A cocktail party is a great way to bring together friends, old and new, over a few drinks and snacks in a fun atmosphere. Since cocktail parties usually only last a few hours and don't involve a sit-down meal, they're pretty easy to organize. Choose the right place, gather all the ingredients and organize an unforgettable cocktail party!
Part 1 of 3: Choosing the drinks
Step 1. Prepare one or two specialty cocktails
To make the evening unforgettable, prepare a cocktail of its own! By making a signature cocktail or two, you'll also avoid unnecessary stress. You'll be able to focus on your guests and make sure they have a good night out, instead of being stuck behind the bar making complicated drinks.
- For example, prepare a rum punch. You will prepare it in anticipation and in sufficient quantity, so that your guests can all have a drink when they arrive.
- Also, whip up some signature mocktails, like a non-alcoholic peach punch, for guests who would rather not drink alcohol. This will be particularly important if children are present at the party.
- Tell yourself that each guest will drink 1 to 2 glasses per hour. Take into account the number of your guests and the length of your party, in order to get an idea of the quantity of drinks to plan.
Step 2. Fill your bar
While making a signature cocktail or two will save you the hassle of answering too many requests, still make sure you have enough to make other cocktails and please your guests. If your guests are happy, everyone will have a great time!
- Plan different types of beers, as well as red and white wines, for guests who don't want to drink cocktails.
- Have basic spirits on hand, such as whiskey, gin, tequila, brandy, rum, and vodka. You'll be able to whip up a martini in no time!
- Don't forget the soft drinks and toppings. Basic carbonated drinks include tonic, sparkling water, and different kinds of soda. Cut lemons and limes, which you will just have to place in the glasses. When a guest asks you for a gin & tonic, you can prepare their drink in two steps.
Step 3. Obtain suitable glasses
You will need to plan for different types of glass, depending on the type of drinks you will be offering. Plan around twice as many glasses as there will be guests: at a party, glasses are always broken!
- If you don't prefer to invest in a large stock of cocktail glasses, you can always rent them.
- You will need wine glasses, tall straight-rimmed glasses, pints for beer, small shot glasses for liqueurs, martini glasses and champagne flutes.
- Provide glass markers for your guests, so that they can identify their glasses. This is because people will walk from one group to another and might not always remember where they put their cocktail.
Step 4. Provide enough ice
During a cocktail party, your stock of ice will decrease quickly. Provide enough. Keep in mind that you will be using the ice cubes for your cocktails, but also to keep the bottles cool.
- Large ice cubes will melt less quickly in cocktails. Choose ice cube molds large enough and prepare your ice cubes in sufficient quantity.
- Do not take out all your ice cubes at once to make them available to your guests. They will melt! Keep some in the freezer.
Part 2 of 3: feed the guests
Step 1. Plan some snacks
Since a cocktail party does not usually include a sit-down meal, you will need to provide plenty of snacks for guests. Alcohol doesn't mix with an empty stomach! Tell yourself that each person present will eat 2 to 3 appetizers.
- The great classics include the cheese and charcuterie platters, served with olives, nuts or fruit plates.
- In addition to savory appetizers, also plan some sweets, such as cookies.
Step 2. Prepare only a few dishes, but in large quantities
Aperitifs are not always easy to prepare. To make the evening's preparations less complicated, prepare large batches of a few simple dishes. A table covered with plates and bowls will look better than a few scrawny platters, even if the food is very varied.
This will allow you to easily fill the trays that are starting to look sadly empty
Step 3. Prepare easy-to-eat snacks
Avoid complicated appetizers, which you have to sit down to eat, with a plate and cutlery. It will be easier for guests to chat with each other while enjoying small, simple things that they will eat with a napkin and a toothpick.
Meatballs on a toothpick or cheesecake bites are always popular and very easy to eat
Step 4. Serve vegetarian options
It will always be good to plan vegetarian options for friends who don't eat meat. For example, plan a salad platter, which can also be tasted by vegan guests.
If you have time, make a vegetarian bruschetta. Otherwise, prepare a simple sauce, for example with spinach and artichokes, to eat with crackers
Step 5. Consume local
By choosing local ingredients, you will participate in the economic development of your region and you will offer a very good topic of conversation! It will be a good way to break the ice with your guests and encourage those present to interact with each other.
Part 3 of 3: Prepare the Party Venue
Step 1. Set the start time for the evening
Do not forget to indicate on your invitation the time when you expect your guests. Cocktail evenings usually only last 2 or 3 hours and take place between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Step 2. Inform your guests of the dress code to follow
There is nothing worse than arriving at a party and realizing that you are not dressed the right way. Make it clear to your guests whether you expect them in cocktail attire or casual attire.
If the evening is on a weekday, opt for a casual event. Save the stylish outfits for weekend parties or those given for a special occasion
Step 3. Arrange the furniture in such a way as to facilitate circulation
At cocktail parties, people often stand and move from one group to another. You will need to make sure that guests do not trip over your furniture. Place seats in small groups, for people who want to sit down. Also plan tables, a little everywhere, where the guests can put down their glasses, while they chat.
Step 4. Play music
Prepare a playlist and play it as soon as the guests arrive. Thus, the environment will be more welcoming and you will avoid the annoying blanks of the early evening.
Step 5. Decorate with small touches
No need for amazing decorations to make your party look elegant. Just add a few small items, like bouquets of flowers in vases, to bring the decor to life.
If your party is being held outdoors, install string lights, to create a festive mood and ensure your guests can see wherever they go
Step 6. Prepare for the household
Set up a table where guests can drop their empty glasses or ask a friend to help you collect empty glasses throughout the evening. This will make it much easier for you to clean up the day after the party.
Make sure your dishwasher is empty, so that it can accommodate all your empty glasses
- If some of your guests are coming with their children, plan a space for them, with some distractions.
- As the host, it will be your responsibility to ensure that your guests return home safe and sound. If one of your guests can't get behind the wheel and no one can walk them home, call a cab and pay the bill.