Don’t leave it to your iPod shuffle to dictate the mood of your soirée, take time to curate your own playlist. We asked lounge loving DJ Johnny Vercoutre to pick out his top ten tracks to sip cocktails to.

On the record

Johnny says: “Nothing gets your cocktail party going more than creating the right atmosphere. Pick up a vintage record player cheaply on eBay.”

On the drinks front

Obviously we don’t advocate pairing each record to the suggested drink, that would be irresponsible madness – these are purely suggestions for what you could serve during your party.

___________________________________________________________________________ TRACK ONE:

On Days Like These – Matt Monro

“Start with something nice and light but atmospheric to ease your way into the party. This is lovely – it’s relaxing and romantic, slow and subdued – just right for the beginning of the evening.”

To drink? Something light, flirty and fresh like an Aperol Spritz. ___________________________________________________________________________

TRACK TWO:

Orson Welles Great Mysteries – John Barry

“Around 30% of the stuff I play is by John Barry, he created such distinctive soundtracks that provide perfect musical backdrop for cocktail parties and bars. This particular track is the theme tune for the Orson Welles television series, it’s very haunting but distinctive and creates a really good atmosphere.”

To drink? Another easy-drinking cocktail – try a long and cool Tom Collins to perk up your palate.

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TRACK THREE:

Latin Snowfall – Henry Mancini

“You can listen to this one without thinking too much which isn’t a bad thing, it’s one of those gentle instrumental tracks which is there in the background but doesn’t take over from your conversation. It’s from the film Charade and is one of my favourite tracks to play early on in the evening.”

To drink? This calls for an elegant Champagne cocktail – add some elderflower liqueur into the mix.

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TRACK FOUR:

Baby Elephant Walk – Henry Mancini

“Now we start to pick up the pace. At this point in the evening your guests should be nice and relaxed, and this particular track will have them swaying along nicely.”

To drink? It’s Martini time! Go for a Gibson for a retro feel.

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TRACK FIVE:

Sweet Smell of Success – Anita O’Day

“Such an incredible piece of music, it’s so emotive it actually does move me to tears. But as part of your playlist it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the party.”

To drink? A perfectly balanced whisky sour. With its sweet, citrus tang it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

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TRACK SIX:

The Exciting Mr Fitch – Cleo Laine

“Roughly mid-set and it’s time to pick up the pace. This has a sassy secret agent mood about it that works really well for a cocktail party.”

To drink? A slightly bitter, fabulously louche Negroni.

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TRACK SEVEN:

Miss Good Thighs – Burt Bacharach

“From the soundtrack of the original Casino Royale, it’s got a nice slinky feel to it – very cocktail loungey.”

To drink? Why not try a Manhattan?

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TRACK EIGHT:

Let’s Slip Away – John Dankworth and Cleo Laine

“Cleo Laine’s voice is just wonderful at the best times but here it’s in a class of its own. Deliciously seductive – a real audible delight.”

To drink? Take it up a notch with a contemplative Old-Fashioned.

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TRACK NINE:

House of Bamboo – Andy Williams

“It’s always good to slot in something that everyone knows, something to make your guests smile. I love this, it’s unapologetically cheesy, corny and cool – it reminds me of 1950s Soho, beatniks and coffee bars.”

To drink? An Espresso Martini, naturally.

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TRACK TEN:

Beat Girl – John Barry

“Another great John Barry track – it’s one of those tunes that makes me want to fly around the room like a super hero! It’s the title track from the movie of the same name and one of the first British soundtracks to be made into a record.”

To drink? A minty green, retro-tastic Grasshopper. It fits the theme and rounds off the evening perfectly.

___________________________________________________________________________ Johnny Vercoutre is available to create the perfect soundtrack for your party or bar. Contact him via Facebook.com/johnnyvercoutre. From issue 11 of The Cocktail Lovers magazine.

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