Picture of Sarah Scrimshire

Sarah Scrimshire

5 Tips to Hosting a Fun Cocktail Party

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So, you’re planning a cocktail party with your friends/family, but you’re not so sure where to start? I have got you covered! Keep it simple, make sure you are planned and ready to go when the day comes and you will be ready to enjoy the cocktail party for yourself while your friends are having a great time, too! As with any party where adult beverages are served, please be sure to drink responsibly and ensure your guests have made arrangements to get home safely or stay the night with you.

cocktail party

Choose the Cocktail

Plan the beverages you’d like to have. If you’re having a cocktail party, you want to pick two different cocktails with two different spirits- one dark spirit and one light spirit. With so many taste buds and preferences, you don’t want to be stuck with only bourbon if you have some vodka lovers in the house! While you have your two spirits picked, you also want to have some other beverages to have as a backup such as red/white wine and maybe some beer. Think about the guests you are inviting and if anyone has any personal preferences that you can help cater to for them.

For the cocktails, choose two cocktails that have similar and very few ingredients. If you have two different elaborate cocktails, you’re not going to be able to easily prepare any ingredients ahead of time. The cocktails you choose should be simple enough for any of your guests to make on their own or simple enough for any designated cocktail maker to make quickly!

Ensure that the cocktails you make have all the required ingredients and tools laid out specifically. You can make a printout of each drink, the ingredients, how to make, and, how to use the Smokeshow Cocktail Smoker! You can find the steps on our Getting Started page, or make your own! If you choose a cocktail with simple syrup, make sure to make enough the day before and store it in the fridge! If you need any slices of fruit, slice those at least an hour before the cocktail party starts, too. Whatever you can make ahead of time and prepare, it is best to do this!

Browse through our current recipes to find the ones that fit your cocktail party here or look at our e-book for more!

To make easy clean-up, opt for plastic because it can be tossed and nobody will accidentally break a glass-nothing stops a cocktail party in its tracks like the sound of broken glass!

Print this for your guests so you don’t have to try and !

Choose the Appies!

Now, I love cocktails, but the food is probably one of my favorite parts of a cocktail party! This is another category where you want to keep things simple, delicious, and prepared! Finger foods are always the easiest to prepare and for your guests to eat- there is no need for forks and spoons and your guests can grab and go! Think about the cocktails that you are making and if those will go with the food.

The cocktails don’t necessarily haaaave to go exactly with the food, but complimentary food and cocktail pairings are always best! For example, you probably don’t want to pair a super sweet and fruity cocktail with a steak. Think steak and bourbon, gin and crab, tacos, and tequila, etc.

The first appetizer I would choose is a steak crostini– this recipe I have tried time and time again and it is delicious, easy to prepare, and snack on! The steak will pair perfectly with a bourbon cocktail- think Old Fashioned! You can prepare the sauce ahead of time, and either prepare all of the crostinis on a platter or put the ingredients in separate bowls for your guests to create themselves.

If I was doing the steak crostinis, I would then choose some sort of cold or hot dip that would go best with my light-spirited cocktail- think martini! For the dips, individual servings are best so 15 people aren’t all attempting to crowd around one small crock pot! Here is a hot dip and a cold dip that I would choose to make!

Don’t forget the plates! Find those here.

Choose a Theme?

Now, I love a theme! Before starting Smokeshow with my husband, Jack, I was a teacher for 4 years. I used to LOVE a themed day or creating any day to dress up! So, if a theme is your thing, have fun with it and let the guests know ahead of time. If you decide to choose a theme, the cocktails and appetizers will come easier. Here is a list of some of my favorite theme ideas that would be fun to use:

Summer Beach Villa: Pina Coladas, Mojitos, shrimp skewers, grass skirts, and lots of tropical leaves!

Not your Average Joe: Everyone dresses as a famous Joe! Trader Joe, Joe Dirt, Joe Burrow, Joey Fatone, and more! You could do any name you choose!

Cowboys and gals: Bring out the Western wear and the steak! Maybe even some bean dip inside of a bean can!

Old Hollywood: Bring out the fancy glitz and glam, classic cocktails, and maybe even throw in a murder mystery game with this, too!

Generations: Pick a time period or have each guest choose their own time period to dress like! Bring out the flare pants for the 60s or the purple and teal for the 90s! Find popular timeless cocktails and apps!

Have fun with this! Be creative and enjoy!

Games, games, and more games!

Now when it comes to games, you want to make sure you have options for people to be able to break apart from the group and play or have a game that you can play while still enjoying the cocktail party- murder mystery games are the best for this.

Popular games to enjoy:

Cards Against Humanity– this always gets people giggling and talking!

Heads Up– You’ll need a phone for this, but it’s a great guessing game that you can play as a team or in pairs.

Tell Me without Telling Me- I love this game! It is easy to play by either acting out the card, describing with one-syllable words, and more!

Think about the cocktail party you are throwing and the games that could go along with it! Cornhole is always another great game to have!

Send ’em home with favors

Now, when we were kids, every birthday party always ended in a goodie bag! So, why can’t we do that as adults? Send your guests home with something whether it is a mini airplane bottle, some chocolate, or even a bottle of water with 2 Advil tied to it (haha), your guests will be appreciative! Place a tray or basket of the favors by the front door so your guests can easily grab them and go on their way out!

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“Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.”

-B.R. Ambedkar