's Irish Cream and Kahlúa.
BON VOYAGE PARTY: You want to send your friend or family off right, but not give the wrong celebratory message champagne would. "Sangria is a fun drink from overseas, plus a perennial fav!" says Cheney. Or, choose a drink from the destination, like a vodka-based drink if the guest of honor is going to Russia, for example.