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Holiday Party Etiquette

by Cindy

by: Hillary Blaney

Cocktail Party Season is upon us. Party-throwers and partygoers everywhere are scouring the internet for the greatest recipe ideas and party etiquette. 

First things first: The guests. The ideal number of guests for a cocktail party is eight to ten people. That way there are enough guests to make it feel like a real party, but not so many that it becomes impossible to entertain everyone. Traditionally, invitations would be sent via the post office, but in the time of texting and evites, an invitation via technology could be considered fine for a less formal affair.

Then comes the most obvious aspect of a cocktail party – the cocktails! It is best to choose only two to three cocktails to serve among your guests, one of which might be nonalcoholic for those guests who abstain. 

One traditional drink served at parties is the Manhattan cocktail, made with 2 ounces of whiskey, ½ ounce of sweet vermouth, and a maraschino cherry for garnish. These are best served freshly mixed in a cocktail mixer with ice but can also be pre-made before the party starts.

Another option, and a favorite in the cold weather, is mulled wine. This is one option that can be made up ahead of time in a crockpot, so you won’t have to take time from hosting to prepare them. Simply combine any wine of your choice with a sliced citrus fruit, cinnamon sticks and, if you’d like, an extra liquor, such as brandy. 

Most cocktails, by their very nature, cannot be made nonalcoholic. It’s best to search for a recipe strictly based on the lack of alcohol content in the drink. One popular one appropriate for the season is a Sparkling Almond. It’s easy to make, with just three ingredients of 1 ounce of lemon juice, 1 ½ ounces of almond syrup, and 4 ounces of mineral water to cut down on the sweetness. 

The menu of a cocktail party can vary based on the host’s preference. You do not necessarily have to provide meals, and many people prefer light appetizers or finger foods to keep the party flowing. Not all recipes must be complex or require much time to prepare. 

Artichoke and Spinach Balls (https://www.cindystable.com/recipes/item/artichoke-and-spinach-balls?category_id=15) are an easy-to-eat, satisfying snack. These will need to be made and baked beforehand, but do not need to be served hot for them to be delicious! The combined preparation time and baking time is only around 40 minutes, and the results are wonderful.

For guests on certain diets, you can’t go wrong with a Paleo Artichoke Bruschetta (https://www.cindystable.com/recipes/item/paleo-artichoke-bruschetta). This dip can be made in advance and set out with slices of bread or crackers and can even be delicious served on slices of fresh vegetables! 

And to make use of seasonal vegetables, you can’t go wrong with cheesy Sweet Potato Puffs (https://www.cindystable.com/recipes/item/sweet-potato-puffs-2?category_id=15)! Prep and cook time combined is about 45 minutes, and, like the Artichoke and Spinach Balls, they can be made the day before the party. 

Now that we’ve covered the host’s roles, it’s time for the attendees to have their questions answered. What are the appropriate attire, behavior and expectations of a guest at a cocktail party?

Standard cocktail attire can be difficult to define. For men, the suggestion is a dark suit worn with a tie (it could be a fun holiday one!). For women, the options are a bit greater. Cocktail dresses are shorter than an evening gown, the bottom coming somewhere between the knees and ankles. Color is unimportant, and women also have the option of a blouse and skirt, or even nice dress pants. 

Finally, the guests of a cocktail party may choose to bring a gift for the host as a thank you for all the work they’ve put into the event. In keeping with the theme, one might bring a wine-related gift, such as the Vin Blanc Vacuum Insulated portable wine chiller from Asobu (https://asobubottle.com/products/vin-blanc) which is double insulated to keep your wine the right temperature as well as cushioned on the inside to prevent breaking the bottle. Or a more fun option for a gift could be a double-walled speaker bottle from Asobu (https://asobubottle.com/products/wireless) which can sync with any phone or tablet and can provide up to 4 hours of tunes for a day on the beach or a night in the woods. 

Whether you’re a host or a guest, following these tips will help all your cocktail parties will go off without a hitch this season! Enjoy a drink (or two) for us!

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