A party where everyone is in agreement is a lost evening. (Albert Einstein)
Do you want to organize a celebration, but don’t have the funds for a gala dinner right now, or do you just not want to spend a lot of time on it? Then, for example, a little cocktail party can be a practical solution to entertain a larger number of guests within the limits of your financial possibilities. Another advantage of such a party is the relatively large time flexibility. It can be arranged in the early evening only between five and seven o’clock, but also before lunch or traditionally from about seven to ten o’clock in the evening. Another, and certainly not insignificant, plus is the fact that it can be organized not only at home, but also in the garden, on a boat, in a club or in unconventional, rented spaces, such as in a museum for example. A small disadvantage is the need for serving personnel. You will need someone to welcome the guests and help them with their coats, another to take care of the bar, and someone to refill plates, glasses, clear away the mess, etc. Here, too, you can save money by getting your teenagers, friends or someone in the family to help out. You can invite guests to the party verbally and/or in writing. It is up to you whether you add an RSVP or not. When deciding who to invite, try to invite people who have as many interests or subjects in common as possible to ensure fun and good conversation. Today, parties with a theme are also common, and often guests also bring some food or drinks to a self-service buffet. In the past, parties were held regularly once a week, or month by wealthy families, for whom it was a form of receiving visits. Guests arrived as they wished, enjoyed small sandwiches, wine, tea, coffee, talked to the hosts and then departed.
Party in the Home
If you are holding a party at home, then ideally in the garden, or designate a single room for it, the largest one possible. This will prevent guests from running around your apartment or house. If not all guests can fit in one room, then create a bar from an adjacent, smaller room and have fun and drink in the other. No expects to be seated at a party, but if you invite older guests or pregnant women, make sure that they don’t have to remain on their feet all evening. Likewise, if you have invited a maximum of ten guests, then they will most likely sit on chairs and couches, so make sure you have enough space for everyone present. Floral decoration and music are always a very nice bonus. If you do not want your guests to wander around the house unchecked, you take the time and mark the way to the toilets. Make sure all rooms accessible to guests are tidy.
Drinks and Bar
Above all, have enough of all kinds of glasses! There are no limits on the offer of drinks. Don’t forget a good selection of soft drinks (sodas, mineral water, fruit juices, etc.), and one non-alcoholic cocktail will be nice to have on hand. As for the alcoholic drinks, have sufficient supplies of white, red and sparkling wine. In the warmer months, there may be a demand for rosé. And of course, don’t forget the beer. For spirits, it would be appropriate to have a choice of at least three types. Choose according to the tastes of your guests. The most popular are vodka, gin, rum, tequila and whiskey. Of the aperitifs, vermouths, martinis and Aperol, for example, are still in demand. You can have Cognac or port prepared as a digestif. To treat the eyes as well as the palate, devote thought to the decoration of drinks and cocktails. The lemon and lime are perennially popular, but fresh mint, basil, herbs or olives also make great garnishes. Also make sure that the bartender is equipped to mix the required cocktails. Usually you can’t do without a bucket and ice tongs, a shaker, a measuring cup, a mixing spoon, a sieve and, of course, a sharp knife. Ask him or her to give guests a small napkin with each drink. This makes it easier to hold the ice-cold glass and prevents water from dripping from the dewy glass. Always have enough ice!
On average, one guest will drink one to two drinks per hour.
One bottle of champagne will provide approximately 5 glasses. (flutes).
One bottle of wine (750 ml) will provide approximately 5 glasses.
From one liter of alcohol, you can make approximately 22 drinks (45 ml each).
When we drink, we clearly have a greater appetite, so, have enough refreshments ready. Obviously, canapés, sandwiches, small Spanish tapas, and mini pizzas are all suitable. You can buy them or have them delivered from a catering company, or make them yourself. There is just one condition –cocktail snacks must be edible without cutlery. Serve them gradually during the evening, always bringing out new types. Six different types should suffice for a party with a larger number of guests. Count on everyone eating two to three servings. If you are planning a party for the whole evening, then prepare up to ten different types. You can also offer bowls with nuts, olives and savory delicacies. Don’t forget the napkins. If it is not just a cocktail party, but also a so-called cocktail buffet, then guests should be given enough food to make up for their dinner. However, serve only those dishes that can remain at room temperature for more than an hour without losing their appeal. They must be easy to handle as guests serve themselves. For light appetizers, count on three servings per guest. As a main course, you can offer one meat and one vegetarian option, always have one portion per guest and one extra portion for each fourth guest. Grilled meats and vegetables are a great tip. Buffet-style refreshments should be set out on a table, where there is enough space for guests to serve themselves. If you are putting out dishes that cannot be consumed without a knife and fork, then you need to think about tables to eat at, and chairs to sit on. If you will serve food on skewers, or sticks, remember to provide a place to dispose of them. Serve napkins and cutlery on one side of the self-service table, plates on the other.
You can dress in anything from charming cocktail dresses for women and suits for men to casual wear for a summer evening drink in the garden. The invitation should provide proper guidance. In any case, try to change from work or day clothes to something more festive.
Duties of the host
The hosts should greet their guests upon arrival and make sure they have something to drink. Ideally, someone else should open the door for them and take off their coats. If it is realistic, as many guests as possible should be introduced to each other, right from the start. Once most of the guests have arrived, the host can move to the main room and check that the people are having a good time with each other and that none of the guests are being ignored or isolated. At the end of the party, the hosts will go to the exit so that the guests can thank them and say goodbye.
Duties of a Guest
There is no need to arrive precisely on time and there is no need to linger until the end. Guests should greet the hosts upon arrival and speak at least briefly with anyone they are acquainted with. Don’t just talk to friends, don’t just stay with your partner or husband. On the contrary, try to talk to at least two guests you were not acquainted with before the party. If you don’t know anyone, don’t hesitate to meet people. Don’t get bogged down in long conversations. Ten minutes of small talk is ideal. Choose appropriate conversation topics and respect the personal space of each participant. If you get caught up in a conversation for a long time, do not hesitate to excuse yourself and move on. You can say something like, “Please excuse me now, but there are so many old friends here I still have to talk to, so my apologies” or “It was so nice to talk with you, but I’m sure you’d like to talk to someone else, too.” An alternative solution is to go looking for a drink or a host. But don’t talk about wanting to leave if you’re going to spend hours more talking to someone else. Before leaving, always find a host to say goodbye to, and thank briefly. Don’t delay other departing guests with a long goodbye. Parties are suitable for meetings and short conversations, not for long private dialogues.
Winding up the party
To end the party, the hosts can use a simple tactic. Stop serving drinks. This will be enough to signal the end of the party.
How many bartenders do I need to hire?
If you are planning a party for more than twenty people, it is wise to hire a bartender. If the guest list is between forty and fifty, two bartenders will be needed.
Where to dispose of used toothpicks and disposable dishes?
Do not put any used items back on the buffet table. Instead, hold them in a napkin until you find a trash can.
When I finish my cocktail, can I eat the garnish?
You can eat the decoration from the top of the glass by hand, remove what is left at the bottom of the tall glass with a spoon. When you drink a cocktail, the only inedible item you should leave in a glass is a straw.