Cocktail party menu? and more questions?

brendaswDecember 8, 2002


We are having our first cocktail/hors d'ouvres party in two weeks. I would like to do a buffet table with platters that can be cold or at room temp., don't want to worry about getting and keeping things hot. Here is what I have planned:

Cheese and cracker platter

Chips and dip (guacamole/salsa)

Veggies and dip

Mini frittata's

Fruit platter

Will also have a dessert table, w/ various cookies and candies!!!

Any other ideas? Is this enough? We are having about 20-30 people.

Also need help with wine and beer. How many bottles of red and white? Any suggestions for what type of wine I should get? i was thinking a cabernet/shiraz blend for red???? Have no ideas for white.

Beer....what brand is best?

All suggestoins welcomed!

Thanks and happy holidays...

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How many are you having. What time will they come and how ong will they stay.
Sounds to me like you need some meat in your menu.....shrimp, chicken wings, satay, meatballs, riblets, poached salmon.....
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 8, 2002 at 11:49PM
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We will be having about 20-30 people, at 8pm on a Saturday evening.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2002 at 9:38AM
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Well, as late as that is, you could assume most people will have eaten dinner.
I would still add some tiny meatballs in a sauce of some sort, and perhaps some shrimp...or smoked salmon.
I would buy a case of beer ( 24 bottles or cans) and Bud lite is a very popular brand, and for wine, I would buy a sauvignon blanc ( woodbridge is a good in-expensive brand) and a Merlot or a Shiraz.....woodbridge again for a nice but inexpensive wine, and maybe a Rhine wine for those that like their wine sweet.
Depending on whether these people are "drinkers" or "sippers", buy 2 or 3 bottles of each....and if they are drinkers, better get another case of beer.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 9, 2002 at 11:07AM
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Personally, I would stay away from mass-produced domestic beers. Can't stand them myself so wouldn't offer them at a party. I would go with something different - and tasty - like Fat Tire Amber Ale. May something from a local microbrewery... I don't know anyone that drinks Coors, Bud, etc... (Course that may be a regional thing - local microbrews and imported beers are big down here.) Also, wine from local vineyards are popular here.
We had a large party over the weekend - 61 people total. I always do BYOB as I find people drink less - and are more responsible drinking/driving - than if you supply. But that is just my own opinion. Anyway, I offered an iced herb tea (mind you, this is Texas and we had our windows open during the party!) - The Republic of Tea has a "Tea of Good Tidings/Winter Fruit Blend" with cinnamon and cloves that is wonderful. This tea would also be wonderful served hot with desserts. I was wanting something unusual to serve to drink and this was definitely a hit.
Food - not being a meat eater, I always struggle on this one... But I served cocktail meatballs out of a crock-pot and while they were off on the side counter and away from the main food, they were devoured. I also made a sun-dried tomato dip that was very popular. I can post the recipe, if you are interested. ~ Suzie

Here is a link that might be useful: Fat Tire Amber Ale

    Bookmark   December 9, 2002 at 12:49PM
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How do I get hot food out and still play hostess?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2002 at 12:50PM
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You have trays...or pyrex dishes prepared and in the refrig, pop one in the oven to warm and put it on the serving dish as the guests arrive......just before that tray is empty, put another in the oven.
Also a chafing dish helps as do those dishes with candle warmers beneath.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 11, 2002 at 5:58PM
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I am having approximately 30 people to a Christmas party on 12/13 and they are coming anywhere from 7:00 to 7:30pm

On my food list is the following:
hot mushroom quiche - I make in a large 9 x13 pan and cut into small squares
Cheddar cheese & some other ingredients spread on party pumpernickel with crumbled bacon on top - heated to bubbly
I make my own pigs in the blanket - which are a favorite
Egg rolls from Sams Club
Home made hot crab dip
Cheese and salami tray
Spinach and vegetable dip in cut out rye bread
Also wanted to have platter of little sandwiches on a twist roll - approximately 50 - some with chicken salad, shrimp salad, ham, turkey and roast beef - however cheapest price is 5.95 per person figuring 2 sandwiches per person. Does anyone have any ideas of what I could do instead of these sandwiches - I don't want to make all that myself since I have to work the 20th and I'll be making all those appetizers, etc.
I'm planning on a pasta salad to put out with sandwiches or whatever
Then Christmas cookie trays and I make little cheese cakes
Also, hershey kisses, salted nuts, etc.

