Yes, there is a way to game with your friends while staying safe and apart.
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Heading into the cooler months, a friend recently lamented, "At least during the summer, we could gather outside while social distancing! What will we do now that it's cold and rainy? Soon it'll snow, and I'll never see anyone!"

"I know, I really miss game night," I said, and then it hit me: Why couldn't we bring it back virtually?

My family hass been using Zoom to connect since April, and it's a remarkably fun and easy way to feel less isolated during this extended time at home. And certain games really lend themselves toward that platform, particularly once my son (my 12-year-old IT expert) showed me how to share a screen during a recent Zoom conference with his teacher.

"We can do this," I told my friend. "We can make game night happen."

"Please tell me they'll be cocktails?" she begged, remembering my husband's signature margaritas. And after that it was game on! 

How to Host a Fun Virtual Game Night

A tiny bit of planning is all it takes to pull off the perfect game night experience. Just pick the game in advance and brainstorm a clever accompanying cocktail recipe to match. You'll choose the number of guests based on the number of participants you need.

For example, my family loves Pictionary, and that is an easy game to adapt to Zoom. This short video shows exactly how to turn on the whiteboard and 1:1 private chat settings before you begin:

Then you play! This is a great option for larger groups of friends and family, and it's so fun.

Our accompanying cocktail of choice for Pictionary is the Frida Mezkahlo, in tribute to one of our favorite artists. You'll see a variety of recipes for this all over the internet, but our favorite is this simple, spicy take on the classic Moscow Mule.

Fill your glass of choice with ice and add:

  • ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ½ oz Mezcal
  • ginger beer to the top
  • chopped jalapeños stirred in (optional)

More Virtual Game and Cocktail Combos

Yahtzee

This game has been around since the 1940s, though other similar dice games have been around even longer. And there's a reason it's still a hit — it's fun for all ages. As long as everyone has five dice ($8/50 pack; amazon.com), it's easy to play and keep score on Zoom.

And adults will love the accompanying Dark & Dicey, our riff on the Dark & Stormy. It shares several ingredients with the Frida Mezkahlo (above), in case you want to double up on game night.

Fill your glass of choice with ice and add:

  • ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ½ oz spiced rum
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • ginger beer to the top
  • 1-2 mint leaves stirred in

Never Have I Ever

This adults-only game is perfect for Zoom and shooters. Everyone takes a turn making a "Never have I ever ____" statement, and anyone who's actually done it… bottoms up! This can be made family-friendly, of course, though your kids might not want to admit to any of their misdeeds!

Our favorite drink for Never Have I Ever is the Mind Eraser. Because who wants to remember all our sins?

We like to take this fantastic recipe, and tweak it into shooters.

In a shot glass (preferably shaken with ice first):

  • ¾ oz Kahlua
  • ¾ oz lemon-line soda
  • ¾ oz vodka

Use Your Words

You may not have heard of the game Use Your Words, but play it once and you'll see why so many people love it. The game is played on Steam or a video game console, but it's easy for anyone to join on their computer once the game is started by the host.

A variety of movie and television clips from around the world are shown, and it's up to the players to add the subtitles. The results are hysterical. You can play the family-friendly version or the risqué adult version, and there are hundreds of clips, so you can play over and over.

The obvious cocktail accompaniment for Use Your Words is The Last Word!

Add the following to a cocktail shaker:

Fill with ice and shake, then pour into a coupe glass.

Related: Browse mocktail recipes to add non-alcoholic options to the fun.