Cocktail parties are one of the best ways to socialize with friends, family, or coworkers. They involve eating and drinking, but the set-up allows for mingling and networking instead of a sit-down meal. They also give guests the freedom to come and go when it works for them, as no one is beholden to cooking and meal times.
Hosting a cocktail party is a great way to bring a lot of your favorite people together. However, as fun as the party might be, putting one together is a big stress. Here is a comprehensive guide to show you everything you need for a perfect cocktail party that you will be proud of.
The first thing you need to have a party is to have guests. You can make a few phone calls or have a group chat for some gatherings. With a cocktail party, you need to send out invitations. Invitations add a little something different to the vibe of a party on this day or easy emails or text messages. Give it at least six weeks, and send out your notes that include the date and time, party theme, dress code, and requests for special dietary needs. Your guests will have plenty of time to clear their schedules, and as they reply, you will also be able to get a better count of how many people are coming.
Since it’s right in the name, you will need to serve cocktails at your cocktail party. Go with some of the classics, but also throw in some unique and original ones if you can. You want choices that appeal to the widest base of people since you probably don’t know everyone’s individual tastes. You can also try something a bit different like a polar bear shot. Whether you make the drinks or hire someone else to do it is up to you, but you must get the drinks right. You should plan this out well in advance since your drink selection might relate to your theme, which will need to be communicated on your invitations.
You can certainly have a cocktail party in your home as it is. However, if you have a theme, you will want the location to look the part, whether that’s your home or somewhere you are renting out. Cocktail parties tend to be classier affairs than your usual house party. Dark colors and mood lighting will always work. You can have splashes of accent colors in certain spots, such as with centerpieces or on seat coverings. If your event is more fun and laid back, then balloons and streamers work, too. It all depends on what you want your party’s vibe.
Since you will have drinks, you will have to have things for them to be poured into. That includes cocktail glasses. If you can find some that will fit your theme, all the better. You should also have regular wine glasses for those who choose to drink that instead. Beer mugs and tumblers are also musts, as some of your guests will want non-alcoholic drinks. Make sure that you also have drinking straws and stirring straws on hand. Many cocktails are best with straws or being occasionally mixed. Since many guests will be switching their drink choices, have at least four times as many glasses available as the guests you expect. If you are using disposable cups, then make sure to have garbage receptacles available throughout the party.
It’s never a good idea to have alcohol and drinks without also offering some food. Finger foods and hors d’oeuvres are the name of the game for cocktail parties. The type of food you serve will depend on the type of party you are having. Feel free to have fun. If you are doing something formal, then have high-cuisine options. If you are doing something fun and relaxed, then pigs in a blanket and cheese and crackers can be just fine. Deviled eggs are a very popular choice for all kinds of events, as are cheeses and mini sandwiches. Make sure you have plates and napkins available around the area for guests to protect from spills.
Music is an important part of any cocktail party. However, remember that the purpose of these parties is to mingle, not to dance. For classier events, a nice jazz background is a perfect accompaniment. It should be upbeat and fun but not too loud to drown out conversation. You can have pop and rock music for more casual affairs, but again, it should not be too loud. If your event is a precursor to a night at the club or a concert, then you can get away with rock and dance anthems, just make sure that the food is put away before everyone starts jumping around.
There are always little extras that you can use to make things to add to the mood and to the festivities. For example, you can order “necklaces” that have glass holders and even small platforms on which guests can put food. This helps keep their hands free from shaking or to avoid not having enough hands to eat and drink at the same time. Also, you can give out fun party favors, like noise makers at a new years eve bash, or leis if you are going with a Hawaiian or tropical theme. These fun little unexpected surprises will add to everyone’s enjoyment.
If you are going to have a cocktail party, you might as well do it right. Make sure you have everything you need to lessen your stress and heighten everyone else’s fun. Following these tips will give you everything you need for a perfect cocktail party.