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Top Tips for the Ultimate Cocktail Party

Whether throwing a small gathering or Gatsy-style bash, check out these must-read tips for entertaining for a flawless and fun bash.

As Celebrations.com's resident cocktail therapists, we've got a recipe to ensure any cocktail party you throw guarantees success. So long as you follow our cardinal tips, your party's hit factor is in the bag.

Start out Small

If you're new to entertaining, host a little get-together with five to ten friends to get your feet wet, and then eventually graduate to the bigger bashes. No one is born the perfect hostess over night - it takes lots of practice and experience to pull off a huge soiree without breaking a sweat.

Prepare Beforehand

Serve food that can be prepped in advance so you can just heat it up when the party starts and you won't get stuck in the kitchen. Some of the recipes we always turn to:

Mac and Cheese on a Stick

Veggie Caponata

Semi-Homemade Breadsticks

Remember, you don't have to scramble to get super fancy foods on the menu. Even the simplest, most classic recipes like Mac and Cheese can be dressed up!

For your cocktails, do all of the slicing and muddling ahead of time, make sure to have lots of ice at the ready, and set out glasses for your guests to serve themselves.

Guests' Arrival

Hand out cocktails and appetizers when your guests arrive so they won't have to wait for the hors d'oeuvres to heat up or the wine to chill.

Plus, it will give you a moment or two of quality time with all of your friends!

Don't Skimp on Food and Drink

Nothing is worse than being at a party where they run out of wine or don't serve enough food and you have to stop for pizza on the way home!

Don't worry about having too much-leftovers can either be frozen for the next soiree or packed into lunches and heated up for dinners.

Keep cocktail ingredients for your next get-together since liquor has an extremely long shelf life.

Send your guests home with doggie bags-especially when it comes to dessert. (Bonus: you won't be tempted to eat it all yourself!)

Create Your Own Cocktail

Add a simple "Signature Cocktail" to your drink menu to create a special atmosphere for your party. Bonus points if it goes with the party's theme or compliments the season we're in!



It's simple enough to create a signature drink - don't worry so much about the actual recipe as the look, taste and name of your sip. If you're hosting an outdoor party or a spring gathering, opt for our Skinny Cucumber Watermelon Cooler.

Music is Key

Make a fun playlist , put it on shuffle, and have it playing when the first guest arrives. Whether you play Frank Sinatra at an intimate dinner party or crank up Jay-Z at a late-night dance party, your guests will appreciate the ambiance.

Above All, Have Fun!

The host absolutely sets the tone for the party; guests won't have a clue if things aren't going smoothly in the kitchen or if someone spills wine on the couch. They will, however, remember if you freak out about it.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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Exotic Cocktail Recipe Video Link to video gallery. Upgrade your spring sips with this cocktail tutorial. »

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