Fine Living Gourmet: Style and Elegance in Entertaining


Let’s Have a Cocktail Party

Published by: Claudine McDonald

  • Feb
  • 8

Entertain your guests with a cocktail party

A cocktail party is a wonderful and elegant way to entertain your guest.  It can be planned for evening, before the dinner hour.  It is one of the most desirable ways to entertain today.  The hostess should first decide on the number of guest that will be invited.

Next, the menu is planned- how many cold canapés will be served and how many hot hors d’oeuvre will be served?   You can serve heavy hors d’oeuvre or light ones.  And, of course, how many different types of drinks will be served.  Also, the table linen and a centerpiece are selected for the table. It can be a very large centerpiece because the guest will not be seated at the table.

Cold canapés, such as fresh fruit, cheese trays, cold dips, and relishes are always placed on the table for guest to help themselves.   They can be picked up with the fingers or a tooth pick. They should also be arranged beautifully on trays and garnished with fresh parsley and fancy cut vegetables.

Hors d’ oeuvre – French for  “ outside the main work”   Hors d’oeuvres should be hot and they should be passed by the hostess on trays to her guest.  Small plates can be supplied to if needed.  The hors d’oeuvre should not repeat the ingredients of the main dish or be similar to it.  They can also be eaten with the fingers and also with a small fork.   A few examples are, caviar on bread or crackers, seafood cocktails, marinated fish, and stuff mushrooms.

The guest should be able to move freely from room to room with small plates of food. If the weather permit, the patio or back yard is a wonderful place for your guest to be relaxed and enjoy friends. The cocktail party should last several hours.  Have plenty of chairs for guest to be seated.

The drinks that will be served are also an important element of the party.  A designated person should be appointed (or hired) to maintain the bar. The bar should be set up away from the table with the canapés.  A fruit punch may be made for guests who are not drinking liquor. Allow two or three drinks per person.