No sophisticated soiree would be complete without the drinks and when throwing the cocktail party to end all cocktail parties who better to enlist than Simon Difford, founder of Diffords the ultimate online guide for the discerning cocktail drinker and owner of his own bar, located at his house in South London! Here Simon shares his top drinks tips for the Ultimate Party... 1. Keep things simple – It’s important that you make something that everyone will enjoy and often the simple drinks are the most popular. Plus when you’re throwing a party you want to be the perfect host, not be distracted by trying to master molecular mixology. I'd recommend making a daiquiri – so easy to concoct and everyone loves them. 2. Preparation – Master your recipe and batch up the cocktails in advance so all you have to do when the guests arrive is add ice (see point 3) leaving you more time to enjoy yourself. If you’re serving something with champagne in it like a French 75 (which I cannot recommend enough for leaving a lasting impression on your guests!) make the base first and add the champagne when you serve it so it doesn't lose the bubbles. 3. Ice – This is the most important ingredient for a successful cocktail party. There is absolutely nothing worse than warm drinks, so make sure you stock up the freezer. 4. Garnish – Tis Christmas, so be creative and you’ll wow your guests. Play around with decorating your glasses, adding Christmassy foliage to the cocktail, or my personal favourite, hanging a mini candy cane from the edge of the glass – which works really well on the side of a Cosmopolitan (or Christmapolitan!). 5. Glassware – When you’re all dressed up and the party is in full flow, the last thing you want to do is have to wash up glasses – and plastic cups are tacky – so it’s important to get in some extra glassware. A great idea is to buy glasses from a charity shop – who says they need to match, that only adds to the vintage charm! A cocktail bright in colour, like a Harvey Wallbanger, looks great in mis-matched glassware. The best party I have been to was... the opening party for this year’s London Cocktail Week. They got everything right – the drinks, the music, the lighting. It was one of those parties that you think ‘wow’ as soon as you walk through the door. My favourite drink at Christmas is... one of my own creations – Santa’s Christmas Orange. The flavours from the ginger and cloves absolutely epitomise Christmas for me. Santa’s Christmas Orange You will need: 3 dried Cloves 2 shots Courvoisier Exclusif VSOP cognac ½ shot Grand Marnier liqueur ¼ shot Domain de Canton ginger liqueur ¾ shot Freshly squeezed orange juice Method: Mix cloves in base of shaker glass. Add other ingredients, SHAKE with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. Head to diffordsguide.com for more of Simon's top tips and cocktail recipes!