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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!

by Worried reply 130Last Friday at 10:16 AM

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.

by Worried reply 1Last Thursday at 5:03 AM

We wish we could help you, but...

We wish you all the best.

Please let us know how it goes.

by Worried reply 2Last Thursday at 5:04 AM

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".

by Worried reply 3Last Thursday at 5:07 AM

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.

by Worried reply 4Last Thursday at 5:09 AM

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.

by Worried reply 5Last Thursday at 5:11 AM

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.

by Worried reply 6Last Thursday at 5:12 AM

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

by Worried reply 7Last Thursday at 5:13 AM

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

by Worried reply 8Last Thursday at 5:27 AM

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.

by Worried reply 9Last Thursday at 5:28 AM

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.

by Worried reply 10Last Thursday at 5:43 AM

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.

by Worried reply 11Last Thursday at 5:53 AM

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

by Worried reply 12Last Thursday at 5:57 AM

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.

by Worried reply 13Last Thursday at 5:59 AM

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

by Worried reply 14Last Thursday at 6:07 AM

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.

by Worried reply 15Last Thursday at 6:13 AM

Can I wear my fancy cocktail dress?

by Worried reply 16Last Thursday at 6:17 AM

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

by Worried reply 17Last Thursday at 6:19 AM

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.

by Worried reply 18Last Thursday at 6:28 AM

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

by Worried reply 19Last Thursday at 6:39 AM

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!

by Worried reply 20Last Thursday at 6:41 AM

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.

by Worried reply 21Last Thursday at 6:47 AM

Keep your guests happy by presenting hole.

by Worried reply 22Last Thursday at 6:48 AM

How largth are their thcockths? Are they blondth

by Worried reply 23Last Thursday at 6:51 AM

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

by Worried reply 24Last Thursday at 6:51 AM

I doubt anyone wants to see OP's hole.

by Worried reply 25Last Thursday at 6:51 AM

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.

by Worried reply 26Last Thursday at 6:52 AM

Pay special attention to your tablescape.

by Worried reply 27Last Thursday at 6:53 AM

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.

by Worried reply 28Last Thursday at 6:54 AM

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

by Worried reply 29Last Thursday at 6:55 AM

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.

by Worried reply 30Last Thursday at 6:57 AM

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.

by Worried reply 31Last Thursday at 7:01 AM

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.

by Worried reply 32Last Thursday at 7:02 AM

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.

by Worried reply 33Last Thursday at 7:05 AM

OP, one word: Rumaki.

by Worried reply 34Last Thursday at 7:07 AM

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

by Worried reply 35Last Thursday at 7:08 AM

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

by Worried reply 36Last Thursday at 7:09 AM

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.

by Worried reply 37Last Thursday at 7:12 AM

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

by Worried reply 38Last Thursday at 7:15 AM

Three words: inexpensive festive ikebana

by Worried reply 39Last Thursday at 7:15 AM

two words: bar cart

by Worried reply 40Last Thursday at 7:17 AM

three words: surprise Santa stripper

by Worried reply 41Last Thursday at 7:21 AM

r11 is lovely.

by Worried reply 42Last Thursday at 7:23 AM

[quote] One doe snot

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

by Worried reply 43Last Thursday at 7:25 AM

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

by Worried reply 44Last Thursday at 7:28 AM

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

by Worried reply 45Last Thursday at 7:29 AM

This is why I don't entertain.

by Worried reply 46Last Thursday at 7:35 AM

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

by Worried reply 47Last Thursday at 7:39 AM

Mood lighting in the bedroom.

by Worried reply 48Last Thursday at 7:39 AM

OP are you the cock or the tail?

by Worried reply 49Last Thursday at 7:42 AM

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.

by Worried reply 50Last Thursday at 7:43 AM

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.

by Worried reply 51Last Thursday at 7:44 AM

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.

by Worried reply 52Last Thursday at 7:45 AM

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.

by Worried reply 53Last Thursday at 7:49 AM

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.

by Worried reply 54Last Thursday at 7:55 AM

I wrote a little book about it.

by Worried reply 55Last Thursday at 8:03 AM

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!

by Worried reply 56Last Thursday at 8:06 AM

[quote]go big or go home!

