Cocktail Party

By definition, a cocktail party is an afternoon or early evening party at which cocktails are served. Although it is a very popular form inviting guests, few know that it was invented in 1924 by Alec Waugh of London who felt the need for a pleasant interlude before a dinner party. There is also mention of one Mrs. Julius s. Walsh of St. Louis, Missouri, who invited 50 guests to her house on a Sunday at high noon for one hour: a party that was such a hit that within weeks it came to be known as 'a St. Louis institution.'

Over the years, the term 'cocktail party' has led to numerous terms associated with cocktail party. Cocktail dress primarily refers to cocktail party attire. Cocktail gown is a women's dress worn at cocktail parties or semi formal occasions. 'Cocktail party effect' refers to the ability to focus one's listening attention on a single speaker despite mixture of conversations and background noises.

Cocktail parties took a break during 1970s and 1980s: decades marked by blithe unconcern towards established norms. Cocktail parties have since then regained popularity and presently a current rage in partying circles. While wine and beer are still popular drinks that are served, mixed drinks or cocktails have emerged as a popular choice. Regardless of whether you have been hosting cocktail parties often or just a newcomer in the cocktail party circuit, remember that a cocktail party is not a family event. Some useful tips can come in handy to make it a successful event.

- Keep adequate stock of ice. You will need it to chill champagne bottles, on-the rocks drinks as well as mixing cocktails. Most cocktails require large amount of ice to make. A rule of the thumb rule is to have 1-pound of ice per guest.

- Keep an assortment of glasses to cover the type of drinks you plan to serve. There are dedicated glasses for various types of alcoholic drinks. Various types of glasses of different shapes and sizes serve their own purpose. Beer, for example is best served in a beer mug. You will need different types of glasses for cocktails that you are mixing. Midori cocktails are the current rage among fashionable people and some of these are served in a highball glass and some others in Collins and Cocktail glasses.

- Be prepared to stock twice as many glasses as the number of guests. For wine, champagne and martini glasses, wine glass charms are a good idea to help your guests to keep track of glasses.

- For the bar you will require to stock vodka, whiskey and rum for mixing cocktails.

- Cocktails require a lot of ingredients. Make a list and keep them handy. Some things that you may require include mixers, cocktail shakers and a variety of juices, Tabasco, lemons, ginger ale, limes, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce.

- If you expect some guests will be drinking wine, uncork some wine bottles before the party starts.

- Hiring a bartender is a good idea as it lets you socialize with your guests instead of tying you at the bar.

- Make sure that you have enough coffee at hand as there may be a number of guests who will need coffee at the end of the party.

- Some guests may not feel like driving back after the party. Either be prepared that some will be sleeping over or keep the telephone number of your local taxi company handy.

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