Want a fun way to get together with your friends for an evening of adult conversation and delicious food? Consider hosting a cocktail party. You don’t have to be a connoisseur who’s willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a single bottle of wine or an expert mixologist. All you really need is drinks, friends, and food. With a few simple steps, you can enjoy a relaxing and unique evening with your friends.
1. Create a Guest List
Having a house party packed to the rafters with guests may have been a great option in college, but for a grown-up cocktail party, try to keep the guest list a little smaller. Focus on inviting guests who you think will get along well and enjoy similar things. Make the invitation match the tone of your party: a simple text for a low-key evening or a mailed invitation for a more formal occasion.
2. Make It a Potluck
One of the most stressful parts of hosting a party is having to prepare all the food, drinks, and decorations yourself. Make it easier and more interactive by asking guests to bring something. It can be food, such as an appetizer or dessert, or a drink, such as a favorite bottle of wine. Having everyone contribute something also ensures a diverse spread of delicious options.
3. Set Out Some Games
For some people, the thought of having to make conversation with people they don’t know well can be stressful. Provide some laid-back ways to break the ice by setting out several games. Make sure guests don’t feel required to participate; set aside one corner of the room for conversation to give introverted guests an easy way to get some space without leaving the party altogether.
4. Include Some Non-Alcoholic Options
Even if you know everyone on your guest list enjoys alcohol, it’s still a good idea to offer at least a couple non-alcoholic options. Along with water, consider providing lemonade, tea, and coffee, so guests can continue to participate in the party even if they choose not to drink.
5. Create a Signature Drink
Creating a signature or “house” drink is a great way to add a flair to your party. You can get creative and develop a brand-new drink. If mixology isn’t your thing, choose a classic cocktail you love (e.g. an old-fashioned, gin and tonic, or martini) and practice making it until you have it down pat. You can impress your guests by mixing a drink quickly without having to measure the ingredients individually.
6. Offer Sweet and Salty Snacks
When you’re coming up with the menu for your party, make sure to include both savory and sweet options. You can go with a casual menu if you want to keep things simple: chips and dip, wings, mixed nuts, and cookies. For a more refined evening, consider serving traditional hors d’oeuvres: caviar, quiche, tartlets, and a cheese board.
7. Don’t Forget the Wine
Not everyone who enjoys alcohol like cocktails. Make sure to offer a couple other options, such as beer, hard cider, and wine. You don’t have to go overboard: A couple types of beer along with red and white wine should be enough. Do a little research beforehand so you can select good options within your price range. You don’t have to spend hundreds to enjoy a beautiful Merlot and the best chardonnay.
If you want to throw a unique get-together for your friends, a cocktail party is a great way to go. You can keep it simple by asking guests to contribute food. Make sure to offer several types of cocktails, wine, and beer along with a few non-alcoholic options. Having some games on hand can make it easier for everyone to interact and get to know one another.