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Help! I’m hosting my first cocktail party!

I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into. I don’t want it it be a dinner party, so what time should I start it? Should I remind them it’s not dinner? It’s all eldergay gay men coming, no children and no twenty somethings. I know, it probably sounds boring to everyone but whatever. We’re in Manhattan, so I can find almost any ingredient. Any menu ideas? What’s the general flow of things, like should I pass trays or put all the snacks on a table? Are paper and plastic allowed? I don’t know if I have enough little plates and glasses for drinks. It’s only about a dozen people but still, if they want to refresh their drink I think a clean glass is the civilized thing to do. I’m having this party because I thought it would be fun, haha. Instead it’s intimidating me, I don’t want to look like a rube. But it’s the holidays, I hope to give everyone a nice evening.

Please help!

--Worried
replies 130Dec 7, 2017 4:56 AM +00:00

and yes I know, you’re going to tell me to die in a grease fire. But if anyone has ideas from your experience hosting parties I’d love to hear them.

--OP
replies 1Dec 7, 2017 5:03 AM +00:00

We wish we could help you, but...

We wish you all the best.

Please let us know how it goes.

--Darfur orphans
replies 2Dec 7, 2017 5:04 AM +00:00

There is no such thing as a cocktail party in a private apartment. To be polite, you must offer a reasonably bountiful buffet. Very few people are available at 5 pm for a 5-7 (so 8) cocktail party. You can invite guests for 6 and expect them anywhere up to 7. One doe snot ask guests directly to leave, but you can be clear when you invite them its a "cocktail invite".

--Anonymous
replies 3Dec 7, 2017 5:07 AM +00:00

The other option is to invite them for drinks at 10 pm. Its only 12 people. They are old and will welcome the evening out.

--Anonymous
replies 4Dec 7, 2017 5:09 AM +00:00

OP, either hire a bartender or server to help you. I learned that years ago- it's worth a couple hundred bucks not to be running around.

--Anonymous
replies 5Dec 7, 2017 5:11 AM +00:00

OP, what day of the week are you hosting this event? Will it be after work or on a weekend? If you’re holding during the evening make sure you provide hearty appetizers that people can make a meal from. I, too, avoid hosting dinner parties because the standards and stress are too high for me to deal properly, but people do need a dinner if you’re hosting them during the evening. This will also help your guests pace themselves with alcohol. Not enough food = messy drunks.

--Anonymous
replies 6Dec 7, 2017 5:12 AM +00:00

Oh and take R5’s advice if you can afford it.

--R6
replies 7Dec 7, 2017 5:13 AM +00:00

It’s a Saturday. Ok so if it’s not a ‘cocktail party’ then I guess it’s a ‘holiday get together’ party.

--OP
replies 8Dec 7, 2017 5:27 AM +00:00

Make it as casual and comfortable as possible - if you are stressed out and uncomfortable you're guests won't have a good time. Lower your expectations of what you think people would want - honestly, some bottles of wine, some beers, get some cheese and crackers and a couple pounds of steamed shrimp with cocktail sauce. Keep it simple. Having lots of laughter will be more enjoyable and memorable for your guests.

--Anonymous
replies 9Dec 7, 2017 5:28 AM +00:00

If you're worried about having enough plates and drink glasses, go to some place like Crate and Barrel. You can get box sets of 12 appetizer plates or bar glasses for $25-ish. Get a couple of each. Same for wine glasses.

Remember to save the boxes for easier storage for future use.

--Anonymous
replies 10Dec 7, 2017 5:43 AM +00:00

Go to Ikea and get:

24 wine glasses 24 clear glass salad plates 2 packages of funky paper napkins

After the party you'll put the plates and glasses away and be happy you have them in the future. They're like 99 cents a glass.

Food:

2 pounds boiled shrimp in a bowl of shaved ice mixed pitted olives, some stuffed with cheese spiced macadamia and/or pistachio (shelled) nuts 3 cheeses on a nice board with cheese knives. 1 mild soft cheese, an aged hard Gouda, and a blue or other moldy type. None of the above need to be heated or replenished and also don't need to be passed, saving you all kinds of effort.

Pre make silver dollar sized latkes and splurge on an some caviar. Also have a small container of tapenade so people who don't like roe have something to put on it. When guests are about to arrive put the latkes in the oven at 200 degrees. Put on a timer to remind you to check them after the party has started.

Get a melon baller. wrap the melon balls in prosciutto, slide them on toothpicks arrange on a plate and refrigerate. You can do those a couple of hours before people arrive.

That's the minimum to get you through a simple party with a dozen people.

In addition you could do a couple of warm things. The items below are some examples and can be made by a beginner, and you can easily google recipes:

Greek Gyro Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce Pigs in blankets, but use chorizo sausage instead of mini hot dogs Buy frozen filo cups, heat them up. put in a dollop of whipped cheese and a little chutney.

