Holiday Entertaining: Tips For Throwing A Perfect Cocktail Party
'Tis the season for celebrations big and small. While you may be saving the big celebrations for family in far off places, at home you may want to have your own small shindig to celebrate the season with friends and loved ones. With all of the festive frenzy that goes with the holidays, the best way to keep your party simple and fun without all the hassle is by making it a cocktail party. Here are a few tips for throwing a perfect cocktail party.
You don't have to have a full bar for a fun party. Gather the key components: bourbon, vodka, beer and wine presents enough options for a small group. If you have a lot on your plate, you can streamline your beverage selection to beer, wine and a signature cocktail. Cocktails can be pre-mixed a few days in advance as long as fruit juices are set aside for mixing on the night of the party. Eggnog is a favorite seasonal go-to cocktail. Serving this or a holiday punch in a big bowl saves you time and thought on providing a bold libation for your crowd. To create a little more buzz around the drinks, have fun with the stemware. Serve your cocktails in novelty glasses or use seasonal coasters to give the drinks a little more character and your guests something to talk about.
Remember you're not throwing a party just for your guests; you're throwing it for your own enjoyment, too. That means you have to figure out a way to make sure your guests have enough food and drinks without constantly running back and forth between the kitchen and living room. There are a couple of ways to do this: one is by limiting the amount of hot hors d'oeuvres you serve. You may be able to get away with serving a hot dip or bite-sized meatballs from your slow cooker or setting out a few prepared snacks you can put in the oven for a few minutes. Make them an option at the beginning of the party and when they run out, replace them with cold snacks. Serving cold snacks doesn't mean you are limited to chips and salsa -- bruschetta is a classic hors d'oeuvre best served at room temperature. Tapenades with toast points are also classy and easy to make and serve.
Save rearranging furniture for your baby room ideas. Bringing in extra chairs for people to sit on is probably unnecessary unless you're inviting a lot of people. Guests at cocktail parties tend to stand around chatting and move about to meet new people. Chairs won't go unused, but you won't need to do anything special to accommodate those who want to take a load off their feet.
Beyond Food & Cocktails
It seems like every party runs out of ice, but that doesn't have to happen at yours. This is where cold weather works for you rather than against you. Since you probably don't have enough freezer space to hold enough ice for every drink, stock up on ice and leave it in a cooler on the back porch. If you're making punch, create an ice ring by filling a bundt pan with water (or punch) and freeze it overnight -- it should keep your punch cold enough that you won't have to fill glasses with ice. The other item you want to be generous with is the cocktail napkin. Hands get dirty with food or drinks and you don't want your guests to have to go hunting for something to wipe their hands on. In addition to ice and napkins, make sure your garbage and recycling is accessible. Your waste basket doesn't have to be in the middle of the kitchen, but you want it to be where people can see it so they don't leave garbage in places it doesn't belong.