Must enter in "cliches" thread.

by Worried reply 57Last Thursday at 8:10 AM

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

by Worried reply 58Last Thursday at 8:13 AM

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.

by Worried reply 59Last Thursday at 8:22 AM

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

by Worried reply 60Last Thursday at 8:27 AM

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.

by Worried reply 61Last Thursday at 8:30 AM

R61 how dreadful!

by Worried reply 62Last Thursday at 8:31 AM

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

by Worried reply 63Last Thursday at 8:32 AM

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

by Worried reply 64Last Thursday at 8:33 AM

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

by Worried reply 65Last Thursday at 8:34 AM

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

by Worried reply 66Last Thursday at 8:41 AM

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

by Worried reply 67Last Thursday at 8:54 AM

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.

by Worried reply 68Last Thursday at 9:01 AM

No margarine fountain? Pass.

by Worried reply 69Last Thursday at 9:01 AM

And what are you doing for entertainment, OP?

by Worried reply 70Last Thursday at 9:05 AM

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

by Worried reply 71Last Thursday at 9:08 AM

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

by Worried reply 72Last Thursday at 9:16 AM

[quote]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.

by Worried reply 73Last Thursday at 9:31 AM

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.

by Worried reply 74Last Thursday at 9:48 AM

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!

by Worried reply 75Last Thursday at 9:59 AM

What kind of monster serves guests halved cupcakes?

by Worried reply 76Last Thursday at 10:15 AM

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

by Worried reply 77Last Thursday at 10:18 AM

R76 was for the stingy food thread.

by Worried reply 78Last Thursday at 10:21 AM

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.

by Worried reply 79Last Thursday at 10:23 AM

Oh, just cancel the fucking thing already r79.

by Worried reply 80Last Thursday at 10:25 AM

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

by Worried reply 81Last Thursday at 10:26 AM

Dear god i hope they aren't RED wine glasses

by Worried reply 82Last Thursday at 10:26 AM

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.

by Worried reply 83Last Thursday at 10:30 AM

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.

by Worried reply 84Last Thursday at 10:30 AM

[QUOTE] Dear god i hope they aren't RED wine glasses

They are, actually.

by Worried reply 85Last Thursday at 10:31 AM

"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.

by Worried reply 86Last Thursday at 10:43 AM

Well, there's always next year

by Worried reply 87Last Thursday at 10:43 AM

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.

by Worried reply 88Last Thursday at 11:18 AM

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?

by Worried reply 89Last Thursday at 11:56 AM

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

by Worried reply 90Last Thursday at 12:04 PM

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.

by Worried reply 91Last Thursday at 12:09 PM

[quote][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 : (

by Worried reply 92Last Thursday at 12:17 PM

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

by Worried reply 93Last Thursday at 12:21 PM

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.

by Worried reply 94Last Thursday at 12:25 PM

[quote]Oh, just cancel the fucking thing already [R79].

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

by Worried reply 95Last Thursday at 12:33 PM

Make it easy for yourself.

by Worried reply 96Last Thursday at 12:39 PM

[quote] 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.

by Worried reply 97Last Thursday at 12:42 PM

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.

by Worried reply 98Last Thursday at 12:51 PM

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.

by Worried reply 99Last Thursday at 1:02 PM

R99 = Gina Arten (assembling)

by Worried reply 100Last Thursday at 1:03 PM

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

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

by Worried reply 101Last Thursday at 1:08 PM

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

by Worried reply 102Last Thursday at 1:10 PM

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.

by Worried reply 103Last Thursday at 1:16 PM

[quote] I don't do dessert

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

by Worried reply 104Last Thursday at 1:17 PM

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.

by Worried reply 105Last Thursday at 1:30 PM

Dessert = "making an impression"? Ohhhhhhkay.

by Worried reply 106Last Thursday at 1:35 PM

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

by Worried reply 107Last Thursday at 1:37 PM

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.

by Worried reply 108Last Thursday at 1:43 PM

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.

by Worried reply 109Last Thursday at 1:45 PM

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.

by Worried reply 110Last Thursday at 1:45 PM

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

by Worried reply 111Last Thursday at 1:49 PM

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.

by Worried reply 112Last Thursday at 1:50 PM

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-salted-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.

by Worried reply 113Last Thursday at 2:18 PM

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

by Worried reply 114Last Thursday at 2:21 PM

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.

by Worried reply 115Last Thursday at 3:00 PM

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 (??)

by Worried reply 116Last Thursday at 3:29 PM

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.

by Worried reply 117Last Thursday at 3:40 PM

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.

by Worried reply 118Last Thursday at 3:47 PM

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.

by Worried reply 119Last Thursday at 3:55 PM

A box of wine and this is all you need!

by Worried reply 120Last Thursday at 4:07 PM

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.

by Worried reply 121Last Thursday at 4:31 PM

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

by Worried reply 122Last Thursday at 7:30 PM

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

by Worried reply 123Last Thursday at 8:57 PM

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

by Worried reply 124Last Friday at 4:57 AM

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

by Worried reply 125Last Friday at 5:25 AM

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).

by Worried reply 126Last Friday at 5:32 AM

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

by Worried reply 127Last Friday at 8:17 AM

[quote]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.

by Worried reply 128Last Friday at 8:34 AM

And someone MUST come as Vivian Vance!

by Worried reply 129Last Friday at 8:36 AM

[quote]And someone MUST come as Vivian Vance!

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

by Worried reply 130Last Friday at 10:16 AM
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