Your Guide To Hosting A Cocktail Party

If you’re looking to host a cocktail party, you’re in luck. I’ve got you. See below for tons of info and resources.

Cocktail Party Decorations

If you’re preparing for your cocktail party one of the things you need to decide on is decorations. While you don’t have to have decorations for your party they can add a fun and light atmosphere to the event.

Not all decorations have to be expensive, there are ways to use what you already have or you can borrow for the event. You also can make things like the plates, cups and food elements bring out the party vibes.

Whatever you choose – have fun!

Decoration Ideas for Your Cocktail Party

One of the easiest ways to bring your party to life is by adding lots of flowers. Whether you go with cut flowers or wildflowers they can really add a lot to a party space. Choose vases of different sizes as well as flowers of different heights. Another inexpensive option to set an ambient cocktail space is by using candles. High candelabras, low tea lights, large pillar candles, and all other sizes can be mixed and matched to add a really fun feel to your party. Be sure to choose unscented options in case anyone has scent-based allergies. A final idea is to use strings of bistro lights. These can be hung inside or outside and can be either strung across things or wrapped around objects. Many of these lights, also known as fairy lights come as an LED option so they don’t need to be plugged in.

Gold Cocktail Picks – These do double duty to skewer your snacks while also providing a fun decorative element to your party.

Black and Gold Napkins – These are great for a nighttime cocktail party with a black and gold theme. Or, try these white and gold bar napkins for a lighter color palette. These are ideal for serving with drinks.

If you’re throwing a brunch cocktail party then this set of decorations will come in handy. It comes with a banner, food and drinks cards, and bottle tags.

Plate and Drink in One! These plates are perfect for a cocktail party because they have enough space to put your food as well as a spot to set down your drink!

Plastic Champagne Flutes – If you are worried about glass breaking or you just don’t own enough cocktail glasses for all your guests these plastic champagne glasses could work well for several different types of drinks.

Hanging Fan Decorations – If you want a decoration that is easy to put up and take down – and requires minimal fussing on your part, these hanging fans fit the bill. They can be strung from the ceiling or a chandelier and come in a variety of sizes.

Signature Cocktail Sign – If you decide to have a signature cocktail-party drink, then have a sign created! It will do double duty as a decoration and information point for your guests. If you have more than one drink available, have a sign for each!

Great Gatsby Signs – These fun signs relive the cocktail party era of the early 20th century and make for a simple decoration you can use on walls or on tables.

Neon Light – Go all out and have a custom neon light made for your party! They’re available in all sizes and it will make a BIG statement long after the party is over!

Chiffon Table Runner – This simple table runner is a great way to add some color and texture to your cocktail party decorations. It’s available in several different colors giving you lots of options to customize based on your color theme.

Diamond Confetti – Spread these diamonds all over your table cloths or fill up jars for a glistening, sparkly cocktail party!

Star Glitter Garland – Drape this at the front of tables or as a backdrop behind a bar or tables. It’s very multi-functional.

Champagne Bottle Balloon Garland Arch – A fun balloon arch for your popping bottles cocktail party! Stick it to a large window or wall in your party space.

Cocktail Party Snacks

Once you’ve narrowed down your cocktail party drinks it’s time to start thinking of what the menu should be. As cocktail parties are usually standing events, choosing food options that can be eaten while standing and holding a glass are ideal.

These selections are all appetizers that can be eaten easily while you enjoy the party. They can be either served or prepared and set at a food station. Most of these options also can be served at room temperature so you don’t have to stress about food getting cold or warming up.

It’s a good idea to have a mixture of items so that people who may have food allergies or aversions have something to eat as well. Choosing 5-7 small food options is a safe bet however few people complain if there’s too much food!

In addition to these items, you might consider adding some ready-made options to your party. This could include things like pre-cut fresh vegetables or fruit. Mixed olives or really any antipasto is quick and easy – just make sure there’s something guests can use to skewer their choices.

