, wants to help hosts overcome their fear of mixed drinks. Too often, she thinks, the beverage selection at adult parties is limited to beer and wine because the art of making cocktails went away with tail fins on Cadillacs and Sean Connery as Agent 007.
“People are paralyzed by an idea of perfection,” O’Hanlon says. “I want to make people less intimidated.”
To that end, she has written two self-published books, “3 Ingredient Cocktails” and “12 Happy Hours,” and writes a blog atthirstyjane.com
Learning to make a simple martini or a classic old-school libation such as a Zombie is useful enough. But the real gems in O’Hanlon’s books and blog reveal the secret psychology of parties, such as figuring out the perfect set of people to invite (people from different circles who are naturally inquisitive), where to place food and drinks (several different locations), and how to get guests out when the party’s over (set a clear end time and enlist a friend to start moving people toward the door).
To taste-test new recipes, O’Hanlon throws monthly happy hours called Final Fridays at her Leawood home on the last Friday of each month. She uses Evites, which go out to a standing list of 40 potential guests who are asked to RSVP so she knows how many to expect. Typically between six and 25 people accept.
A recent party had a whiskey theme so guests could sample and taste the differences between single-malt whiskeys, blended whiskeys, bourbon and rye. The parties always include questionnaires and rating sheets for guests to fill out, a neat device for sparking conversation as well as education.