Get the party started!

Get the party started!

Cocktail parties have regained their popularity in recent times because they are relatively easy to host and can easily be tailored to entertain a wide spectrum of people — from neighbours or family to friends or business associates. Unlike formal dinner parties, a cocktail party menu is more stress-free as one mostly serves appetisers or finger-foods, drinks and desserts.  The typical time slot for a cocktail party is generally only two hours and hence, you can miss guests who might not feel comfortable sitting across from one another at a three-hour dinner party.

 You can also experiment with a wide variety of food on your menu. Since people will be eating little bite-sized snacks from a range and variety, the chances are  everyone is likely to find something he or she will enjoy. The most important part of the cocktail party, will however be — ‘The Cocktails’. Toby Ceccheni, a mixologist from New York was down in the City to popularise American cocktails and had some good advice for wannabe cocktail party hosts. “Keep the cocktails simple and classic using fresh ingredients. Stock up on plenty of ice to chill bottles of wine or serve drinks on the rocks. Be prepared with an assortment of glasses like wine glasses for wines, juice and water, straight-sided highballs for tall drinks, tumblers for spirits and juices and of course, martini glasses. Try not to run out of glasses and use little glass charms so guests can keep track of glasses as they mill about your party,” he advises.

“For a basic bar, you will need vodka, whiskey, wines (red and white) and beer and stock up on mixers including orange or lime  juice, soda, tonic and cola,” he adds.
To set the right mood and tone for the evening, choose music that is soft and subtle and does not hamper conversation. Use soft-lighting supplemented by candles in safe corners, and add little touches like bowls of fresh flowers or fruit. Keep platters of nuts and chips in easy-to-reach places for guests who may be feeling peckish.
Bowls of dips and and vegetable crudities on hand, and platters of bruschetta with vegetarian and non vegetarian toppings on hand, different types of kebabs and small pieces of fruit and sausage threaded onto tooth picks look attractive and will ensure that your guests have plenty to nibble on through the evening without you spending hours in the kitchen. Hosting a holiday cocktail party can be simple and elegant and put together with minimal time, planning and effort.

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