It’s also a good idea to have extra plates and napkins on hand and garbage bins visible so guests can dispose of their

Puff Pastry Cheese Straws

Easy to make cheese straws make a delicious appetizer. Top with parmesan cheese, sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

Roasted Mushroom Crostini

Roasted mushroom crostini with wine and herbs is an easy and elegant party appetizer and ready in 20 minutes!

Honey Goat Cheese Crostini

A quick and easy appetizer that is perfect for parties! Tangy goat cheese, apples, honey, toasted walnuts, and toasted baguette combine to make a fantastic appetizer.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatballs

Bacon-Wrapped Meatballs are easy finger food that will fly off the platter. Serve with toothpicks so guests can easily serve themselves!

Individual Caprese Salad

Individual Caprese Salad is an easy elegant appetizer that you will wow your guests with at any get-together, little will they know how easy it is to make with our 5 ingredient pesto that is then layered with juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, cheese tortellini, which is drizzled with a sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar served in shooter glasses or mason jars.

Herbed Vegetable Potato Pancakes

Herbed vegetable and potato pancakes with lemon-chive cream are a delicious hors d’oeuvre perfect for a cocktail party. Top with smoked salmon for an elegant touch

Prosciutto Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadews

Goat cheese stuffed peppadews wrapped in prosciutto are a sophisticated appetizer that can be prepped ahead in just 15-minutes.

Smoked Salmon Canapes

Smoked salmon and cream cheese is such a fresh and delicious combination and layered on top of crostini with some cucumber and asparagus it makes the perfect bite-sized party food to really impress your guests.

Marinated Mozzerella Balls

These marinated mozzarella balls are the perfect make-ahead appetizer! Fresh garlic, sundried tomatoes, and herbs give these mozzarella balls a hit of intense flavor.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Phyllo Cups

Sweet & sour chicken phyllo cups are the perfect one or two-bite appetizer for a cocktail party. The recipe is loaded with flavor and texture from diced veggies, slivered almonds, and sweet and sour sauce.

Crispy Fish Croquettes

These golden crispy fish croquettes are the perfect holiday appetizer. Serve them with a tangy mustard sauce for a little extra oomph!

Caesar Salad Wonton Cups

Make these easy to pick up and eat Caesar Salads in crispy wonton cups! Perfect for eating on your feet.

Party Sized Mini Pizzas

Small enough to hold in one hand, pizzettes make fantastic finger food for any party. Make a batch of these small pizzas and add a variety of toppings to cater to all tastes and dietary requirements. There are meaty, veggie, and vegan pizzetta options included.

Chocolate Pecan Rum Balls

These easy Chocolate Pecan Rum Balls are soft and fudgy no-bake treats made with chocolate cookie crumbs, toasted pecans, and a kick of rum. Luscious adults-only treat!

Cocktail Party Drinks

If a cocktail party is in your future plans then you’ll need to start planning the most important part – the drinks, of course! This list of cocktails is a mixture of classics and new ideas for creations. It’s a good idea to have a drinks menu on hand so that you don’t need to have a fully stocked bar.

Or, go with the signature drinks route. Where you choose one, or two or three drinks that you’ll be serving the night of your party. Then you can plan your cocktail party food around what you will have available for guests.

Make sure to have plenty of water as well as some non-alcoholic options for guests who choose not to drink or need a break.

Godiva Chocolate Martini

This Godiva Chocolate Martini is rich, creamy, and decadent. Need the perfect after-dinner drink or dessert cocktail to impress your friends and family? This is one of my favorite Godiva chocolate liqueur drinks of all time!

Pomegranate Moscow Mule

The best pomegranate Moscow mule recipe is easy, pretty, refreshing, and tastes yummy. A perfect combo of tart pomegranate, vodka, spiced ginger beer, and bright lime juice.

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch

Make your party less boring with small-batch Sparkling Pomegranate Punch using prosecco for the bubbly factor! A recipe for a non-alcoholic pomegranate punch is also included.