I disagree with people saying you should have a server for a cocktail party with only a dozen people. I think servers with small numbers of guests are awkward unless it's a seated dinner, and they're out of sight for most of the evening. If the crowd is into mixed drinks and you're not confident and it too formal for self service do get a bartender. He/she can also tidy up and do a little general serving with so few guests.

There.

--Ex Development Director - gave at least 100 cocktail parties over the years
replies 11Dec 7, 2017 5:53 AM +00:00

Sorry I forgot to hit an extra return between various items. I think you can still read it. GRRRRRR.

--R11
replies 12Dec 7, 2017 5:57 AM +00:00

Go to Ikea and get:

24 wine glasses 24 clear glass salad plates 2 packages of funky paper napkins

After the party you'll put the plates and glasses away and be happy you have them in the future. They're like 99 cents a glass.

Food:

2 pounds boiled shrimp in a bowl of shaved ice

mixed pitted olives, some stuffed with cheese

spiced macadamia and/or pistachio (shelled) nuts

3 cheeses on a nice board with cheese knives. 1 mild soft cheese, an aged hard Gouda, and a blue or other moldy type.

None of the above need to be heated or replenished and also don't need to be passed, saving you all kinds of effort.

Pre make silver dollar sized latkes and splurge on an some caviar. Also have a small container of tapenade so people who don't like roe have something to put on it. When guests are about to arrive put the latkes in the oven at 200 degrees. Put on a timer to remind you to check them after the party has started.

Get a melon baller. wrap the melon balls in prosciutto, slide them on toothpicks arrange on a plate and refrigerate. You can do those a couple of hours before people arrive.

That's the minimum to get you through a simple party with a dozen people.

In addition you could do a couple of warm things. The items below are some examples and can be made by a beginner, and you can easily google recipes:

Greek Gyro Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce

Pigs in blankets, but use chorizo sausage instead of mini hot dogs

Buy frozen filo cups, heat them up. put in a dollop of whipped cheese and a little chutney.

I disagree with people saying you should have a server for a cocktail party with only a dozen people. I think servers with small numbers of guests are awkward unless it's a seated dinner, and they're out of sight for most of the evening. If the crowd is into mixed drinks and you're not confident and it too formal for self service do get a bartender. He/she can also tidy up and do a little general serving with so few guests.

There.

--R11 reformatted!
replies 13Dec 7, 2017 5:59 AM +00:00

Individual grapes covered with Roquefort and rolled in crushed walnuts makes a nice appetizer.

--Anonymous
replies 14Dec 7, 2017 6:07 AM +00:00

If you think you’ll need a few dozen glasses (12 people and need white, red, highball, martini, plus fresh glasses, etc...), plates, etc... and you’re in an apartment short on storage check out party/reception rental suppliers nearby.

--Anonymous
replies 15Dec 7, 2017 6:13 AM +00:00

Can I wear my fancy cocktail dress?

--Anonymous
replies 16Dec 7, 2017 6:17 AM +00:00

Have it in a motel and make it a cocktail party/gang bang. Tres gay and so 21st century.

--Anonymous
replies 17Dec 7, 2017 6:19 AM +00:00

Agree with r9. Keep things simple and streamlined. Focus more on making sure everyone is having fun, including you.

Unless you have a bartender you aren't going to be mixing cocktails for everyone. Just pick up plenty of wine. Some bites that have some protein in them.

Don't kill yourself over this thing OP.

--Anonymous
replies 18Dec 7, 2017 6:28 AM +00:00

Just put out a case of Colt45 and a few bags of pork rinds. The rest will take care of itself.

--Anonymous
replies 19Dec 7, 2017 6:39 AM +00:00

Does your guest list include some corporation presidents, a few lovely young actresses, a bearded painter, a professional jockey, your visiting friends from Brussels, a politician, a hairdresser, and a professor of physics? Remember, NO hippies, and put vodka in everything!

--Joan Crawford, hostess extraordinaire
replies 20Dec 7, 2017 6:41 AM +00:00

Servers are never awkward. They can take away plates, replenish platters, keep things tidy (including the powder room) and make everything so much easier for you.

Bonus if you can get a hot guy, but not necessary.

--Anonymous
replies 21Dec 7, 2017 6:47 AM +00:00

Keep your guests happy by presenting hole.

--Anonymous
replies 22Dec 7, 2017 6:48 AM +00:00

How largth are their thcockths? Are they blondth

--Typical DLer
replies 23Dec 7, 2017 6:51 AM +00:00

Make sure to have plenty of both: Cock and Tail.

--Anonymous
replies 24Dec 7, 2017 6:51 AM +00:00

I doubt anyone wants to see OP's hole.

--Anonymous
replies 25Dec 7, 2017 6:51 AM +00:00

You might want to consider a "signature" cocktail, like a flavored mojito or some holiday Sangria, in addition to the wine etc. You could make this ahead of time in a pitcher and thus spend less time mixing cocktails during the evening.

