You are here: Home » Entertaining » A First-Timer’s Holiday Cocktail Party How-To A First-Timer’s Holiday Cocktail Party How-To Entertaining,Featured Article,Holidays,How-To http://relish.com/articles/a-first-timers-holiday-cocktail-party/ by Emily ArnoNovember 28, 2011 Put on your holiday best and host a fun cocktail party this season with help from our easy to follow tips, delicious sips and scrumptious hors d'oeuvres. http://pgoarelish2.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/15177_mandarin_punch_b.jpg Share this: Pin ItEmailPrint 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 Share this: Pin ItEmailPrint Sidecar Cocktail Prepare this old-fashioned classic cognac cocktail for your next big gathering. A First-Timer's Holiday Cocktail Party How-To Put on your holiday best and host a fun cocktail party this season with help from our easy to follow tips, delicious sips and scrumptious hors d'oeuvres. Zucchini Cakes Old Bay seasoning added to these vegetable cakes makes them taste a bit like crab cakes. Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip Silken tofu is the surprise ingredient in this creamy crowd-pleaser.