Fun fact: the word ‘cocktail’ was birthed in America during the 19th century. Its origins are somewhat murky, but the main belief is that when bar keepers stored their liquor in a cask, the last bits of liquor, called tailings, would get mixed together with other casks and the barkeep would sell it discounted.
The mixture was poured from a spigot or cock, thus developing the name, “cock tailings”.
The word has evolved since then and with it a culture of parties revolving around drinking, finger foods, and mingling. With the holidays approaching, cocktail party ideas can be the perfect alternative to an all-out company bash.
10 Cocktail Party Ideas
Here are 10 cocktail party ideas designed to help you throw an unforgettable cocktail party.
Set A Realistic Timeframe
Most cocktail parties being at 6 pm and last two to three hours. This leaves enough time for a larger meal if people need it, and time to prepare for the next day.
Choose A Theme
A great cocktail party has a unique and noticeable theme! Bonus points if you can provide an amazing focal point that clearly defines your theme. It could be a special drink, prop, napkin, or type of food.
Stray from a traditional cocktail atmosphere and try these:
- Fashion Forward
Be sure to specify appropriate dress on your invitations as people do wonder how to dress. If you’re going all out with your theme, suggest costumes.
Have A Stellar Playlist
Music keeps the party upbeat. Create a playlist ahead of time that speaks to your chosen theme.
Send Out Invites in Plenty of Time
Paper invites are classy, but emailing invitations is also an option. Provide at least a few weeks before or even several if you’re planning for the holidays.
Be well stocked on plastic cups, napkins, ice, serving plates, and utensils and toothpicks.
Keep it simple and manageable with finger foods. Try fruit, hors-d’oeuvres, crackers with spread and the like that align with your theme.
Drinks, Of Course!
Drinks are the star of a successful cocktail party. There are two options for your guests, a full bar or a drink menu.
A full bar would require a fully-stocked bar and could get pricey. A drink menu allows guests to choose their drinks based on the spirits available with a provided menu. Or you could use some of the best cocktail mixers for ultimate convenience.
Center your drinks around your theme. Plan for an average 2-3 drinks per person, and have non-alcoholic drinks available for people who cannot drink.
Consider A Caterer
Hire some help if you plan on socializing heavily. Catering companies often employ bartenders and could be a good option. Be a generous host and set out a tip jar for your servers.
Don’t let your guests forget the great time they had! Thank them by handing out goody bags with a theme-centered small gift.
Cocktail parties are low-key, low-maintenance, and high in fun. Planning well with these cocktail party ideas ensure that your guests won’t forget the awesome time they had.
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