ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Throw A Great Cocktail Party

Updated on December 8, 2013

Throwing a cocktail party is a great way to celebrate any occasion. Better yet, a cocktail party is a great way to have fun for those of us who like to throw parties "just for the heck of it"! A properly planned cocktail party will provide comfort and entertainment for all the different types of people on your guest list. It can also be a great opportunity to introduce some new friends to old acquaintances. Here are some things you should do to make sure your cocktail party is a great success:

  • Set a date and time. Cocktail parties are ideally held on Friday or Saturday. A typical cocktail party should last approximately 3 hours. A practical start time for your party would be somewhere between 6 and 9 PM.
  • Decorate accordingly. Keep in mind the type of crowd you will be hosting, as well as the occasion, if any, that you will be celebrating. Fresh flowers, and candles arranged nicely in the area which you will be entertaining are great for any cocktail party. For special occasions you may want to create a theme for your party. For example, if you are celebrating a college graduation, or an athletic accomplishment, you may want to decorate in the school or team colors. If you are celebrating a recent wedding you may want to decorate according to the newlyweds' honeymoon destination. If this is more of an office or business related cocktail party, I recommend keeping it simple, yet elegant.
  • Be sure to have enough ice. You don't want to run out of ice in the midst of your party. It is better to overstock on ice than to not have enough. Ice will be needed for most mix drinks, as well as any "on the rocks" requests. It may also be needed to chill any wine or champagne bottles you may be serving. A good rule of thumb is to have 1 lb of ice on hand for each guest.
  • Have an adequate selection of liquor. To provide a basic selection which should enable everyone a beverage option they are comfortable with, you should have the following available: wine, champagne, vodka, whiskey and beer. For a more complete bar which will allow your guests to customize drinks to their preference, you may want to consider adding the following: gin, tequila rum, bourbon, vermouth, sherry, and brandy.
  • Have the proper mixers and garnishes. I assume most of your guests will not be drinking the liquor straight-up. If they do, God bless them! Here are the mixers and garnishes you will need to keep the others happy: tonic, ginger ale, cola, tomato juice, Tabasco sauce, lemons, limes, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and of course simple syrup
  • Have the proper stemware. Now you have all the ingredients to open your own tavern, but what will you serve the drinks in? I recommend you have the following handy: wine glasses, high balls, tumblers and martini glasses.
  • Serve delicious appetizers. A cocktail party is meant for mingling, and should not involve a sit-down meal. You want your guests to move around and socialize. Serving finger foods will work toward that goal. You should have a diverse variety of appetizers and snacks, which will provide something for everyone. Some essentials include: at least one vegetarian dish, cheese and crackers, a spicy appetizer, a cold cut tray, a seafood type appetizer, and some simple snacks such as potato chips and pretzels.

Quick Tips

  • Keep the snack bowls full.
  • Limit the amount of seats available for your party. You want your guests to socialize, not be couch potatoes.
  • Consider hiring a professional bartender if you are throwing a large cocktail party. You want to entertain your guests, not serve them.


Add Your Two Cents!

Can you add something to this article? Do you have a great cocktail or appetizer recipe that you would like to share? Do you have a funny or interesting story from a cocktail party you've attended, or maybe some helpful advice? If you've thrown a great cocktail party in the past, please share your advice below, and tell us what made it a success or what to avoid.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Top Rated Recipes profile image

      Top Rated Recipes 

      6 years ago

      Great tips Barkley. I especially like the idea of keeping the menu simple with finger foods. A great way to keep guests mobile and mingling.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great tips for throwing a spectacular cocktail party Barkley. Finger food are definitely the way to go, and if money is not a factor, hiring a professional bartender is a great idea.

    • Duce Arendell profile image

      Duce Arendell 

      8 years ago

      What a great idea! limiting the seats will almost force the guests to entertain themselves and take some stress off of me...Brilliant

    • Dave Cald profile image

      Dave Cald 

      8 years ago

      I am hosting a cocktail party in June, and I am looking for a great seafood appetizer to serve. I am already planning to serve some cocktail shrimp and scallops wrapped with bacon, but I am looking for one more unique recipe. Ideas Anyone???


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)