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9 Cool Cocktail Party Ideas

Whether you are hosting a corporate networking mixer or just casually getting some friends together, cocktail parties are always a good idea. They can be as simple or elaborate as your heart desires. All you really need are the basics — light bites and lots of booze. So draw up a menu of some hors d’oeuvres, pick out signature cocktail recipes, and gather friends or coworkers for some good drinks and good times. The rest of the details are up to your imagination. If you feel like playing the host with the most, go the extra mile with these cocktail party ideas — and don’t forget the cute cocktail napkins!

1. Turn the party into a mixology class

Allow your guests to leave inebriated but educated! Hire a bartender or find a friend who tends and ask them to give a brief demo on making drinks. Some bars actually host these classes as well, so consider renting out a local spot. If you’re daring, teach it yourself after getting a crash course. All you will need is some basic mixers, rum, vodka, gin, whiskey, garnishes, shakers, cups, and cocktail straws. You can find disposable supplies online. This learning experience will be unforgettable for your guests, and who knows? It just might inspire them to come up with some cocktail party ideas of their own!

2. Make it a 1920s-themed fête

Cocktail parties flourished during the Prohibition era. So raise your mint juleps, serve up some oysters, and celebrate the spirit of the ’20s a century later with a themed cocktail party. Encourage guests to dress like they just walked off the pages of The Great Gatsby, play popular music from the time period, and maybe even set your venue up like a speakeasy — or perhaps simply rent a speakeasy — and create a password every guest must say before they are granted entry. Add a photo booth, leave some space for a dance floor, decorate with lots of gold accents, and get down like it’s the roaring ’20s! For a party styling guide, check out Style Me Pretty

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3. Skip the cocktails

Yes, it’s possible to have a cocktail party sans cocktails. Sober curiosity is a big trend, with alcohol-free bars popping up and becoming popular millennial hangouts. Hop on the bandwagon and serve mocktails at your party. That way, no one has to worry about calling an Uber. Here are 36 ideas for stunning, delicious mocktails that will wow your guests and make them forget that it’s a dry party. This is also an ideal way to be inclusive if you are inviting guests under 21 or guests who do not consume alcohol for religious or health reasons.

4. Hire a live band

One of the best parts of going out is the live music, which is often found at local bars. Bring that extra special element of entertainment to your party guests by booking a local band or solo musician for your cocktail party. Gigsalad is a great resource for finding talent, as is The Bash. Just be sure you have the space and outlets the musicians need to perform, and check that you’re compliant with the noise ordinances around your venue.

5. Host a boozy brunch

Who said a cocktail party had to be an evening affair? Host a brunch-time party with Bloody Mary’s and various flavors of mimosas (like orange, mango, pineapple, and grapefruit). For the food, serve light breakfast bites, such as egg muffins, quiches, yogurt parfaits, mini muffins, scones, doughnut holes, or croissants. Add some vases of bright flowers to tables, and find some fun brunch-themed napkins, and you’ll have the perfect boozy brunch bash.

6. Wow your guests with a spectacular venue

Skip the usual house or restaurant party. Try a loft, garden, theatre, patio, rooftop, art gallery, or even a historic jazz club. The more unique the space, the less decorating you will have to do. Peerspace can help you turn any venue imaginable into the site of your next cocktail party. The best part? There will be no mess to clean up at your house in the morning!

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7. Switch it up with CBD

CBD-infused alcoholic drinks, such as beer and cocktails, are rising in popularity — and for a good reason. Add a twist to your traditional cocktails with these recipes for drinks featuring CBD. The oil can complement existing flavors in classic cocktails and add a unique scent. And, as an added bonus, the supplement may help relieve pain and stress, as well as reduce anxiety. Just make sure your guests are fully aware of what is in their drinks, as everyone is affected by CBD in different ways.

8. Strike up some conversations

There’s nothing worse than a party where no one is talking. Encourage your guests to chat with new people by planting some conversation starters around the room. This is one of the best cocktail party ideas if all of the guests are not already acquainted with each other. Ice-breaker questions can be printed onto napkins, coasters, or table cards, or you can use Table Topics cards. If you’re creative, try typing up and printing your own. You may just help create some new friendships or relationships!

9. Play some games

You’re never too old for games! And no, we don’t mean drinking games. Games can be a fun way to break the ice and liven up the party. If you have access to a projector or TV that hooks up to the internet, Quiplash is a hilarious online party game that allows you to show off your comedy chops. More traditional games like Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, Headbandz, and charades can also be a blast to play, especially while tipsy.

Cocktail parties can be so much more than just rooms full of well-dressed people sipping rum and Coke while eating cheese and crackers. Revolutionize the standard cocktail party with these cocktail party ideas that work for the holidays or any time of year. By adding a little extra flair to your shindig, you’ll keep your guests talking about it for months to come.

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