Planning A Cocktail Party? Here Is Everything You Need To Know
What is a Cocktail Party?
Cocktail parties can be best described as a social affair, however the question, ‘what is a cocktail party?’ has no rigid definitions. They are usually semi-formal evening soirees with a decent number of guests socializing with each other, enjoying themselves over drinks and appetizers. Guests at a cocktail party are usually expected to dress formal, or semi-formal, depending on the hosts’ request. Unlike house parties, it is acceptable to slightly overdress at a cocktail party as compared to the way one regularly does.
Once the pandemic subsides, having a modest and quaint cocktail party at your home can be one of the best ways to decompress and socialize with our loved ones.
Planning a modest cocktail party at your home once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides is just one of the ways we can all slowly begin returning to normal. A small get-together with our friends where we finally get to dress up and abandon the pajamas that we have become inseparable with. It doesn’t take much to throw a cocktail party at your own home, and we are here to help you do it effortlessly and in style.
Easy Steps to plan cocktail party at home
The three most important components of planning a cocktail party are decorations, food and drinks. The other less important stuff like service, music and everything else may not end up making or breaking your cocktail party, but if you don’t get the decorations, food and drinks right, there is no salvation. We begin with the first, albeit less important of the three main components of planning a cocktail party, and that is decorations.
When it comes to decorations, the first step is to pick a theme. The theme of your cocktail party dictates the colour of the dress code, the props and accessories at the venue and everything else. The theme of a cocktail party can be anything you want. It can be something as simple as a ‘black & white’ theme, or the more elaborate and fancy ‘classic 80s retro’. Based on that, you can pick the decorations at the venue from black & white ribbons, balloons and other paraphernalia, to the dress code for your guests.
If you opt for the fancier retro theme, it could include 80s décor, hairstyles, dresses and suits to disco balls, and retro music.
You could even stretch to theme-based props and selfie booths, since they are all the rage in this day and age. Clicking pictures with your guests is a fantastic way to make memories and also preserve them.
Other impressive cocktail party themes that we really like are the Great Gatsby, fantasy, mythology, and even cult classic movies from Hollywood and Bollywood. Our best observation is that minimal themes work best with a limited budget, or a home cocktail party.
One must always keep three things in mind when planning a food menu for your cocktail party. These will allow your guests to enjoy themselves without making a mess, or cause the famished souls to start a panic when the food arrives. The three things you must keep in mind are;
Keep it simple
It is always best to avoid foods and appetizers that are too complicated to serve, and consume. Since the primary objective of cocktail parties are to loosen up and socialize, foods with sauces, gravy and other cooked food must be avoided. Ideally, it would be a great choice to go with cheese platters, fresh fruit, savoury crackers and other easy hors d’oeuvres.
Small Plates & Multiple Snack Stations
Not only are they easier to hold, they also keep the crowd moving and encourage conversation between guests looking for a second serving. Setting up a few snack stations in different places by dividing up the kinds of appetizers you are serving is a good idea. This allows guests to mingle with others and socialize.
Unless you are completely sure of your guests’ and have confirmed their preferences earlier, it is safe to assume that you are going to need options. Vegetarian, Vegan, Low calorie and other inclusive food options are a wonderful way to make your guests feel special. There are some excellent choices for alternatives to typical favourites, and even some innovative new dishes available online.
So we did save the best for last. The drinks menu can make or break your cocktail party since it is the part of any party that the guests look forward to. Drinks at a cocktail party help people become more sociable, unwind and have a good time. Therefore it is important that you allocate a substantial amount of time planning a rock solid drinks menu.
Depending on your budget, you can plan a drinks menu that is either minimal, or comprehensive. When it comes to drinks, you can break them down into two easy parts, the alcoholic beverages, and the cocktails and mixers.
It is always wise to cover the three most popular alcoholic drinks that are all the rage at parties – Wine, Champagne, and most importantly, Whisky. If your budget allows you to purchase a quality option of both red and white wine, along with some champagne, a fraction of the cocktail party must be considered planned.
Next, it is time to pick a premium whisky that delivers great quality, and keeps your pockets from burning a hole in them. Ballantine’s and 100 Pipers whisky are both great blended Scotch drinks that are extremely popular in India. Enjoyed neat, or with a splash of water and a few cubes of ice, they are a whisky with oodles of appeal. If you cannot go for the super-premium luxury drinks like The Glenlivet or Chivas Regal, a bottle of Ballantine’s Finest and 100 Pipers whisky will have treat your guests well
Make sure you print out a drinks menu, and include a limited number of cocktails that will be available. Avoid anything to elaborate, or too time-consuming. Reliable and classic whisky cocktails like the aforementioned Old Fashioned, and Whisky Sour can be accompanied by a few more options.
If you can stretch to add a couple more options to your cocktail party drinks menu, adding some Vodka and Rum would not be a bad choice either. Absolut is an excellent premium vodka brand that you can squeeze into your budget with ease.
Trying to gauge how many bottles you should stock up on? Consider a 4 drink maximum for all your guests, and keep at least some extra as contingency. The drinks that find the most takers should occupy more of your attention like wine, beer and whisky. The rest, unless your guests specify, can take a backseat.
After the complicated planning for alcohol, this must seem like a breeze. Non-alcoholic drinks can include spritzers, ginger ale, lemonade and even a few bottles of cola. Mixers are fairly easy to stock up on, and you might even have no trouble getting rid of any leftovers. For cocktails, you will need lots and lots of ice, and a few basic cocktail making ingredients. Lots of lemons, bitters, oranges, simple syrup and some mint leaves should have you covered to make a few basic whisky cocktails.
Cocktails like the Irish Lemonade, the Old Fashioned, Whisky Sour, Manhattan and Whisky Highball are all some of the easiest and minimal whisky cocktail recipes. They are crowd pleasers and have been around enough to enjoy a classic status. Having even a handful of these drinks served at your cocktail party will really do justice to the name!
If you have your own cocktail bar set, or are looking to invest in one, our recommendations for a minimal cocktail bar kit will help you out. If you are hiring a professional to take care of the bar duties, they usually have their own sets of tools. This could also be a much more suitable option if you do not indulge in cocktails regularly.
We have all felt hard done by the pandemic, and our spirits have been bogged down by the lockdown and ensuing panic. Socializing and hanging out with our loved ones is what keeps many of us feeling exuberant, preserving our happiness. Throwing a cocktail party as soon as the pandemic is over can truly be one of the best ways to meet all your friends and family again.