Great Ideas for a Cocktail Party

by Emma W.R. on September 9, 2014

Are you tired of overpaying at the bar on Friday night? $15 bucks for a mixed drink! What? Huh? I can’t hear you over this loud thumping techno. Do you prefer a quieter evening full of interesting conversation? Then plan a throwback to the 1950’s & 60’s and host a Cocktail Party! Here are a few ideas to get you started.


You can choose to have a glamorous evening or something simpler. Dress to the nines or wear flip flops. All you really need is alcohol, finger foods and mingling. Choose to serve a few signature cocktails or host a full bar. Alcohol can get very costly, so grab a few different bottles of each to make fabulous drinks for all.


  • Vodka
  • Rum
  • Gin
  • Scotch
  • Bourbon
  • Tequila
  • Wine & Beer
  • Champagne
  • Orange Juice/Flavored Juices

Here are some simple but fun signature cocktails to try:

  • Pear Mimosas
  • Red Wine Sangria
  • Screwdriver
  • Lime Sorbet Margaritas
  • Bourbon and Blood Orange Blast
  • Cucumber Saketini
  • Whiskey Sour

On average each guest will have two drinks the first hour followed by one drink per hour thereafter. Depending on how many people you invite, calculate about how much alcohol to purchase.

Wine – one bottle per two people
Beer – one six pack per two people.

Don’t forget a few bags of ice and a variety of different drinking glasses of all sizes. Break out those old glasses collecting dust. Having way more is better than too little. Buy garnishes such as lemons, limes, olives and cherries. Make it fancy with sticks, mixers and shakers. Have a pitcher or two on hand and even a swanky punch bowl.


Keep it simple. Finger foods are great! You don’t need to serve a complete meal. Try a few of these quick ideas:

  • Deviled Eggs
  • Fried Mozzarella
  • Sausage Cheddar Balls
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • Mini Pizzas
  • Cheese Quesadillas
  • Mini Grilled Cheese
  • Stuffed Potatos/Mushroom
  • Wings
  • Snacks – nuts, chips, salsa and dips

It’s always better to have food leftover than not have enough. You want everyone to get a good amount of food to alcohol ratio. Cocktail parties usually last from 2 to 3 hours but that’s up to you as the host. Finish with a pot of coffee or bottles of water to end the evening. Encourage people to take a taxi or have a designated driver. Enjoy an entertaining evening full of good old fashioned dialogue.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet M. September 13, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Have each guest bring 1 ingredient for the specialty drink you plan to serve. That will cut down on the cost as well.


Jimmy September 23, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I’m all about cocktails and parties!


Ceil September 22, 2014 at 11:56 am

I love that picture! I really do want a dress like the lady in green. Some 50’s music in the background would put a finishing touch on cocktail party.


Paula K September 16, 2014 at 10:33 am

What?! Food & Alcohol at one party?? What time & where is this fabulous get together??


Kiersten September 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm

You don’t hear about many people having cocktail parties these days. Great pic! Love those vintage dresses.


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