--M Stewart
replies 26Dec 7, 2017 6:52 AM +00:00

Pay special attention to your tablescape.

--Sandra
replies 27Dec 7, 2017 6:53 AM +00:00

Agree, look into renting small plates and glasses. They deliver and pick up. Paper napkins are fine and they make some pretty funny ones. For the bar, you need vodka, whiskey, rum, gin and mixers. Ice bucket. White and red wine. Beer. Soft drinks. Maybe make up a batch of eggnog or a pitcher of signature cocktails. Have most of the food stationed around the living room. Pass the hot things once, and then put on a plate with the other food. Have an excellent play list. You want the music loud enough to be lively but low enough to allow for easy conversation.

--Anonymous
replies 28Dec 7, 2017 6:54 AM +00:00

If your party for 12 requires a server, you need new friends.

--Anonymous
replies 29Dec 7, 2017 6:55 AM +00:00

One more tip for cheap stuff, ROSS and Marshalls have good dinnerware and glassware pretty cheap. You can also get lots of cheap Christmas doodads to put on the table etc.

--Sartha Mewart
replies 30Dec 7, 2017 6:57 AM +00:00

Bear in mind: some don't drink; some are veggies; some are on a diet but something not frou frou like pigs in a blanket are useful.

Get a server otherwise put out lots of wine. For only 12, no paper no plastic.

Caftans and earrings are de rigeur for the host.

--Anonymous
replies 31Dec 7, 2017 7:01 AM +00:00

R26 's signature cocktail is a very good idea. You might also consider having prepared some glögg/Gluhwein - at the very least it makes the place smell festive. Keep it simple. If these are friends of yours, they are coming to see you and enjoy your company - not coming to see you be stressed out by being over-ambitious. I'm another one who thinks a server is an awful idea in a small gathering like this. I think it would be more likely to put you even more ill at ease.

--Anonymous
replies 32Dec 7, 2017 7:02 AM +00:00

People - it's a small party, not a huge catered affair.

It's 12 people - who rents plates and glasses for a party for 12 people. I doubt you could find a place willing to do so for less than the cost of just going out and buying what you need.

Server - while someone to man the bar might be nice, it's an apartment in Manhattan. Given the description of the event and OP's lack of experience, I somehow doubt we're in a huge penthouse with plenty of space for a and guests. Set-up a table with food, re-arrange your furniture to create an open space and seating areas (if possible).

You needn't remind people it's not a dinner party if you refer to it as a cocktail party. Have two heavier appetizers (one hot, one cold) and a couple plates of smaller items. No chips.

A signature drink might be nice, but it's 12 people. Remember that. You'll go to a lot of expense to buy the ingredients, but probably won't have that many people drinking it - think about the math of making such a drink.

--Anonymous
replies 33Dec 7, 2017 7:05 AM +00:00

OP, one word: Rumaki.

--Anonymous
replies 34Dec 7, 2017 7:07 AM +00:00

Trader Joes is great place to get quality wine at a great price. I

--Anonymous
replies 35Dec 7, 2017 7:08 AM +00:00

I'm hosting my first holiday cocktail party too, in our new house . This thread is very helpful!! Thank you!!

--Anonymous
replies 36Dec 7, 2017 7:09 AM +00:00

Respectfully disagree about the rentals, r33. In NYC you can rent glassware for about 50 cents each, get a couple of high top tables and table cloths for a few bucks, all in probably spend $50 on rental and they drop off and pick up, and then -- the most important part -- you don't have to store it.

--Anonymous
replies 37Dec 7, 2017 7:12 AM +00:00

Just get a couple of party trays deli meat, cheese and crudites.

--Anonymous
replies 38Dec 7, 2017 7:15 AM +00:00

Three words: inexpensive festive ikebana

Offsite Link
--Anonymous
replies 39Dec 7, 2017 7:15 AM +00:00

two words: bar cart

assets.marthastewartweddings.com
--Martha Stewart
replies 40Dec 7, 2017 7:17 AM +00:00

three words: surprise Santa stripper

i.pinimg.com
--Anonymous
replies 41Dec 7, 2017 7:21 AM +00:00

r11 is lovely.

--Anonymous
replies 42Dec 7, 2017 7:23 AM +00:00
One doe snot

Wait - is that now part of "The Twelve Days of Xmas" r3?

--I'm old. I have trouble keeping up.
replies 43Dec 7, 2017 7:25 AM +00:00

Place your naked eldergay ass on a glass table with sushi strewn all over your body. It should be a hit!

--Anonymous
replies 44Dec 7, 2017 7:28 AM +00:00

Scalloped potatoes with holly leaves and berries. Gold tone accents.

s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com
--Anonymous
replies 45Dec 7, 2017 7:29 AM +00:00

This is why I don't entertain.

