Hosting a cocktail party is a fantastic way to entertain friends and family in a sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you plan and host a successful cocktail party:

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Here’s how to host an easy cocktail party:


Like any party you need to decide a DATE, TIME and VENUE, obvious are Evenings and Weekends when more people are likely to be available, but ultimately it is up to you to decide, and also find out when the guests that you couldn’t do without can come.  Then follow the rest of this guide.

1. Venue:

  • The date of your party may center around the availability of a desired location, but as we are going for an easy Cocktail Party I would suggest your home.
  •   Your home is a great option, if you are lucky enough to have a garden or terrace, and even luckier to have decent weather, these can be great options.
Ingredients for a margarita cocktail

Margarita ingredients

2. Invitations:

    • To start with you will need guests! So send out stylish invitations well in advance to make sure your favourite people can come.
    • On the invite don’t forget to specify the date, time, location, and dress code (casual, semi-formal, etc.).

Check out Zazzle for lots of party invitation that can be personalized.

Etsy has a range of digital download invites.

These Invitations are simple yet very stylish.

3. Cocktail Menu:

  • Select a variety of cocktails to offer your guests. Include classics like martinis, mojitos, margaritas, and some non-alcoholic options.

If you want to be really professional you could make your own menus, here are some on Zazzle to give you some inpiration.

Some clipart to download to make your menus look great.

4. Bartender or Self-Serve:

  • You will have to decide who is going to make the cocktails. Are you going to make them, are you going to get the guest to make them, or you can even hire a professional bartender. One idea is to set up a self-serve cocktail station with recipes, ingredients, and equipment.

5. Glassware:

  • Ensure you have an assortment of glassware for different types of cocktails. Martini glasses, highball glasses, and cocktail shakers are essential.

Vintage glasses are great, you could scour the charity shops, or look on vintage site such as Etsy.

6. Garnishes and Ingredients:

  • Stock up on garnishes like lemon and lime wedges, olives, cherries, and cocktail onions. Have a variety of mixers, spirits, and syrups.

7. Food:

  • Plan a selection of hors d’oeuvres, finger foods, and small bites. Options can include sliders, mini quiches, and bruschettas.

8. Music:

  • Create a playlist of background music that complements the atmosphere. Jazz, lounge, or soft rock are good choices.

9. Seating and Layout:

  • Arrange seating to encourage mingling. Set up cozy corners with comfortable chairs and tables for guests to gather.

10. Lighting:

  • Use warm and ambient lighting to create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. Candles and fairy lights can work wonders.

11. Theme and Decor: 

  • Consider a theme or color scheme for your party and decorate accordingly. Themes like ‘Mad Men’ or ‘Tropical Paradise’ can add flair.

13. Party Favors: 

  • Consider offering small party favors or personalized cocktail stirrers for guests to take home.

14. Enjoy the Party:

  • As the host, mingle and engage with your guests to make everyone feel welcome and ensure they have a great time.

With these steps, your cocktail party is sure to be a hit, filled with delightful drinks, delicious snacks, and memorable moments.