After a brief reprieve where knowing how to host a cocktail party wasn’t necessary, your events are set to return with a bang in 2023. Now that Australia is open again, 2023 is set to become the best year in memory for cocktail parties. To make sure yours return in style, you’ll need to plan the theme, food, and drinks meticulously.
What is a Cocktail Party?
As intimate social gatherings, cocktail parties are events where guests delight in refreshing drinks and light snacks. Cocktail parties found fame in the early 20th century when mixed drinks before dinner became all the rage. To this day, they’re a fun way to socialise in a relaxing environment that benefits from a touch of glitz.
Cocktail parties are perfect for gathering friends together and getting to know colleagues in an informal setting. Hosting a cocktail party requires careful planning. But there are lots of ways to have fun with the process.
How to Host a Stylish Cocktail Party?
If you’re ready to host your best cocktail party to date, you’ll need to plan your theme, choose food, select drinks, and consider your guests’ requirements. The cornerstone to your success is plenty of pre-planning. Whether your proposed date is weeks or months away, there’s never a wrong time to start.
Cocktail Party Planning
If you’re not sold on the idea of choosing a theme, consider this: once you have your theme in mind, everything else falls into place. You can use it to inspire your preferred food, drinks, and decorations. Selecting your theme helps you significantly narrow your options and gives you a rough blueprint from day one.
After creating your theme, think about who you want to invite. Getting rough guest figures in mind now makes it easier to select a venue, create a budget, and calculate what you need regarding food and drinks.
Once you know your numbers, think about your guest selection. Will you need to give special consideration to specific guest requirements? For example, if many people at your party don’t eat meat, you’ll need to select some delectable vegan snacks.
Having your proposed theme, guest numbers, and guest requirements in mind acts as the perfect foundation for the next phase: choosing your cocktails and food.
Party Cocktails and Other Drinks
One of the biggest challenges with hosting a cocktail party is the cocktails themselves. Your task may be easier if you’ve already chosen a theme. If you haven’t, you can always select your cocktails based on what your guests will like.
Specific cocktail classics have a strong chance of working well at almost any party. You can try:
- A Gin Fizz: Shake 50ml of gin with a splash of lemon juice and a dash of sugar syrup. Top with sparkling water, then serve with ice and a slice of lemon.
- Espresso Martini: Add 50 ml of espresso to 100 ml of vodka, followed by a coffee liquor and three coffee beans.
- Aperol Spritz: Add 150ml of Prosecco to 100ml of Aperol. Serve in a large wine glass with ice.
Of course, not everyone who attends your cocktail party will want to drink cocktails. To satisfy everyone’s cravings, stock a mixture of wines and beers too. Add plenty of mixers, such as tonic water and lemonade, so your guests can request simple mixed drinks.
Around 23% of Australians don’t drink any alcohol. Couple that with the fact that some people will be driving, and you’ll almost certainly need to quench the thirst of those staying sober. To make this easier, consider adding one mocktail to your list and making light refreshments accessible.
Cocktail Party Food
Before planning cocktail party food, you’ll need to identify dietary requirements. Ensure your selection features inclusive variations of popular snacks. For example, a couple of gluten-free and vegan options.
Overall, cocktail party food is simple. It’s usually delectable but comes in the form of finger food. Guests can help themselves at a buffet, or if you’re feeling especially swanky, you can use waiters and waitresses.
If you want your night to become one to remember, make the food aesthetically pleasing. Guests will soon start taking photos of carefully arranged antipasto and charcuterie boards to share on social media.
Some popular ideas for cocktail party food include:
- Charcuterie boards
- Crudites and hummus
- Cold seafood
- Various marinated olives
- Cheese platters
- Mini quiches and pizzas
Tips for Cocktail Party
Knowing how to host a cocktail party is equal parts organisation and planning. Using a few simple tips, you can perfect the night and ensure everything goes without a hitch.
Clear out clutter the night before
If you’re hosting your cocktail party at home, clear out clutter the night before. Clearing out clutter allows you to make way for decorations. It also provides your guests with more space for socialising.
Alternatively, book a private venue for your cocktail party. The environment will be clutter-free, and you’ll automatically enjoy a stylish backdrop for your decor.
Collaborate on a theme-inspired playlist
If you’re not hiring entertainment, create a theme-inspired playlist. Ask others who are involved in the planning process to collaborate on it with you. When you have a few minds working on this task, you’ll find a selection of background music that everyone enjoys.
Or, if you’re using a band or DJ, discuss your theme with them. Ask them to present you with a list of prospective songs so you can ensure they’re on the right track.
On the night itself, your guests may need a helping hand with simple logistics. Think about their journey through your cocktail party and what they’ll do there. Whenever your imaginary guest takes an action, such as throwing away rubbish, consider whether there’s a way you can help.
For example, your guests will need somewhere to keep jackets safely, throw away rubbish, and signs for finding the toilet. Considering the logistics allows you to enjoy a smooth evening socialising rather than answering questions.
Best Venues for Cocktail Parties
When choosing a location for your cocktail party, you’ll need to consider capacity and location. Navarra provides a selection of locations that are exemplary for hosting cocktail parties in New South Wales.
Featuring a series of locations that can accommodate anywhere between 12 and 580 people, Oatlands House has it all. You can throw a glamorous cocktail party in one of the suites or take your soiree outside to the whimsical vineyard. With classic French undertones, Oatland’s house has a beauty that’s difficult to resist.
Conca D’oro is a South Sydney cocktail party venue that helps you bring your dreams to life. This setting features a combination of regal lounges and art deco-style furniture, making styling your party easy. You can host between 35 and 550 guests, allowing you to throw both intimate and grand parties.
Take a step back in time by hosting your cocktail party at Curzon Hall. You can choose from a selection of neutral rooms and those with delicate touches of historical styles. If you’re looking for an expansive space with plenty of grandeur, try the Banquet Room.
Let Navarra host your dream cocktail party
With a selection of exciting venues, event catering, and event stylers at your fingertips, you can throw a cocktail party nobody will forget. At Navarra, our experience in throwing parties is unrivaled. Contact us to have some fun together and bring your dream party to life.