--Anonymous
replies 46Dec 7, 2017 7:35 AM +00:00

Do not garnish with live holly. It will make your guests sick, as it is toxic.

--Anonymous
replies 47Dec 7, 2017 7:39 AM +00:00

Mood lighting in the bedroom.

img.chan4chan.com
--Anonymous
replies 48Dec 7, 2017 7:39 AM +00:00

OP are you the cock or the tail?

--Anonymous
replies 49Dec 7, 2017 7:42 AM +00:00

What you've gotten yourself into is opening your home to a bunch of judgmental queens. No matter what you do and how you do it, they are going to be complaining about your inadequacies as a host and making fun of the food and refreshments behind your back.

Leave the social climbing to the heterosexuals--they are less pathetic about it.

--Anonymous
replies 50Dec 7, 2017 7:43 AM +00:00

The cock. But that’s not what this party is.

I really appreciate the feedback everyone provided. Rather than use my apartment I was actually considering renting my buildings rooftop lounge. Its enclosed with comfortable furniture, a nice view, and there’s a small kitchen too. This would save me from being nervous that they’ll judge my apartment decor.

--OP
replies 51Dec 7, 2017 7:44 AM +00:00

As a solo host, R5 + R10 is what I would do. Your older friends will appreciate the glassware and the bartender / server. I hire the same gentleman - he's charming and is great with small talk while freshening drinks, clearing plates, etc. R13 has great suggestions! I bought small square plates and clear glass bistro wine glasses (works for cocktails too) at C&B for around $2 each. Good investment and you will then be ready to move onto hosting your next party.

--Anonymous
replies 52Dec 7, 2017 7:45 AM +00:00

If your own apartment is big enough for 12 people, it would be kind to invite them into your apartment. Nobody is going to judge you harshly, don't be ridiculous.

--Anonymous
replies 53Dec 7, 2017 7:49 AM +00:00

I've watched a lot of porn in my time, but photo at r, 48 is one of the most revolting things I've seen.

--Anonymous
replies 54Dec 7, 2017 7:55 AM +00:00

I wrote a little book about it.

4.bp.blogspot.com
--Martha
replies 55Dec 7, 2017 8:03 AM +00:00

OP you aren't allowing them to bring a guest?

We rented our building's rooftop party room and it was perfect. We had about 30-50 guests. Did some of the food ourselves (spiced nuts, caprese skewers, hummus with pita chips) and ordered hot horsdoeuvres from a caterer. Hired a hunky guy to be a bartender who was dumb as dirt ( a guest asked for a vodka soda and he asked what was in that),

Rented glassware, etc and it was worth the small expense.

Go for it, but go big or go home!

--Anonymous
replies 56Dec 7, 2017 8:06 AM +00:00
go big or go home!

Must enter in "cliches" thread.

--Anonymous
replies 57Dec 7, 2017 8:10 AM +00:00

I don't need a server or bartender for 12, I want it.

--Anonymous
replies 58Dec 7, 2017 8:13 AM +00:00

Yes guests are allowed, that’s where I’m getting the 12 from. If more were to come I think I’d be fine if I used the lounge upstairs. My apartment would be a little crowded but that’s ok, not everyone has to sit, right? I like parties where people walk, stand, and mingle. My family does it all wrong, they actually sit in a circle. I’d much rather walk around.

--OP
replies 59Dec 7, 2017 8:22 AM +00:00

OP wants to walk around just to show off her fancy new hostess pants!

i.pinimg.com
--V Vance
replies 60Dec 7, 2017 8:27 AM +00:00

OP, I think you’re overthinking things. Just last night I went to a holiday party for my boss. She’s a multimillionaire surgeon who lives in a huge mansion. This was her menu:

BBQ chicken, roast pork, Jasmine rice, coleslaw, and baked potatoes. She made all of it herself for 30 people. For dessert she bought cupcakes.

She had paper plates with holiday designs on them, along with plastic ware. She bought some wine and had some hard liquor with mixers, telling us to help ourselves.

That’s it. And everyone had a good time. As long as everyone is laughing and talking and they’re not starving, I think you’ll be good.

--Anonymous
replies 61Dec 7, 2017 8:30 AM +00:00

R61 how dreadful!

--Anonymous
replies 62Dec 7, 2017 8:31 AM +00:00

Don't worry about food, OP. Those bitches are going to eat you alive!!!

--Anonymous
replies 63Dec 7, 2017 8:32 AM +00:00

For a doctor, she really should learn the value of having a vegetable dish r61 (and no, cole slaw does not count dammit)

--Anonymous
replies 64Dec 7, 2017 8:33 AM +00:00

r61, ...Sounds perfect, but you know how some people are around here, they have to put on a show.

--Anonymous
replies 65Dec 7, 2017 8:34 AM +00:00

R61 your boss missed an opportunity for a baked potato bar! OP, how about it?!

