How To Throw A Great Cocktail Party

From dinner parties and daylong barbecues to evening cocktail parties under the stars, more and more Americans are opting to stay at home for social gatherings. In fact, according to Kelton Research, three out of four Americans (77 percent) aged 21 to 39 would rather spend the evening with friends at someone's home than go to a bar or club.

"Throwing a cocktail party is actually a much better way to spend quality time with friends and family and it doesn't have to be a chore," said leading entertaining expert and party-planning guru to the stars David Tutera. "By preparing everything you need to set the mood and whet your guests' palates before they arrive, you'll have more time to socialize and won't have to spend all night behind the bar."

Set the stage for easy and elegant serving. Print out your cocktail recipes and place them in household frames on your bar. Then put all ingredients and appropriate glassware by the recipes, allowing your guests to play bartender and make their own cocktails. You can also pre-mix the cocktails and place them in pitchers alongside the recipes so guests can pour their own and simply add ice and garnish.

Add color. For a vibrant cocktail addition, add a hint of color to ice cubes with just a few drops of food coloring and/or sliced fruit to your ice trays before freezing-you can also make flavored ice by freezing your favorite juice or lemonade.

Create a fabulous focal point. For a fun and easy cocktail centerpiece, place colored ice in a pretty glass bowl (about three- quarters full) and decorate with a gardenia on top. Not only will this potent flower add a wonderful fragrance to the room, but once the ice melts you will have a floating gardenia.

Personalize the experience. Make your own personalized cocktail napkins by handstamping them in a colorful ink. If you have extra time, you can have them printed online with a favorite saying or the party occasion.

Save time with signature drinks. Create two or three specialty cocktails for your next party instead of serving a full bar. Even mojitos, one of the most popular yet difficult drinks to make, can be easily made in advance. Using Rose's Mojito Cocktail Mix, simply combine one part rum to three parts mix in a pitcher before guests arrive. This mix is also available in traditional, mango and passion fruit flavors, providing partygoers a flavorful and colorful variety of cocktails to choose from.

Master planner tip: To avoid watering down a pitcher of premixed cocktails, add a Ziploc bag filled with ice to the pitcher. This will help keep the cocktail chilled without diluting the drinks.

David's signature drink suggestion:


2 oz. Vodka

2 oz. Rose's Mojito Cocktail Mix

Chilled Champagne

Sugarcane stick

Shake the first two ingredients with ice. Pour into a martini glass, top with splash of chilled champagne and garnish with long piece of sugarcane.

David Tutera is a contributing entertaining expert on ABC's hit morning show "The View" and has a one-hour prime-time television series "Party Planner with David Tutera" airing on the Discovery Home Channel. He is also the author of four books focused on entertaining: "Big Birthdays," "The Party Planner," "America Entertains: A Year of Imaginative Parties" and "A Passion for Parties: Your Guide to Elegant Entertaining."

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About The Author, Wendy Mitchell
For more party-planning ideas and cocktail recipes, visit or Entertaining expert David Tutera