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Cocktail Party Ideas


Untitled Document Drinks: How Much & What to Buy?

I quizzed my caterer friends as to how they plan on the amount of drinks and how much to buy for cocktail parties. They use a formula that roughly estimates 10 people will consume 20 drinks at the average cocktail party. Make that 40 drinks if it's a full evening affair, usually including dinner. This is based on a typical 1.5 oz. shot of hard liquor.

So how many drinks can you get out of a bottle?

Asparagus Parmesean Pastry Rolls

Wasabi is very spicy/hot... you may want to reduce this or use a different spice

Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip Crudetes

Beef Tenderloin Stuffed with Lobster
You can serve this with toasted bagette slices and placing portions on top keeping it open face and makes it a finger food.

Beef Tenderloin With Roasted Shallots

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
This recipe is really great but I would sub the russet potatoes and use red potatoes - leaving the skin on and cutting into quarters - don't over cook because it is really good to have them a little chunky for this dish. Serve these in fun glasses like wine or martini glasses that the guests can carry around.

* Decide what kind of party works for you and your guests: cocktail, buffet, sit down, etc.

* Plan the menu.

* Draw up the shopping list.

* Take an inventory of pots, pans, dishes, flatware, glasses, napkins and serving utensils and vessels to make sure you have all the equipment you need for cooking and serving.

Quick Tips

* For a quick, easy and informal party, keep things simple. Purchase snacks like chips, salsa, nuts, cold cuts, bread, crackers, pickles, olives and prepared salads (potato, coleslaw).

* Before you go shopping or start prepping, clean out your fridge to make room for all those prepared foods and make-ahead dishes.

* They're your friends; feed them right. Incorporate healthier dishes based on fruits, vegetables and grains.

* If you are feeling a little more ambitious, add a few dishes to the menu above that can be made or assembled a day or two ahead and heated just before serving. Main dishes like casseroles (lasagna, mac 'n cheese, eggplant parmesan), stews, hearty soups, honey ham, smoked brisket (any large meat will do) are perfect. For sides try caponata, marinated salads, a vegetable vinaigrette or dried bean dishes. And to finish things off, cake, cookies or pie are all great make-ahead desserts.

* If you are serving buffet-style, then you'll want to plan a little crowd-control. Don't create a buffet table jam by serving everything on one big platter. The proceedings will run smoother if you spread things out on smaller platters with the sides and meat pre-sliced.

* There's no need to foot the bill for the wine as well as the food. Make it a BYOB and ask your guests to bring wine, beer or soda. And ask them to bring a particular type of wine or beer to go along with the food you're serving, if you like.

* Make well placed and clearly marked areas for trash.

* Have plenty of ice made.

* Set and dress your table before your guests arrive.

* If serving a buffet, make small cards to identify the dishes.

* Be creative: use your water glasses for crudités, breadsticks and even flowers.

* For easy access and a prettier presentation, have all related condiments in small bowls with spoons, all in one area.

* Wrap utensils (either plastic or silver) in napkins and place them in a basket for your guests to easily grab and hold.

* Keep plastic bags and containers handy to pack leftovers for your guests and yourself.

Portion Control

* Provide guests with non-alcoholic drink choices.

* Assume some of your guests will be vegetarians.

* Count on 4 to 6 hors d'oeuvres per person if you're serving a meal. If you're just serving hors d'oeuvres with cocktails, the amount goes up to 12 pieces per person.

* A portion of meat per person is 1/4 to 1/3 pound.

* A portion of vegetables, rice, pasta or salad is 1/2 cup.

* A 9-inch pie or tart (after a large meal) will serve 8 to 10.

* Always prepare a selection of items that can be served at room temperature. That way you don't have to worry that your hot entree will be getting cold, or your cold dessert will be melting.


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