With cheer in the air and plenty of reasons to rejoice—the holidays are the perfect time for to-do's and ta-da's. We suggest wowing your guests and celebrating the, er, spirits of the season with a swanky yet slightly sassy cocktail party. Here are some no-fail tips for ensuring the night goes off without a hitch:
- Be specific in your invitations on dress, time (including end time) and what is being served food-wise. Casual language will indicate a laid back affair while a formal tone and font will have guests anticipating something fancy.
- To cut down on alcohol costs, mix just a few cocktail recipes and have them be your signature drinks for the evening. Doing this will keep things simple and allow you to make all your mixes beforehand.
- Be sure to include at least one non-alcoholic “mocktail” on your menu so guests who don't drink will still be able to tote around a fun beverage. The classic Shirley Temple mix (Sprite with a few shots of red grenadine) is always a safe bet, but we suggest renaming it something festive such as “Midlnight Sipper.”
- Don’t forget to buy extra ice. It’s a commonly forgotten basic and there is little worse than serving lukewarm drinks.
- Fill a buffet with all types of hors d'oeuvres and finger foods for easy help-yourself bites. Serve both savory and sweet recipes such as our Brie and Onion Marmalade Tarts and Chocolate Fudge Brownies.
- Turn off harsh overhead lighting and stick with the soft ambient glow of lamps, candles and Christmas lights.
- Play music throughout the evening or hire a great local band (some of them will work for beer) to croon holiday tunes as guests sip their cocktails. Doing this will create instant conversation starters and promote a fun atmosphere. Turning the music off at the end of the night is a subtle way of signaling the party’s over.
- Relax! People are much more willing to let their hair down and have a good time if they see you’re doing the same.
—By Emily Arno