--Anonymous
replies 66Dec 7, 2017 8:41 AM +00:00

R61, I'm confused by the jasmine rice...

--Anonymous
replies 67Dec 7, 2017 8:54 AM +00:00

Yeah, weird menu r61. I'm imagining trying to balance a paper plate with BBQ chicken and pork, a baked potato, coleslaw and rice and eat it with a plastic fork.

OP, especially for a cocktail party, stick to finger foods. Little paper plates are ok but 6" porcelain are better.

--Anonymous
replies 68Dec 7, 2017 9:01 AM +00:00

No margarine fountain? Pass.

--Anonymous
replies 69Dec 7, 2017 9:01 AM +00:00

And what are you doing for entertainment, OP?

--Anonymous
replies 70Dec 7, 2017 9:05 AM +00:00

R70 Personally, I like to perform dramatic reenactments of Datalounge posts.

--Anonymous
replies 71Dec 7, 2017 9:08 AM +00:00

Complete live reenactment of Kenneth Anger's first movie. The festive fun starts at 9:50

--Anonymous
replies 72Dec 7, 2017 9:16 AM +00:00
Respectfully disagree about the rentals, [R33]. In NYC you can rent glassware for about 50 cents each, get a couple of high top tables and table cloths for a few bucks, all in probably spend $50 on rental and they drop off and pick up, and then -- the most important part -- you don't have to store it.

I cannot imagine you'd find a place willing to rent such small numbers of items. For 12 people - we're talking what, 24 glasses, 24 appetizer plates? No need for a table - use your own dining table. But, given the cost, it makes more sense to buy all the items for the same $50. As for storage, you could easily store all the dishes, cups, and glasses in a box the size of a standard filing box. If storage is that much of a problem that you cannot store one filing box, I would question whether there is sufficient space to even host a party in the first place.

One thing I'd do is buy some nice napkins/paper towels for the bathroom that can be tossed after one use. It's gross to reuse a hand towel that other guests have been using.

--Anonymous
replies 73Dec 7, 2017 9:31 AM +00:00

You will need at least 2 glasses per person, and multiple types of glasses - red wine, white wine, martini, highball, rocks, pilsner. Multiple cocktail shakers. The high top tables are nice for guests to have something to put their drink and plate down and encourage mingling and socializing.

--Anonymous
replies 74Dec 7, 2017 9:48 AM +00:00

R61 here. To add to the horror, The baked potatoes were the frozen TGIFriday ones that you find in the supermarket freezer section. When she took them out of the oven, she cut them in half.

Also, The coleslaw was out of a bag, that she dumped in a bowl, with the white sauce In a little bowl on the side. And the cupcakes were cut in half too. Since we are the little worker bees, I guess she didn’t want to splurge on a catered affair. She’s probably saving that for her fellow surgeons.

I still got drunk and had a good time with everyone else though!

--I still got drunk and had a good time with everyone else though! Anonymous
replies 75Dec 7, 2017 9:59 AM +00:00

What kind of monster serves guests halved cupcakes?

--Anonymous
replies 76Dec 7, 2017 10:15 AM +00:00

you guys are ridiculous with your necessary assorted "glassware" and dishes and cocktail tables. for god's sake its 12 guests.

--Anonymous
replies 77Dec 7, 2017 10:18 AM +00:00

R76 was for the stingy food thread.

--Anonymous
replies 78Dec 7, 2017 10:21 AM +00:00

I forgot I actually have two boxes of cheap wine glasses, I think 12 in each box. Leftover from my wedding party a few years ago. I’ll use those. They’ll do, I don’t think anyone will complain to my face if they have to drink their water from a wine glass.

What kind of music should I play? I don’t love Christmas music, it gets on my nerves because we’ve all heard them a million times.

--OP
replies 79Dec 7, 2017 10:23 AM +00:00

Oh, just cancel the fucking thing already r79.

--It's not cancer research, you know.
replies 80Dec 7, 2017 10:25 AM +00:00

OP, Kronos Quartet but alternate every 4th song with a Jackson 5 Christmas song.

--Anonymous
replies 81Dec 7, 2017 10:26 AM +00:00

Dear god i hope they aren't RED wine glasses

--Anonymous
replies 82Dec 7, 2017 10:26 AM +00:00

Blues Blues Christmas - there are 4 volumes (CDs). You haven't heard most of it and there is a wide variety of rock and blues styles.

--Anonymous
replies 83Dec 7, 2017 10:30 AM +00:00

R82, the glasses themselves are light red (rose-colored glasses" was the theme of my wedding party), but they're 'universal', meaning they can be used for red or white wine, much like Macaroni Grill.

--OP
replies 84Dec 7, 2017 10:30 AM +00:00
Dear god i hope they aren't RED wine glasses

They are, actually.

