In the Kitchen – Cocktail Party Planning

Having a cocktail party this holiday season?
What’s you biggest party planning dilemma – what to make? … or how much? … maybe it’s both.

Start with a Theme.
When inviting a crowd for cocktails, I like to choose a culinary theme. The theme shouldn’t confine, just help tie everything together. Focus your menu on the spicy flavors of Latin America or Asian delicacies, or maybe you’d like to go with some of my favorite Mediterranean dishes.
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The invitation may say cocktails … but many (most?) of your guests will make a meal of it.

For a nicely balanced spread, make sure you’ve got a good variety. Unless your theme is feast of the seven fishes, include at least one plate with meat or chicken, another with seafood, something with veggies and one more with cheeses.

Depending on the numbers, you’ll want to plan on five or six and as many as ten dishes. If you can manage it, it’s nice to pass a few plates of warm hors d’oeuvres. When choosing your dishes, stick to nibbles which are easy to eat in one or two bites. Whether you pass them or set them on a buffet table, figure on two or three pieces per dish per guest. If your friends aren’t voracious eaters, you can cut back a bit. On the other hand, if a hungry horde of college students are coming for an après ski party, you’ll want to add more.

Even if you plan to pass the hors d’oeuvres, it’s a good idea to park a platter or two at strategic locations so people can help themselves. Beautifully vegetables, cheeses or smoked salmon with all the fixin’s can be as pretty as it is yummy.

Finally, as the party begins to wind down, pass trays of tiny brownies, mini cupcakes or Christmas cookies. It will end the evening on a sweet note.

Have a great party and bon appétit!

Want more? Click here for more tips, tricks and tools! Or here for some of my favorite appetizer and hors d’oeurvre recipes! for some of my favorite

What are you serving at your next cocktail party? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below. I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2011

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