Cocktail Party Ideas

Cocktail party ideas bring to mind old-school Hollywood, so play up the retro glam factor by turning off the overheads, lighting silver candlesticks and scattering a few vases of roses around the room.

You want everyone mingling, so push couches back to the wall to make more space to circulate. If you want to give guests a spot to break off and engage in private conversations (not to mention offer a brief respite from their stilettos), create small sitting areas with dining chairs and a couple of small folding tables to serve as drink parking places.

Just don't line up chairs one after another against the wall, junior-high-dance style, no wallflowers on your watch. The finishing touch: a couple of pens and small blank pads strategically placed around the room to encourage starry-eyed would-be lovers to exchange digits.

Next on the list of cocktail party ideas is , set up an area for your bar and stock it with booze, juices, sodas, club soda, ice, fruit garnishes, pimiento-stuffed olives, assorted glassware, shot glasses, a cocktail shaker, a stirrer, swizzle sticks, cocktail napkins and a cocktail recipe book for flashes of liquid creativity.

If you want to pull out all the stops, go on a shopping spree at your local liquor store, then hire a bartender for the evening. On a budget and don't want to get stuck behind the bar all night? Multiply a single classic cocktail recipe by ten, mix them up in pitchers, and label each one then all you have to do is set out an ice bucket and tell guests to help themselves. Or buy a few favorite liquors and mixers, print out a fancy drink menu with recipes, title it "Specialties of the House" and let guests mix their own.

Whatever you decide, don't bother serving same old beer and wine. Half of what puts the party in cocktail party is the novelty of downing fancy drinks you don't drink the other 51 Saturdays of the year.

According to most cocktail party ideas and tips, sparkling conversations is what makes a cocktail party really swing, but if you want to shake things up a bit, try these cocktail contest ideas:

* Let the martini snobs compete for best mixologist. Be sure you have vodka, gin, dry vermouth, olives, pearl onions, lemon twists, a shaker and a stirrer on hand to unleash the martini magic.

* Challenge guests to create the best new cocktail (ridiculous cocktail name mandatory) from your assortment of liquors, mixers, garnishes, swizzle sticks, and drink umbrellas.

* Play a mixed-drink take on Mad Libs. Ask one guest to come up with an adjective and another a noun (for example, Tasty Pie or Hot Wax), then ask the contestants to make that drink; best version wins.

* Give guests a shot at top showoff by seeing who is best at flipping shakers and dramatically pouring drinks. Break out the plastic shakers and glasses for this contest, and hold it in the kitchen, where the spills that go with the thrills won't lead to carpet-cleaning bills.

Hence, with such tips enlisted in cocktail party ideas, your party can never be a flop-show!