--The real OP
replies 85Dec 7, 2017 10:31 AM +00:00

"crystal" plastic tumblers for all cocktails. I have plenty of wine and champagne glasses. Put them out on the tray by the bar. People will choose what they prefer.

images.jmcatalog.com
--Anonymous
replies 86Dec 7, 2017 10:43 AM +00:00

Well, there's always next year

--Anonymous
replies 87Dec 7, 2017 10:43 AM +00:00

Photo at R48 made me want to instantly throw up lunch.

Looks like a bunch of fat fucks at the Maison du Eldergay fell on the floor, couldn’t get up, so stayed there.

I want to die young now.

--Anonymous
replies 88Dec 7, 2017 11:18 AM +00:00

I don't know Blues Blues Christmas that r83 recommends but avoid any of the maudlin Christmas songs. With Christmas just 2 weeks away "All I Want for Christmas Is You" is certainly bound to make at least one of your guests stabby at this point. I'd probably make a play list with every third - fifth song a Christmas song, and stick to music that I like that has good party energy. What kind of music do you usually listen to?

--Anonymous
replies 89Dec 7, 2017 11:56 AM +00:00

Oh, top 40 usually or I go back to classic rock or 80s/90s alternative.

--OP
replies 90Dec 7, 2017 12:04 PM +00:00

I am a crystal collector so I have large sets of every variety of barware imaginable. However, since they are all Baccarat, Steuben, Waterford, etc - I don't want to kill party guests that accidentally break one (and it WILL HAPPEN every time at a cocktail party..). For that reason, I second all of the earlier posts about purchasing cheap glasses from Ikea, C&B, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, wherever. The different sized wine glasses are not necessary unless you are throwing a tasting for wine connoisseurs. One size wine glass and a double old fashioned tumbler are the only two glass types that you NEED; if you want a better selection then go for it. I just put out all the glassware and set up a large bar with plenty of wine, liquor, standard mixers (club soda, tonic, ginger ale, soft drinks, fruit juice). Just let the guests serve themselves. Remember that you will need multiple ice buckets that will need to be refilled as the night progresses. The food has been well covered above. Just make sure that you have plenty of it and you should be good. Your guests are showing up to drink and socialize - as long as your food is edible you are good to go.

--Anonymous
replies 91Dec 7, 2017 12:09 PM +00:00
[R61]Just last night I went to a holiday party for my boss. She’s a multimillionaire surgeon who lives in a huge mansion...She had paper plates with holiday designs on them, along with plastic ware. She bought some wine and had some hard liquor with mixers, telling us to help ourselves....to add to the horror the baked potatoes were the frozen TGIF ones...also, the coleslaw was out of a bag, that she dumped in a bowl.

This is incredibly depressing. At first I read this as she was your friend!

If she's your BOSS, well...okay. Clearly she's telling you you're all completely dispensable, like her plastic forks and paper plates, but many bosses don't have employees over to their house ever, at all, so I guess she gets points for THAT, anyway : (

--Anonymous
replies 92Dec 7, 2017 12:17 PM +00:00

r92, I think most bosses don't have people to their houses because it would breed even more resentment.

--Anonymous
replies 93Dec 7, 2017 12:21 PM +00:00

R93 my old boss never had us over to his house, but if he had me order lunch in for him, he had me take orders for the whole office and picked up the check. This was at least a weekly thing, which was nice.

--Legal Secretary
replies 94Dec 7, 2017 12:25 PM +00:00
Oh, just cancel the fucking thing already [R79].

Seriously. Entertaining isn't supposed to make you this anxious and miserable.

--Anonymous
replies 95Dec 7, 2017 12:33 PM +00:00

Make it easy for yourself.

www.allcateringmenuprices.com
--Anonymous
replies 96Dec 7, 2017 12:39 PM +00:00
R95 Entertaining isn't supposed to make you this anxious and miserable

If you're a host who CARES, of course entertaining makes you jumpy. Besides which, most people only throw a party once a year, if that. So it's always unfamiliar.

One thing that can cut down on nerves (if you can afford it) is to hire a housekeeper to do the place the day before, top to bottom. Then at least you're not worried about how the place looks.

--Anonymous
replies 97Dec 7, 2017 12:42 PM +00:00

Those boys in Rope threw a nice cocktail party, plenty of booze, people of different ages, a dead body in the trunk, right in the living room.

Jimmy Stewart was a nice touch but I don't think you can get him.

--Anonymous
replies 98Dec 7, 2017 12:51 PM +00:00

Charcuterie boards are your friends. I always serve them when I invite people for any occasion that's not tied to lunch/dinner. I usually add tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, French bread and wholegrain bread, crackers, dried fruit, fresh figs, pears, grapes, nuts, and a green salad for the anorexics. Your favorite cheeses and meat or fish, et voila. Almost zero work for me.

I typically throw in a small cake and some fresh berries and a sweet dessert wine. Just figure out what cocktails you want to serve. In my opinion, you need to have enough food, a nice variety of foods to please every eating disorder, enough alcohol, and a nice presentation (not the hole - food).

Enjoy your party.

fromagination.com
--Landra See
replies 99Dec 7, 2017 1:02 PM +00:00

R99 = Gina Arten (assembling)

--Anonymous
replies 100Dec 7, 2017 1:03 PM +00:00

Have some activity that requires creativity. Such as, everyone makes a _________.

Play games. Telestrations is a game that will make everyone laugh.

--Anonymous
replies 101Dec 7, 2017 1:08 PM +00:00

R100 = Flobby Bay being jealous of my masterful ass-embly!

--Anonymous
replies 102Dec 7, 2017 1:10 PM +00:00

One of those posts where you wish that responses could be limited to people who have actually hosted a party. It's a lot of work. Ikea for wine glasses and small plates is a great idea. I use mine a lot. Paper napkins are ok. Music from Pandora or Amazon. Get a trial subscription if you need to. I have nuts, cheese crackers, olives out when guests arrive. R13 has great suggestions, but I don't serve anything that can't be out at room temperature. Serve wine, beer and a specialty cocktail. I like Negronis. Lots and lots of ice. Nothing kills a party faster than running out of ice. Festive and get party goers on their asses. Not if anyone has to drive. If you have a supply of liquor and mixers, including soft drinks, you can designate a someone in advance to mix drinks.

About an hour or so into the party, I put out a spiral smoked turkey breast with baguettes and cranberry chutney. Side of roasted vegetables which can be used as a main dish for vegetarians. I don't do dessert but if someone brings candy or pastry, I'll put it out.

--Anonymous
replies 103Dec 7, 2017 1:16 PM +00:00
I don't do dessert

Well, you should. You're not the only one there.

--Anonymous
replies 104Dec 7, 2017 1:17 PM +00:00

R104 I don't invite anybody who I don't like, and who doesn't like me, I think. They know the deal, and I get teased about the menu which rarely varies. I'll sometimes add a sliced London Broil with a sour cream and horseradish sauce. If somebody asks if they can bring something, and they usually do, I suggest dessert. At this point in my eldergay life, it's more about getting together with good friends and less about making an impression.

--Anonymous
replies 105Dec 7, 2017 1:30 PM +00:00

Dessert = "making an impression"? Ohhhhhhkay.

--Anonymous
replies 106Dec 7, 2017 1:35 PM +00:00

R103 that is a lot of food for a cocktail party.

--Anonymous
replies 107Dec 7, 2017 1:37 PM +00:00

R105, that sounds great, but like a lot of work.

I don’t cook anything for an informal cocktail party, simply because it typically ends up being more work than an actual dinner party.

People love the food I serve and I get to spend time with my guests and have fun instead of having to prepare things.

--Anonymous
replies 108Dec 7, 2017 1:43 PM +00:00

R71 for the win! W&W friend. Thank you for making me laugh. I think this might be my favourite DL remark of the whole year.

--Anonymous
replies 109Dec 7, 2017 1:45 PM +00:00

I’m actually AMAZED that you live in Manhattan and don’t know how to pull this off already, being that you are over 40.

--Manhattan Frau
replies 110Dec 7, 2017 1:45 PM +00:00

I never heard of putting out a huge amount of food for a cocktail party. Aren't people going to dinner after the drinks?

--Anonymous
replies 111Dec 7, 2017 1:49 PM +00:00

I think you should get the whole thing catered and hire a bartender. It won't be costly and the amount of stress you will avoid will make it worthwhile.

--Anonymous
replies 112Dec 7, 2017 1:50 PM +00:00

I never heard of putting out a huge amount of food for a cocktail party. Aren't people going to dinner after the drinks?

Some people don't want drunks puking in their potted plants. Also, at that time of evening, people are ravenous, anyway.

The old fashioned drop-in-for-a-drink-and-a-salt - ed-cashew cocktail party doesn't exist much, anymore. They're extremely impersonal, and not much fun to attend. And people don't drink socially the way they used to, so planning a party mainly around alcohol is just impractical.

--Anonymous
replies 113Dec 7, 2017 2:18 PM +00:00

Sorry, R113 was intended as reply to R111....meant to put first paragraph in quotes : (

--Anonymous
replies 114Dec 7, 2017 2:21 PM +00:00

R113, where do you live? Cocktail parties are definitely a thing in NYC. If the OP is planning a party that he expects to go past 8 pm he should not call it a cocktail party and plan to put out a more substantial spread and offer coffee and dessert at the end.

--Anonymous
replies 115Dec 7, 2017 3:00 PM +00:00

R115....but how would a party that's basically just drinks work unless your entire circle was made up of alcoholics? It seems half of the people I meet these days are non drinkers....so you'd basically be inviting them over to your house for a Coke (??)

