I need a cocktail party menu...HELP!!

winageoDecember 10, 2006

Could someone provide me with a sample menu for 30 or less people at an open-house type cocktail party. How many tid-bits do I need for each person, what sort of items would be appropriate, how many types of drinks should be offered?

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Check the following at epicurious.com Lot sof good advice there. Also follow the links for Party Planning. It will give you some great recipes and guidelines.

As far as what kinds of drinks to offer... that depends on the crowd who will be there. I have some friends who are more interested in a variety of beers, some who only want wine and some who are the mixed drink afficianados.... serve what your crowd enjoys!

Here is a thread I had saved that includes a LOT of cocktail party foods....

Hi All
After reading the food/gender thread it occurred to me that I could use some help determining a menu for a little gathering next Tues. I have met all the people coming (all women) but I do not know some of them well at all.
There will be about 15 - 20 in attendance. Beverages are easy - red & white wines, beer and a couple of flavored martinins. There will also be sodas (diet & regular), a pitcher of iced tea and bottle water.
The only definite menu items I have are:
Herbed profiteroles with chevre & crab filling (cold)
Hot Artichoke spread on Balsamic Roasted Peppers (hot)
Cheese & Crackers
I need a few more savory items - what can you suggest? Maybe something with asparagus since it 'tis the season? I'm not making "dinner" this is more a cocktail party type gathering.
Dessert will be fresh cut up fruit, caramel brownies and either Apricot Brandy Pound Cake or Petit Fours. Lots of coffee and hot tea.
Thanks is advance!
Follow-Up Postings:
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
Posted by: Susie_que (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 8:17
I have a twist on potato skins.
Bake the potatoes as usual and scoop out the insides leaving just a rim of flesh.
Saute some leeks in butter (Works with ramps but its a bit early for them). Put a heap of leeks into each shell and top with feta cheese and broil until the cheese browns slightly.
I know I am the worst when it come to amounts. I would say maybe 6 medium potatoes for 12 servings and 2 bunches of leeks.
With the asparagus, steam it slightly and wrap with procutto.
Have fun!!
p.s.-how was the party this past weekend???
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: bulldinkie (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 8:22
Chicken wings...
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: chase (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 8:36
Yeah how was the party!!!!
Alexa, my sister served a lovely asparagus appetizer at her party. The asparagus spears were blanched and then cooled. When cool she wrapped them in proscuitto and then sprinkled them with Kosher salt, or it might have been sea salt. I would have thought the proscuitto was salty enough but they were very, very good.
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: ArabellaMiller (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 8:54
I like to cut cherry tomatoes in half and pipe (or spoon) in guacamole or boursin. You can scatter some chopped chives on top if you'd like.
I was also just at a party with sort of a backwards artichoke dip. You probably won't want to have 2 artichoke things, but it was really great. My friend had taken a can of artichokes and filled each with a mixture of cheeses and broiled. They were great.
I'm also a big fan of the mini pumpernickle loaf with some cream cheese, a slice of salmon and some chives.
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: caliloo (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 9:23
Thanks so much for all the suggestions. I think both the asparagus/proscuitto and cherry tomatoes will be excellent additions. I think the potato skins and wings, though delish sounding might be a bit messy for a stand around gathering.
The party was awesome. I am finally feeling better (can you say haven't been this hungover since college LOL)
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: DanaIN (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 10:03
Women seem to like spinach and individual, mini things and these wonderful:
Spinach Cups
9 slices Pepperidge Farm white bread
10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach; thawed
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
6 oz. cream cheese; softened
2 oz. jar pimiento; drained and minced
1 small clove garlic; minced
salt and pepper to taste
Spray 36 count mini muffin pans with cooking spray. Trim crust from bread, cut into four squares, flatten each with rolling pin. Press bread into muffin tins. Bake at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes until lightly browned.
Drain spinach and press between paper towels removing moisture. Over medium heat melt butter and add onion; sauté until tender. Stir in spinach and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream cheese, pimiento, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir and heat thoroughly. Spoon 1 teaspoon into each bread cup and bake at 350° for 5 minutes until hot. Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat in oven before serving.
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Ann_T (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 10:08
Here are a few of my favourite appetizers that are finger foods.
Home Cookin 4.9 Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table
Mushrooms And Pimientos In Puff Pastry

