The end of the year is near, we all get in the mood to party. May it be celebrating Christmas, parties with colleagues or friends. The last weeks of the year and the first weeks of the new year are a perfect time for cocktail parties. They are easy to plan and glamorous.
When you are PLANNING a party, it will help you when you choose a theme. This doesn't mean everybody have to show up dressed like their favorite movie star, it can be such as a flavour or a colour that is present throughout the party. A creative theme will help you, beside the decoration, to come up with ideas for the menu and the drinks. Start planning in time so you know if you need to buy or rent more glasses, napkins or other things.
How do you want to serve:BUFFET STYLE or BUTLER SERVICE?
COCKTAILS: When you make your choice, think of the theme, make a selection so everybody can find something he or she likes. Make your list of bottles to buy, the according glasses you need. Think also of some non-alcoholic cocktails, not everybody drinks alcohol and some will drive home later in the evening.
When you start choosing your cocktails there is a list of classical cocktails with which you can't go wrong. Try also something new: why don't you go for a beer cocktail? To convince the beer lovers that a cocktail could be also something for them.
SETTING UP THE BAR: arrange the furniture in a way that guest can move around easily. Take maybe the furniture out which you don't need. At cocktail parties guests will be mingling, but I would leave some chairs placed against the walls. In case you have a lot of people coming you probably will choose for a buffet style, having the food and drinks on a long table, or some smaller tables in different corners of the room. For a smaller party you can have the glasses, drinks and all you need to prepare the cocktails on a bar cart. Think of some trays, they are easy to bring the food or drinks in and once empty you can take them back into the kitchen.
An interesting menu doesn't mean that each recipe has to be time-consuming. Take care that there is enough variation in flavour, temperature or texture. Add different nuts, crackers.
Keep the decoration simple, place flowers on the buffet or at the bar. Go for one type or one colour of flower, put more of them in small vases around the room or one big flower arrangement as a statement in the center of the buffet. Stock up plenty of cocktail napkins, in fabric or paper, depending the style of the party.
Think of the lighting as this will help to establish the mood of the party.
Music will get your guests in the proper party mood. Choose your music well, fitting the theme of the party or the atmosphere you want tot create. Create a playlist so there won't be stress at the party. You can ask one of your friends to take care to change a CD if necessary, so you can concentrate on the food, the drinks and your guests.
- go seasonal
- mix no-cook, such as olives or nuts, with recipes you know well to make and why not: try something new
- have some "back-ups"
- start preparing well in time
- make a checklist so that it will be stress-free