Creating your own cocktail menu at home is a fun and easy way to fancy up your holiday entertaining. Below, I share a step-by-step guide to creating, designing, and printing your own cocktail menu from a template.
1. Select a mix of cocktails for your menu.
Putting together a cocktail list is a bit like putting together a cheese plate: you want balance. I recommend customizing a little bit to your guest list, too, if you know what they like.
We picked a mix of cocktails that ranged from common drinks our guests would recognize (e.g. whiskey sour) to slightly more adventurous concoctions with ingredients they might not be as familiar with (Last of the Oaxacans).
Some of the drinks are ones we make frequently for ourselves or are super easy—for example, the Paper Plane, a regular in our rotation that takes equal parts of all four of its ingredients. Having a few super quick cocktails made us confident that we could make sure no guests were waiting around for a drink. And five drinks felt like the right number where we didn’t have to get too many additional ingredients beyond what we had in our liquor cabinet already.
For this menu, we selected:
French 75: I like to have at least one sparkling option—the French 75 makes for a perfect aperitif and is also less boozy than the other drinks.
Classic Martini: I normally prefer gin to vodka martinis, but wanted to include something with vodka on the menu—there always seems to be one person who only likes vodka and/or only drinks martinis!
Winter Whiskey Sour: We added a tiny bit of cranberry juice to this cocktail to add pink coloring and a hint of holiday sweetness.
Paper Plane: Though not everyone is familiar with Paper Planes, the classic drink is little bit sweet and doesn’t taste too strongly of bourbon, so it’s typically a crowd-pleaser.
Last of the Oaxacans: This is a mezcal-based twist on the more-popular Last Word. It’s a little bit more on the adventurous side, with what I find to be a bit of a polarizing flavor profile because of the smokiness and the green chartreuse.
(Though not included on the menu, we also had red/white wine and two types of beer available—just in case!)
2. Search for a menu template in Canva.
Once you’ve decided on your drinks, you can start creating your actual printable menu. Canva is my go-to web tool for quick and easy designs. (I use it to create the Pinterest pins and collages you see on my website.) They offer a huge gallery of pre-designed templates for posters, infographics, collages, brochures, social media graphics, etc. Go to “Find templates” on the sidebar and search for a food menu or cocktail menu template to begin your design.
3. Design and customize the menu to make it your own.
I came across this minimalist Valentine’s Day food and drink menu:
And added a menu header in the font “Euphoria Script” to holiday it up. The end result looked like this:
I downloaded it as a PDF for printing. (I ended up paying $3 for licensing of the leaf images, but you could easily replace with other free graphics.)
4. Upload your file to Fedex for printing.
Next, I started the printing process. You could easily use any print shop to do this, but I like FedEx because it’s ubiquitous—and fast. Though FedEx said the menu would be ready next-day, I called ahead to make sure they’d be able to get my request in immediately.
On FedEx.com, I selected FedEx’s “Postcards” option from their “Printing Services.”
I had to customize the printing options in the left sidebar: For this menu, I selected four prints per page, full color, on an 11” x 17” sheet of matte ivory card stock paper. This created four 5.5” x 8.5" menus. You may need to copy the elements of your Canva image into a correctly-sized PDF to ensure it fits well in the FedEx document.
A note on paper: If you want other types of paper not available online, you can call your FedEx location before you place to order in order to make sure your selection is available.
5. Pick up your printed menus at the print shop!
Less than 20 minutes after submitting my order, I got the email notification from FedEx saying that my order was ready for pickup. I had them cut the sheet into four menus when I picked it up. The total came to $2.78 after tax.
In all, I spent about 30 minutes designing and $5.78 between the images and printing. Here’s what it looked like printed: