Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Planning a cocktail party doesn't have to be difficult! A night of delightful libations with friends should filled with great conversation and memories instead of stress. When it comes to preparing your own soiree, don't become overwhelmed by every detail. Don't get us wrong - we love the little things like swizzle sticks, pretty glassware, and ornate hors d'oeuvres, but the important thing is to enjoy the company of your nearest and dearest! We complied a handy guide for throwing a cocktail party to remember so you can sit back, relax, and have fun! 

Plan Your Menu: Begin planning your food and drinks by choosing a color, flavor, or regional theme for your party to ensure the flavors compliment one another. As a bonus, many ingredients can be used in a variety of ways, which cuts down on shopping time and costs! Decide exactly what you're going to be serving so you can buy the appropriate amount of things ahead of time such as ice, types of plates, and glassware if needed.    

Food: For a cocktail party, we love hors d'oeuvres and finger foods to keep guests appetites satisfied. Instead of preparing a large meal, you can craft an array gourmet snacks so everyone is guaranteed to find something they love. Things like mini quiches, stuffed mushrooms, decadent party mixes, and various chips and dips are always a necessity. Don't forget lots of napkins for easy snacking! 

Drinks: We recommend choosing a few specialty cocktails to wow your guests, and then choosing a simple, classic cocktails with just a few ingredients so you aren't overwhelmed. We love making large quantities of drinks like sangria or margaritas and leaving them in refrigerated pitchers for easy serving and little prep time. Make sure to include a variety of options with versatile mixers like ginger ale, tonic water, cola, or a lemon-lime soda to ensure that you have a plethora of options for your guests to choose from. For your signature cocktails, try infusing them with fresh, seasonal fruity flavors like watermelon, berries, and orange. Here are a few cocktail recipes we would love to include at our next get-together!
1. Spoon Fork Bacon's Arancello
2. Love and Lemon's Jalapeno Margaritas
3. Spoon Fork Bacon's Blackberry Meyer Lemon
4. Love and Lemon's Blood Orange Bourbon

Decor: For any party, be sure to rearrange the furniture in your space to facilitate a welcoming atmosphere and make it easy for your guests to mingle. Shift couches and chairs against walls and facing one another to create places to sit without isolating your guests. We love a touch of festive decor, so feel free to hang a banner or cover your table with a pretty tablecloth that matches the theme you determined for your food and beverages! Even if your space isn't equipped with a full bar, you can always set up a bar cart or fashion a table to function as you bar!

Final Touches: When it comes to the day of your soiree, you should only have to worry about the final touches. Make sure your bar area is prepped by stocking glassware, coasters, and an ice cooler in addition to the ice in your fridge. Any cocktails that require fresh squeezed fruit juice should be prepped the day of, while some appetizers can be prepped ahead of time and just popped in the oven so they are fresh when your guests arrive. 

Images from Style Me Pretty Living

Get Dressed: Once you have all of your refreshments in order, you can change into more dressy attire! For a cocktail party, we love occasion dresses from shift to a-line and fit and flare. A touch of sparkle never hurt, either! The most important thing is that you're comfortable, so make sure no matter what you choose, it's a look you love! For those warm summer nights, a breezy sleeveless dress is perfect for making your way from the patio to the kitchen and back to your living area or dining area. 

There you have it, Ruchettes! Everything you need for throwing a cocktail party that even Martha Stewart herself would be proud of. You can even take a look at our past cocktail recipes here! Enjoy!