Guest Post by Vick Norris:
With summer brings neighborhood outings and what better way to get the group together than a fun cocktail party? Providing the right atmosphere is just one of many qualifications for the perfect after-work party. The recipe to a successful cocktail party is flowing conversation, the right drinks, tasty foods and the best outdoor furniture around.
Here are some tips to help you throw together a fun summer cocktail party at home.
A cocktail party is easier to pull off compared to a full dinner party. But it still requires a lot of planning if you want it to be successful. Don’t wait until two days prior to the event to start deciding what drinks to prepare and who to invite. Give yourself at least a week to work out the details. Here are all the areas you should cover:
2) When and what time
Cocktail parties are typically held in the late afternoon or evening when people have just ended their workday. Plan for a start time of around 4pm though you can also start as late as 6pm. That leaves the date. You can choose any day, but you may want to go with a Friday or Saturday when your guests are in a more upbeat mood.
Drinks are at the center of the party, so it is important that you choose the right ones. Create one or two signature cocktails specifically for the party. These will be easy and less time-consuming to serve during the party. You can then have a few other drinks available for those who want to try something familiar. Some good examples include rum punch, pineapple Rosé Sangria and cranberry spritzer. You can prepare most of these cocktails in large batches that are easy to serve. Don’t forget to prepare some non-alcoholic drinks for the teetotalers or kids if there will be some at the party. Also, good to have around are lemon and lime slices, a couple packs of beer, soda as well as some gin and vodka in case someone wants to mix their own drink.
This is an important one; just as important as the drinks. Good cocktails need quality ice. So, make sure you have plenty of it ready. The best ice for cocktails is nugget ice. This is the soft chewable ice sold at Sonic Drive-Ins. You can also use normal ice cubes or clear gourmet ice. The easiest option is to buy bags of ice at the store a day or two in advance. You can also freeze ice in your freezer and store it in plastic bags. But the best option, especially if you hold cocktail parties often, is to get a nugget ice maker. It makes a lot of ice quickly and the ice is perfect for cocktails and margaritas. You can get a full-size under-counter nugget ice maker or a portable one. Visit icemakershub.com to compare the best nugget ice makers and find the best one for your needs and budget.
5) Patio Furniture
With the beautiful summer weather we hope you will have on party day, you want to make sure everyone is comfortable and those that want to sit can do so. Having some sturdy patio furniture that can fold completely flat and easily be moved out of the way when needed is the perfect solution. Try some Blue Ridge Chairs, an Outer Banks Chair and maybe even an XL Deck Chair to make sure everyone is comfy! Scatter some tables around the area such as the Pisgah Forest Folding Table as easy out of the way options to set your drinks on.
Serve plenty of snacks. They not only provide good conversation starters, they also ensure your guests are not drinking alcohol on empty stomachs. Have a wide variety of snacks including finger foods, healthy bites like carrots and celery, crackers, dips and whatever else you think will go great with your guests. Do you Need Help? You don’t want to spend the whole evening mixing drinks and serving your guests. You are much more important out in the crowd helping people mingle and have fun. If you can get a friend or family member to help you out with the drinks and food, that’s great. Or you can also hire a bartender to focus specifically on mixing signature cocktails while you have fun.
7) Send Detailed Invitations
Now for the most important part; your guests. I know you already have a rough idea of who you are going to invite. Draw up a definitive list noting the number of people your house can accommodate. Keep this number in mind when planning the amount of drinks and food to prepare. Once it’s ready, send out invitations. You can go old fashioned and send them cards or simply shoot them an email. What matters most is not how you let them know there is a party, it’s what you tell them. Make the invitation detailed. Do not leave them guessing about what to wear, who to bring or what time to show up. Include details about the day and time (including how long the party will last), venue and dress code. I also recommend sending them a menu of drinks, so they know what to order when they arrive.
8) Provide a Warm Welcome and Encourage Mingling
Plan such that half an hour to the start time you are ready to receive guests. Welcome them warmly and make them feel welcome. As the party begins, people will be a bit awkward at first and will tend to stick to people they know. Encourage mingling by introducing people to each other. Make sure you’ve created a spacious standing space by moving furniture and other items to the wall.
9) Music and Decorations
Go minimal on the decorations. This is not a birthday party. A couple vases of flowers are enough. For outdoor parties, a string of lights will brighten up the atmosphere. Don’t forget to have some good music going. It makes a big difference. Prepare a mellow playlist ahead of time and set it on low such that it is in the background.
10) Plan for Cleaning
Save yourself the hassle of cleaning up afterwards by having a table setup specifically for used glasses. This will make it much easier to wash them later.
Author's Bio: Vicky is a legal professional who enjoys researching, reviewing and writing about the latest developments in home appliances. A fan of saving money, Vicky started IceMakersHub when it became clear that a whole new class of less-expensive portable ice makers was destined to replace what used to be an expensive built-in kitchen upgrade.