Do you think I will have enough food? Drinks I can figure out.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2002 at 1:29PM
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We throw a large Holiday cocktail party (60-70)each year and I fix most of the food myself. Although I put out small plates, I make sure all food can be eaten with fingers or a pick, don't have a lot of stuff that can fall off, and can be eaten in one or two bites. Guests can browse instead of trying to find a place to sit and balance a plate and glass. I always fix a special drink but have wine, beer (have a friend who brews), and martinis. For the food, I have fish, beef, chicken and vegetarian appetizers. I only have one or two dishes that need to be warmed before serving. I usually have deviled eggs with caviar (not the expensive type). One year I ordered miniature hamburgers from the appetizer store and they were very good and just needed a quick zap before serving. Wraps can have a variety of fillings and be sliced into bite size pieces. I steer away from those horrible vegetable trays at the supermarket and the yucky frozen shrimp! I buy those very large raw shrimp at Cosco and cook them myself. They can be served room temp or cold. Mostly I get ideas and recipes from One other thing I always do is make place cards with name of the dish setting beside each appetizer. Always have small bowls of nuts and breadsticks sitting around the house. Most nuts taste great with just a quick toasting but you can buy specialty nuts at Trader Joes for a reasonable price. I used to make elaborate trifles and candy trees, etc. but dessert this year will be assorted cookies from the Dancing Deer Co. They supply Whole Foods and have great tasting stuff. I have ordered cheesecakes on a stick from the Appetizer Store and everyone thought they were great. I hire one person to help with getting food out and help with clean up because this is a large party. I also enlist my friends to help serve the special drink, hand out favors, etc. We are very lucky to have a bunch of fun neighbors who have formed a tap dance group (The Tappin Santas) that entertain at our party each year. Be sure to have plenty of peppy Christmas music ready to go and enjoy your own party.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 1:15PM
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We just had a cocktail party last night for 28 people. I put all the cold food on the dining room table (pate and pumpernickel bread, antipasto platter, cream cheese/jalapeno/salt crackers, and others) I also put a chafing dish full of meatballs out there, using a sterno to keep them warm.

In the kitchen we had all the hot hors d'ouvres and used disposable cookie sheets to reheat them. The platters were stacked beside the stove, along w/ cocktail size napkins to pass around.

We had a cheese table with some nice cheeses, an array of crackers and slice French bread. Along with that we put our sliced fresh fruit and bunches of red/green grapes.

I put the desserts our early w/ the cold foods in the dining room. I have found that saving the desserts until the end is a "party killer" and signals people to go home. I didn't want to do that!

For alcohol we had a variety of red and white wines, a sparkly punch and a variety of beers. We used wine glasses w/ the charms put on ahead of time so people could keep their glasses straight!

We had 2 signature cocktails at the kitchen table:
Red Cosmopolitans
Green Apple Martinis
We used martini glasses

In the living room, my DH had a table of special red wines and some sherries, along with a platter of cheese and some fruit. He and some of his friends are really into fine wines!

I can let you know the exact amounts and the types of wines we got, if that would help you.

We had such a good time! Wishing you a happy holiday party.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 5:55PM
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You can add some more substantial cold foods if you don't want to be running to and from the oven all night -- Sandwiches are a good one -- or tortilla rolls of different varieties may be good. Heck, set out a ham with all the extras and let people make their own sandwiches. I'd use crock pots and/or chafing dishes for hot stuff too. If you're not used to entertaining, I wouldn't plan too much to be heated throughout the evening; I was at a party last year and all the host did was heat things up and plate them; it was almost sad.

You could ask a close friend/relative to help. Even hire a neighbor girl to help -- keep her away from serving the alcohol though. On that note, I thought BYOB went out, well, when you turned 21. Part of being a good host is supplying the alcohol. Now, the guys (and many of the girls) around here drink generally Bud products - well many of them work for Bud so I doubt many from around here would touch specialty beers; so ask around before you buy. Beer preferences are often very regional.

I think the signature cocktails bonieann used above sound good for a Christmas party.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 7:23PM
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I absolutely love your red cosmo and apple martini choices for your party!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 9:29AM
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Thank you milvalena. I can't take credit for it because it was my husband's idea. We typically would stock a full bar, but wanted to keep costs down this year. By having a couple of signature drinks, it gave those who like to drink "hard stuff" a couple of choices.

Most of our friends stick to wine or beer, both of which we had several choices of.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 8:42PM
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It's too late for this party but a Smirnoff has a good cosmopolitan that is ready to drink. I have served that many times and its always a hit, in fact people have told me that they are buying it for themselves after having it at my house! They also make a mojito that is pretty good.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 7:10AM
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That's good to know las23. Our next party will be in February and I'll keep that drink in mind. We do a "red and white" party and feature red and white wines and foods, but again, we include a signature drink. The Smirnoff cosmo sounds perfect!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 5:44PM
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