Grapefruit Vodka Cocktail

This Grapefruit Vodka Cocktail is a fizzy and refreshing drink that pairs perfectly with food. Easy homemade rosemary simple syrup comes together with fresh grapefruit juice.

Skinny Orange Margarita

This Skinny Orange Margarita is perfect for a cocktail party. It’s light, crisp, and easy to drink.

Virgin Moscow Mule

If your guests need a break from the alcoholic beverages, quality and fun should not be sacrificed. Enter these virgin Moscow Mules!

Blood Orange Dirty Shirley Temple

This take on a dirty Shirley cocktail is a fun twist using sweet blood oranges! Make it for a crowd or just for yourself.

Rosemary Greyhound Drink

With rosemary-infused simple syrup, fresh grapefruit juice, and vodka, this Rosemary Greyhound Cocktail is a bright, tart, and delightfully refreshing drink that can be made in just minutes!

Spicy Jalapeno Margaritas

This recipe for spicy jalapeño margaritas is the perfect blend of sweet, tart, and heat with a touch of fizz.

Classic Whiskey Sour

 The whiskey sour is a classic cocktail that is made with lemon juice, sugar, and whiskey. The drink was first introduced in the 1800s. This classic drink is perfect for any cocktail party.

Gin and Tonic

The classic gin and tonic is a light, fresh, and easy 3-ingredient cocktail. Learn how to make a perfect Gin and Tonic at home with this easy-to-follow recipe and guide.

Italicus Gin Sour

This Italicus cocktail contains the exotic flavors of bergamot and camomile. It may look like a classic gin sour cocktail, but the flavors are sure to surprise, delight, and seriously impress.

Cocktail Party Games and Activities

If your guests want to do more than just eat and drink – and let’s be honest there’s nothing wrong with that – there are some ways you can bring in some fun games and activities to make your event even more fun!

Dress-up Photo Booth

This is a really easy activity that you can set up even if you have a small space. Gather together some props, think fancy, fun hats, or vintage eyeglasses. Cut-out mustaches and a mixture of costume jewelry that can be layered on are all fun options. Then set up a polaroid camera or rent a photo booth for the night. You could also make your own photo booth like this one! Guests will have a great time!

1920’s Trivia Game

How much do your guests know? Go back in time to the cocktail party hey-day when you play this game! You can have prizes for your guests or just keep it as a fun activity that people can do while they’re getting to know each other.

Murder Mystery Game

Do you have guests that love to play games and love a good mystery? Then choosing to do one of these games as a part of your cocktail party makes perfect sense! Everything is printable so even if you decide to do this last-minute you just need to print off the materials – no waiting for the mail. There are so many different types available! You might like the 1920’s murder mystery game or Jazz, Gin and Murder

Card Game Table

Set up one corner of your party space, or a separate room if you have the space, for card games. They can be for fun or you can play for money. It will bring out that speakeasy feel as well as some fun and competition for your guests.

Outdoor Cocktail Parties


If your party will be outside you can bring in games like lawn games or have small, portable fire pits throughout the space. This is a good idea if your event is later in the evening or at a time of year when the weather might be an issue. Some good lawn games might be a giant dice game or a giant tower game! A throwback game of lawn croquet is also a good time.

Indoor Party Games

For inside games why not stick to classics like charades, name that tune or name that song. The Drink If game or Table Topics game set are both good ways to learn more about party guests and could be a great idea if your guests aren’t already friends. What Do You Meme is another game that would be a lot of fun especially if your guests are part of the meme generations!

Make it a Competition

Do you have guests that are very competitive? Why not put them to work while they attend the party! Have a cocktail creation competition! Whoever wants to compete gets their chance to mix a cocktail and then it’s judged by the rest of the group. Create some scorecards and criteria in advance so that everyone is on the same grading scale. The winner could get a gift like this really nice cocktail mixer set for use at home!

There you have it some great ideas for games and activities you can incorporate into your next cocktail party. Have fun!

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