--Anonymous
replies 116Dec 7, 2017 3:29 PM +00:00

R116, people stay for 1 - 2 hours and have a couple of drinks -- with non alcoholic options -- and small plates of nibbly things. They mingle and talk to each other. Just like any other party but it doesn't last as long. People leave and go have dinner.

--Anonymous
replies 117Dec 7, 2017 3:40 PM +00:00

If you could possibly swing it, NOTHING makes a small cocktail party as memorable as a pianist tinkling the ivories. And of course Xmas carols would be a large part of that. My mother was known as the Perle Mesta of the town I grew up in(no one under 60 will get that reference) and that was her secret trick for ensuring the success of her gatherings. And we did not even own a piano! She would rent one for the evening.

--Anonymous
replies 118Dec 7, 2017 3:47 PM +00:00

Go to Whole Foods, West Side Market, or someplace similar... stock up on plenty of "finger food", hors d'oeuvre items... they don't need to be fancy or pricey, but unless you want your guests to get drunk, get some food into them with the booze. Avoid anything that requires passing, or is likely to be messy. Also pick up some plain, inexpensive cocktail and wine glasses... "functional" is fine... but NO plastic! Remember that your guests are there to enjoy themselves and your company... if they're the type to drop by and be picky or critical, you don't want them around you under any circumstances. Relax, be gracious and enjoy yourself... your guests will follow your lead.

--Anonymous
replies 119Dec 7, 2017 3:55 PM +00:00

A box of wine and this is all you need!

1.bp.blogspot.com
--THREAD CLOSED!
replies 120Dec 7, 2017 4:07 PM +00:00

Old guys in Manhattan? Do they work? If not, they'll be glad to come at four and be gone by eight. Or if they never go out, be prepared to host all night …. your friends have nowhere else to go. A dozen you say, so have at least 24 fresh glasses on hand. Or only six and you're asking each to bring a friend? Well … Who'll tend the bar? Or just set some wine and booze out and let them fend for themselves, have some simple snacks set about. Simple cheese and crackers will do, maybe meat balls in a sauce over a flame, bowls of olives. Don't try to grand it up, your first hosting. They'll probably just be glad to see you, each other, and be in your apartment. i know it is easy for a stranger to say, but don't sweat it … have lots of ice. Sure you can use all plastic …. this needn't be a designer occasion. By all means do not have things you have to make beforehand. Just open packages and plate out. Some of these dudes here have posted some good ideas, but you don't need to be storing two or three dozen glasses and plates you'll never use. Get fun plastic and paper. I LOVE R20. Just ask people to come for drinks. At 6. Whenever. The ages here will tell a tale. You are in a studio? All will be well. Follow R38. You sound, OP, not very secure with yourself. If you do go to your rooftop lounge, you can take all these good ideas and run with them. You may be the new R61. Her do sounds fun. But all this and you only know six you're having in? Please do not sweat it as much as this hreaed sounds.

--Anonymous
replies 121Dec 7, 2017 4:31 PM +00:00

Do you happen to live in Hell's Kitchen, OP?

--Whore with no plans for the evening of your soiree
replies 122Dec 7, 2017 7:30 PM +00:00

Can we call come? It sounds fun and you sound a nice guy, too

--Anonymous
replies 123Dec 7, 2017 8:57 PM +00:00

You can all come! Don’t judge my lumpy sofa!

--OP
replies 124Dec 8, 2017 4:57 AM +00:00

WHEN is it? Open an event page. Post pics or it didn't happen

--Anonymous
replies 125Dec 8, 2017 5:25 AM +00:00

You SHOULD let us come, OP! Best reserve that party room (although from personal experience those things are booked way in advance for holiday times).

--Anonymous
replies 126Dec 8, 2017 5:32 AM +00:00

Don't invite these bitches into your home. Who knows what they'll do. I shudder to say. Will someone else say?

--Anonymous
replies 127Dec 8, 2017 8:17 AM +00:00
You SHOULD let us come, OP!

I think we should go in matching fancy uniforms and tend bar, pass the canapés, play the piano, draw out the wallflowers, etc.

At a certain point we break into an elaborate, Ernest Flatt choreographed holiday tribute extravaganza, and someone pops out of a cake.

We will mutter compliments in awe specifically so guests can hear us, like, "Have you even seen such a nice party before? I worked a reception at the U.N. Last week and it was NOTHING compared to this!!" etc.

--Anonymous
replies 128Dec 8, 2017 8:34 AM +00:00

And someone MUST come as Vivian Vance!

--Anonymous
replies 129Dec 8, 2017 8:36 AM +00:00
And someone MUST come as Vivian Vance!

Maybe our waitstaff surprise production number has a whole CHRISTMAS WITH THE RICARDOS theme??

--Anonymous
replies 130Dec 8, 2017 10:16 AM +00:00