February 13, 2006

Cocktail Parties 101

a ROOSTER with a COCKTAIL!To be honest, most of our parties aren't your typical "pinkies-up whilst you sip your umbrella drink" affairs. In fact, usually when we throw a party it lands hard and something gets broken. But that's not to say we'll never grow up, and we think it's important to know how to throw a swanky party - who knows when you'll need to impress your boss, your S.O.'s parents or your parole officer.

Most of the tips we came up with on our own were along the lines of "make sure to have plenty of vomit buckets accessible," so we didn't trust ourselves to be your only resource. We've found some very basic tips to give you ideas for your next cocktail party, and we'll keep digging around for more.

  • Choose your guest list. Invite people with different interests who might not otherwise meet. Throughout the party, be sure to introduce your guests to each other and give them topics to discuss.

  • Send invitations via snail mail. Make your guests feel special when they receive something other than virtual mail. Choose invitations based on your theme. Don't forget to specify attire in the invitations. You don't want to make your guests feel uncomfortable by having one person show up in a party dress and another show up in jeans.

  • Select your party area. Whether the party will be held in your house or at a rented space, be sure you have areas designated for specific purposes. Set up a place for the bar, seating, mingling and a dance floor, if desired.

  • Prepare the appetizer menu. Ideally, you should have equal amounts of cold appetizers and warm appetizers. Throw in a few desserts for good measure.

  • Set up drink accessories. These are the memorable touches that will leave your guests "ooohing" and "aaahing." Have plenty of kitschy items like plastic swords and paper umbrellas on hand. Cut up different types of fruits and vegetables and place colorful toothpicks in them. Of course, have a wide array of funky glasses available. Bar towels, an ice bucket and tongs, and cocktail shakers are other good ideas.

  • Select music for the party. Choose tunes that will keep your guests grooving all night long. Again, keep your music in line with the theme. Think of the tone you want to set for your party and make sure the music will reflect it. Does your ideal party involve dancing? Do you want soft, mellow music so your guests can focus more on conversation?

  • Plan the drink menu. This is the most important step for a successful cocktail party. Select drinks that maintain your theme. If you're having a retro '60s party, serve Cosmopolitans. If your theme is tropical, serve Tequila Sunrises. Consider using pre-prepared drink mixes to simplify your job without compromising on excitement.
Check out Cocktail Parties 101 for more tips, plus you'll find recipes for drinks including Cosmos, Gimlets and Mojitos. The recipes call for something called Daily's Fruit Mixers, but you can use whatever ingredients you have around, of course.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at February 13, 2006 10:33 PM
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