How to Host a Virtual Happy Hour ~ just because we’re on house arrest these days doesn’t mean we can’t hang out with friends…virtual cocktail parties are all the rage right now, so prop up your phone or laptop, grab your drink, and let’s toast to keeping in touch!
DOWNLOAD THIS IMAGE to use on social media to get your own party started.
We had virtual drinks with old friends who live across the country last night and it was a blast. So good to see them and chat together on Zoom, from one locked downed state to another. It’s such a fun way to keep connected with friends and family right now, whether they’re far away or just down the block.
How to host a virtual happy hour on your computer
- Skype is ideal for computer or laptop gatherings. It’s free and easy to use. Just initiate a video call with one contact and then click the “add contact icon” (the little person with a + sign) to include more people, up to 10. If you don’t have it on your computer, you can download Skype here.
- Google Hangouts and Google Duo are both similar video chat apps and they can be found in Google’s “app launcher”, just click the grid of nine little dots in the top-right corner of most Google pages to find them. It’s free to download the Google Hangouts app and the Google Duo app. They’ll work on your computer or android phone.
- Zoom has a free plan that will allow you to host a virtual party for up to 40 minutes. Sign up at zoom.us.
- Gather has free and paid plans and offers a game-like environment with private rooms, custom ‘maps’ etc. It’s a little bit more complicated to learn, but has a wide range of possibilities for sharing time together.
How to host a virtual happy hour on your phone
- FaceTime. You all need to have apple devices to do this. You can set it up as a one-to-one video call or set up a Group FaceTime with up to 32 people. (You need iOS 12 model phones or newer to do group facetime) Set your phone on a stand or lean it against something to prop it up during your call. Get full instructions here.
- Skype (details above) can also be used on your phone, down load it for mobile here.
- Google Hangouts and Google Duo (details above) for those with Android devices.
Ok you’ve got the techy aspects covered, and you’ve poured your favorite drink…now on to the all important nibbles ~
Toasted bread topped with cheese and whatever else you’ve got lying around the larder is the perfect, cozy appetizer to make with minimal ingredients and effort. The audible crunch and gooey cheese pulls will drive your friends on the other side of the screen wild.
Making hummus is super easy ~ put that can of chickpeas in the cupboard to good use or use your Instant Pot to cook dried beans in a jiffy. Depending on what you’ve got around, I have soooo many good hummus recipes on the blog. Use that search bar!
A few potatoes and a bit of oil and salt morph into pure decadence after a short stint in a hot oven. With snacks like this you won’t miss your local hangout one bit. Try my Easy Onion Strings while you’re at it.
Roasted olives are effortlessly chic and so delicious. Mix and match whatever you like from the supermarket olive bar or jars in your pantry. Baking with herbs, lemon, and little chunks of feta cheese transforms plain olives into something wonderful. Speaking of feta, if you’ve got some in the fridge, try my Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemon.
Focaccia is bread making for dummies, you can’t mess it up! It’s irresistible with olive oil and sea salt, but if you’re lucky enough to have options, it’s the perfect canvas for all sorts of toppings. Slice it into thin strips for the cocktail hour.
If you’ve got a block of cream cheese in the fridge or freezer, and some garlic, dried herbs and spices, you’re set! And if you’re fresh out of crackers, make your own Seeded Crisps.
When you can’t get to a bar, bring the bar to you…the bar mix, that is. Throw anything and everything into this classic mix, it’s all good.
I know, I know, you’re lucky if you’ve got a half bag of baby carrots in your crisper, but don’t let that stop you from making a fresh crudité platter. It’s all about the dreamy dip anyway.