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Quick Guide to Cocktail Party Hosting

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Hosting a cocktail party is a popular choice for a social gathering, and has been for a number of years. It is something that is a little more low-key and relaxed compared to hosting a meal, with a little less to plan. It can have a much more relaxed vibe compared to a dinner party, but can still be just as enjoyable as any other kind of social gathering (especially if you get the cocktails just right). However, there are still a few tips and tricks that will help you to make sure that your cocktail party goes off with a bang, as they are a great chance to host and entertain friends and even business colleagues. 

A typical cocktail party will tend to last around a couple of hours, but it can vary depending on what the occasion is. For a reception or an open house, for example, it could run a little longer. For a business event, the timings might be quite strict. So knowing what your party is for can give you an indicator of how long things should last. As there isn’t a sit-down meal provided, just some nibbles, it can be quite an event that is easy to plan; there are so many options available to you. Here are some things to think about, if you’re going to be planning a cocktail party soon.

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Planning the Food

As has been mentioned, a full menu with a dining table for everyone to sit down at is noT necessary for a cocktail party. Keep things pretty simple, because as the name suggests, it is all about the drinks, rather than the food. Some finger foods will be sufficient, with a mix of savoury and sweet. If you’re hosting a reception cocktail party, later into the evening, then you might want to stick to just sweet finger foods like small cupcakes and slices of cake and fruit. It just depends on the time of the day really. Having finger foods means people can graze at their leisure, making it a pretty casual affair. As you’d imagine, knives and forks won’t be necessary, but some small plates and napkins are a must. 

Planning the Drinks

As the name of the party suggests, the drinks are going to be one of the major players at the party; it is what people are coming for. But there are a couple of options for you, when you are planning out drinks. You could choose to host a cocktail party with a full bar. This means that guests can choose to have their drink of choice. It could be more costly, unless all guests bring a bottle, as you’ll need a variety of different spirits and mixers. Another option could be to only serve a certain number or variety of cocktails. You could choose a small menu of four or five cocktails, and then that is all that you need to get in. It can be a more cost-efficient way of doing things, and it can be fun as people get to try something that they might not normally give a try. Having a menu written up on something like a chalkboard can look pretty cute too.

Get Some Help

Even if you are someone that loves to host a party, you will still want to relax and have some fun, which you might not be able to if you’re worrying about making up drinks or are stuck in the kitchen. You will want to socialize with your guests, right? So it could be an idea to call in some help, unless it really is going to be a small and low-key event. If you have friends and family that are coming that will be able to pitch in, then it can really help. You could also look to hire out the work to a bartender, for example. If the party is only going to last for a couple of hours, paying for someone’s time for two hours wouldn’t be that bad; you could even pay a friend of a friend or one of the guest’s older children if they are looking for something to do. So think about what help you might need, and then you can go from there.

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Party Planning Advice

  • If you are going to be sending out some invites, even if it is just through a group chat or a text message, getting in early will mean the best turnout. We are all so busy that last minute invites rarely work. Three weeks is usually a good number of weeks to aim for, unless it is for a busy month like December, for example. 
  • Have plenty of glasses for drinks available. If guests want to try more than one cocktail, then they are likely to not want to have the same glass for all of them. The same goes for napkins and plates too. 
  • It can be hard to know how many drinks each person will want to have. But you need to guess in order to have enough in. It is a good idea to aim for around three drinks per person, as a guide.
  • If you are going to be making cocktails up on the night of the party, then having all of the right equipment in like sugar and lime wedges, or straws and stirrers, can be something that is simple but gives it that wow factor.

All people hosting a party or event that involves drinking, needs to be sensible and aware of what your guests are drinking. It could be a good idea to check what people are having and calling cabs if and when necessary, for example. Having some other options for guests is a good idea as well, so that non-drinking guests like the designated drivers or tee-totallers, can still have fun and enjoy a mocktail or two. With some simple planning ahead of time, you can have an amazing cocktail party, without much effort. Are there any other tips that you would add to the list?

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