So glad you’re here! I was just about to go over some of my best Cocktail Party Food Tips.
Entertaining should be fun and enjoyable. The hostess should be relaxed, confident in her preparations and ready to greet her guests as they arrive. Guests arriving to a hostess running about in a flux are not going to be very comfortable. That brings me to tip #1! (Post begins below Blog Hop Intro!)
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Cocktail Party Food Tips
Tip #1 ) The Guests must be comfortable in your home.
Okay, this tip is not about Party Food but It’s the most important thing when entertaining of any kind. When people come to my home, they walk in. say hi and go directly to help themselves to a cocktail or a glass of wine. The wine and glasses are set out for them to help themselves. The bar is stocked and Ice at the ready. Your guests should not have to sit and wait to be offered another beverage nor should they feel like they should have to ask for another. A great hostess makes her guests feel completely free to grab a glass and pour.
How do you make your guests feel comfortable and welcome? (See tip #2)
Tip #2 ) Keep it real. Keep it simple.
If your guests are working class, like mine, you don’t want to serve them fancy finger food such as Caviar, Pate’, Crab Puffs and the like. Young Hostesses make this mistake. You want to impress your guests but all you’re doing is making them feel uncomfortable. You want to show that you have taste and class. True class is never making someone feel uncomfortable. People are comfortable with familiarity. People are uncomfortable with people who put on airs.
Who doesn’t love meat and cheese and nuts and chips and tiny weenies in BBQ Sauce? Serve your guests food that they know. If your guests expect catered food then you should have your party catered or get some new friends.
Tip #3) Variety. Simple variety.
Don’t go out and buy a huge ham and throw it on a platter on a table. People will shy away from something that may make them look awkward trying to wrestle to cut. If you are going to serve Charcuterie ( a fancy name for a meat plate) ask the Deli to shave it neatly for you. Long thin shaves, not choppy pieces. (exactly how I order it!). pick about 3 only….no need to get too exotic here.
I’ll buy a pound of each Smoked Turkey, Roast Beef, and some type of Salami. Place those in neat piles on the same platter surrounding a small bowl of Deli Mustard.
I also buy a very small pre-sliced smoked ham and serve it on a cutting board with small tongs. No need for anyone to hassle with cutting. It’s already done and they can just serve it easily with tongs. You can buy ham wrapped cheese slices. They are cute, ready-made for convenience and very tasty.
As I mentioned above, people can not get enough of little smokies in bbq sauce. sweet & sour meatballs are a hit or meatballs in bbq sauce. All 3 of these can be placed in a crockpot to stay warm and are easy for people to serve. Add one to the meats above and that is your main Party Food.
Tip #3) Cheese.
I probably serve more cheese than meat. A variety of cheese goes great with cocktails. I will serve a couple of hard cheeses. One Cheddar and one a mildly white sweet cheddar. You can serve them on small little wood cutting boards with little sharp knives. Don’t forget a soft cheese like my “Amazing Goat Cheese Appetizer” (link) above. Pour fig jam over it and place a bowl of butter crackers near it and people love it!
Tip #4) Have munchies.
People like to munch when they drink. People like to munch when they are standing around talking. Aside from the main staples of meat & cheese, I place a tray of veggies with a special veggie dip I love made by Marzetti’s. It’s yogurt based so it’s pretty healthy too. Find it in the refrigerated case of the produce department. It’s ready-made and convenient.
Tip #6) Something sweet.
Most people don’t serve a fruit tray but I find it very popular. Now a day’s more than ever people are looking for healthy foods. It will make you someone’s hero. I use whatever is in season. Adip for the fruit takes it up a notch. I love Marzetti’s Brand strawberry Fruit dip for this tray. Again in the Cold Case by the fresh fruit. It’s also yogurt based. no this is not a paid ad for the brand, It’s just what I like.
Placing out some chocolates or some mini cheesecakes is a lovely treat for your guests.
Tip #7) Go Nuts!
I like to place out a variety of things such as nuts, flavored pickles, and stuffed olives. You can buy blue cheese stuffed olives but we like plain green olives and maybe some Kalamata’s. I love to put out a bowl of midget sweet gherkins as well. Flavored breadsticks are popular too.
Tip #8) Don’t tell people what to eat.
Don’t try to pair every meat and cheese with a cracker or chip. Let the guests decide. I place out a butter cracker that goes well with everything, a Mildly flavored cracker like rosemary Focaccia that is firm enough to hold up under spreading and ruffles chips. These go with most of the items served.
Tip#9) Invest in some inexpensive but useful serving items.
I have a round chalkboard server that was a gift from a friend that I serve the meat variety on. It came with 3 little chopping knives for serving. I’ve seen them at Bed Bath & Beyond for about 10 bucks and I love it. I have picked up a couple of mini cutting boards here and there and little plastic tongs about 3 inches long that are not hard to handle and do not get in the way. I buy them at Hobby Lobby in the spring with their picnic ware. They are a couple dollars each and come in lovely colors. I use them a lot! Having the proper serving items really makes a huge difference in the prep, the serving and even the aesthetic of your Party Food spread.
Tip #10) Spread The Spread Around
If you place all the food on the main table, no one will be able to get to the table. everyone congregates around the Part food. I will fill small bowls with the nuts, pickles, and olives and place them around the entertaining area. Some on the coffee table, the bar, the counter, the sofa table. Do the same with chips, dips, coasters, and napkins. You want people to flow and mingle and always have napkins, food, and coasters(for your furnitures sake) at hand.
Tip #11) The Important One!
The most important party food tip is this……It’s not really about the Party Food at all. Parties are about spending time with the people you like and love. It’s about everyone (even you) being relaxed, enjoying each others company and having a good time! Everything else is just a bonus!
Remember the last tip and I guarantee you will have the best Cocktail or holiday party ever, no matter what the Party Food! Do me a favor and pin the image below before you rock on with this 4th day of Christmas Blog Hop! Have a great one and thanks for stopping by!
Be sure to visit our fellow 12 Days of Christmas Bloggers below for even more creative ideas this holiday season!