Now that weather is getting colder it's time to move the party inside. When I plan a party (any party) I make sure it's quick, easy and inexpensive! After all working full time there aren't enough hours in the day to play Betty Crocker and Suzy Homemaker!
Rabidon't Tip - Don't spend hours cleaning your home. Give it a quick dust, polish the bathroom, light a few candles, dim the lights and viola you have instant mood. Save the cleaning for after the party when everyone's gone home!
The first thing I plan is the bar. Know thy guests. Are friends and family cocktail or wine people? Sometimes I keep it really easy and ask each guest to bring a bottle (or two) of wine from a specific region of the world. This is a great way for you the host to save money and time shopping. And it gets your guests to try wines they may not have otherwise tried.
Another option is to select several mixed cocktails you know your guests will like. Pre-mix the cocktails and serve in pitchers. Guests can pour their own drinks. Again, this saves you from playing Isaac (from the Love Boat) and it saves you money for those guests who like to be heavy pourers.
Rabido Tip - Make sure you have enough mixed drinks pre-mixed in the kitchen. This way you can spend time with your guests and not mixing and measuring the libation.
Food is one of the most important items at a cocktail party and if you're like me you fuss over what's too much and what's not enough.
If you're stopping by the grocery store on your way home from work keep it simple. French bread, variety of cheeses, olives, hummus, prosciutto wrapped bread sticks all make great cocktail food. And remember, there are so many quick bites you can make with items in your pantry so shop there first. See what you have and then figure out what you need to supplement. I like to do hearty foods that guests are going to fill up on. French bread sliced with a little bit of ricotta cheese, lemon zest and a dab of honey make great passed hors d' oeuvres. Don't be afraid to buy frozen pigs in a blanket, a little spicy mustard and you have a hit on your hands. And if you have a great sushi restaurant get a platter or two of sushi. You know your guests best and what they like. Just remember to have good hearty food that you don't have to spend hours preparing.
Rabido Tip - Don't be afraid to serve store bought and homemade bites together. Again, it saves you time and money!
The only thing left to do is to enjoy the party!
Until next time..... Cheers!