1 package puff pastry
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1 clove garlic minced
2 Tablespoons minced pimiento
preferably homemade
1/4 pound mushrooms, chopped fine
1/2 dried red chili crumbled or 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Teaspoons grated parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the onion and garlic until onion is
wilted. Add the pimiento and cook for a minute, then the mushrooms, chili
pepper, salt, and pepper and saute until mushrooms are softened. Remove from
the heat and stir in cheese.
Roll the puff pastry to 1/8 inch. You can cut Cut into 1 3/4 inch circles
and place 1 teaspoon of filling on half of the circles. Moisten the edges
with water, cover with the remaining pastry circles, and press with the
tines of a fork to seal.
I prefer to make them triangle shape,by cutting the pastry into 2 1/2 inches
squares, add filling on one half and then folding over corner to form a
(May be prepared ahead and refrigerated) Place on a dampened cookie sheet
and bake at 425 F on the upper rack of the oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until
( To cut down on work you could make this appetizer in a larger size and
Bake for about 20 minutes.) Then cut into wedges.
Home Cookin 4.9 Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table - Appetizers
Stuffed Endives With Crab Meat

Fills about 24 leaves
1 2-oz. can whole pimentos
1 green onion
1 shallot
1/2 lb. cooked crab meat
1 tsp. prepared mustard
2 tsp. lemon juice
2-4 Tbl. mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
3 Belgian endives
Chop 1 pimento (reserve the remainder for another use), the green onion,
and the shallot.
Combine the crab meat, mustard, lemon juice, green onion, shallot, and 2
Tbl. of the
mayonnaise, adding more if needed. Add the pimento and season to taste
with salt, pepper,
and paprika. To prepare the Belgian endive cut off 1 inch from the root
end; carefully separate
each leaf. Stuff Belgian endive leaves with crab meat filling.
Servings: 4
Home Cookin 4.9 Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table - Appetizers
Spinach Squares
These are really good. They are from a Woman's Day Home Entertainment Magazine from Dec. 1982.
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen, chopped spinach
1/2 cup choped onion
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
8 eaggs beaten 1
10 to 12 soda crackers, crumbled (2/3 cup)
2 teaspoons herbs, (thyme, rosemary, dill)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated cheddar cheese Parmesan cheese
. Thaw and drain spinach. In large skillet, heat oil. Saute spinach, onioin,
garlic and parsley until lightly cooked. Add eggs, crackers, seasonings and
Cheddar cheese, mix together. Pour into a greased 8 1/4 X 13 1/2 inch baking
dish. Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese and paprika and bake at 325 for 45
minutes, or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. cut in small
squares, about 1 3/4 inches. May be served hot or cold. Makes 36 squares
Servings: 4

Home Cookin 4.9 Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table
Tomato - Oregano Tarts
Source: Roger Verges Vegetables

1 lb very ripe tomatoes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 slice of bread
1/2 lb puff pastry
2 Tablespoons or Capers or
4 oz black olives (Nicoise or Kalamata) - pitted
6 oregano sprigs
Peel and seed tomatoes. Chop coarsely.
Put olive oil into a sauce pan or skillet heat, add tomatoes and salt and
pepper to taste and sautee for 7 to 8 minutes.
Trim crusts from bread and process into crumbs. Mix crumbs with 2 oregano
sprigs. Add to Tomato mixture. Set Aside.
Roll puff pastry into a generous 12 inch square. Place on a chilled baking
sheet. (may also be made into 4 six inch circles, use a tart ring or plate
as a template and cut out)
Prick pastry all over, leaving 1/2 inch border unpricked. Bake for 10
Remove from oven and spread a layer of tomato mixture and sprinkle with
capers or olives. Return to the oven and bake an additional 8 minutes.
If serving as a first course, allow one per person.
Or cut the large tart into small squares and serve as an appetizer in the
living room.
Garnish with sprig of oregano.
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Ruthanna (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 10:22
Small stuffed musrooms would be nice.
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Dances_in_Garden (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 12:04
You have one cold, and one hot. How about one at room temp LOL? In the spring I like to make quiche in a shallow square baking dish, and allow to cool to room temp. Then I roast some asparagus (thin spears) that has been tossed with a little oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle with a tiny tiny amount of good vinegar (or your favorite vinagrette dressing, or just leave alone), and cool to room temp.
A diamond of quiche topped with a thin spear of asparagus tied in a knot. I like this better than cooking the asparagus right in the quiche. If your spears are thicker, just cut to fit. Sprinkle with finely minced red onion.

RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: caliloo (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 13:11
Oh wow! Some great suggestions! Thanks so much for all the ideas.
Keep 'em coming too!
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Cindy_Mac (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 13:14
I like some of these suggestions. The stuffed tomatoes, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, & spinach squares sound great! Think I'll start a Finger Food file.
Ann, few questions on the Spinach Squares. What's the 1 after "8 eggs, beaten"? Is that choice of herb? And how much Parmesan?
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Ann_T (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 13:26
Cindy. that is just a typing error. Sorry.
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Cindy_Mac (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 13:36
Ok. What about the other two?
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: ladyinredokla2002 (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 13:42
My old standby is cucumber sandwiches:
1 big package of cream cheese
1 package HIdden Valley RAnch dressing mix(dry)
Miracle whip--i use about 1-2 tbsp. Mix thoroughly and spread on Sliced French Bread(not toasted). Place 2 slices of cucumber on top. They are wonderful and oh so easy.
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Ann_T (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 14:03
Cindy, I always use fresh dill and then a mix of the rosemary and thyme. You need just enough parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top, around 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: chase (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 14:04
Alexa I've served Ann's crab and endive and it's fabulous!
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: ArabellaMiller (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 15:00
Mmmmm - this thread is a keeper!
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Ann_T (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 15:09
This is another appetizer that is easy to make and is well received. If you don't want to bake your own focaccia you can buy one. I have included the recipe for Tapenade as well.
Home Cookin 4.9 Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table
Focaccia topped with warm Goat Cheese
1 focaccia, homemade or purchases
1 roasted red pepper, cut into strips and drizzled with olive oil.
1 recipe homemade Tapanade (or purchase all ready made)
Chevre (Goat cheese)
. Cut the Focaccia into bite size squares
Cut the roasted pepper into small strips
Warm the Goat Cheese in the microwave to soften.
Put a dollop of goat cheese on top of each square of focaccia.
On half the focaccia place a few strips of pepper and on the other half
place a small spoon of Tapanade.
Home Cookin 4.9 Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table
1/2 pound black olives, pits removed
(do not use canned olives)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 1/2 oz can of anchovy fillets (use all or some)
1 to 2 tablespoons capers
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
. Combine the olives with the garlic, anchovies and capers in the bowl of a
food processor and reduce to a paste. Incorporate the olive oil by pouring
it slowly down the funnel in a stream. You may add less or more olive oil
depending on how thick you want it to be.
Recipe can be cut in half
you can use less anchovies - to taste
puree some fresh chopped basil
use some or all green olives
add 1 to 2 tablespoons brandy

RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Andy_Japan (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 18:12
How 'bout sushi? In addition to cukes (pictured below, but the cukes are too thick!) and things like avocado and crab, you could use asparagus as one of the fillers. Sounds like a great seasonal sushi. I would sautee the tips in a bit of soy and ginger.

RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: caliloo (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 19:47
OMG - What wonderful suggestions all! I am going to ahve a terrible time deciding which to make first LOL!
DH has already put in a request for Ann's Foccacia with Tapenade. He loves my homemade foccacia and is an absolute olive nut. He would eat olives at every meal if he could convince me to include them.
The endive and crab sounds awesome too - I guess since I'll be using chevre and crab for Ann's recipes I'll have to find another filling for the herbed profiteroles LOL.
The cuke sandwiches sound great and do-ahead so they will probably be on the list too.
Oh.... "The Mommies" will be eating well on Tuesday!
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Gina_w (My Page) on Tue, Mar 4, 03 at 19:50
For a cocktail party, a bowl of mixed olives is always nice.
RE: need finger food suggestions.....
 Posted by: Canarybird (My Page) on Wed, Mar 5, 03 at 7:53
Bacon strips cooked until nearly crispy, drained and each strip rolled around a date (pit removed) and secured with a toothpick. Easy to pass around on a plate.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 12:07AM
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One menu I did (I've had quite a few over the years)

Stuffed mushrooms with sausage and then a veggie one as well.
Mini stuffed potatoes
A large fruit and cheese board
Pork tenderloin on rolls
Mini ceasar salad cups (I put the salad in little phyllo cups)
Then mini bite sized cheesecakes, tarts, etc.,.

Then wine, beer and non alcholic drinks.

The potates can be served at room temp.
Meatballs go in a chafing dish.
the tenerloin is presliced and the rolls are precut then have sauces
The cheese and fruit can be done ahead of time as well.
Mushrooms can be heated just before guests arrive and placed out as they start to appear.

Beer and wine can be set up and made into a selve serve type arrangement.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 12:28PM
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When I have a cocktail party, I have bottles of the most in demand hard liquors...Scotch, Gin, Vodka, boutbon and blended whisky. I also have beer and red and white wine....and the mixings for one or 2 "specialty drinks" like cosmos, or margaritas. I really hate a party where there are only a "signiture" cocktail offered.
Then I always serve an ample cheese tray, and pick some other items. Of the other items I [plan 1 1/2 pieces per person. That is 1 1/2 meatballs, stuffed mushrooms, mini quiche, spinach brownies, spanikopits etc...
And then I make a dessert sort of thing....cookies, mini cheese cakes, brownies....whatever....and put out coffee and cups.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 10:31PM
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Our favorite cocktail party menu (especially for the holidays or colder months) is ...

Marinated Black Olives with Rosemary and Lemon Zest
Spiced Baked Chickpeas
Rosemary Nuts
Vegetable Tray with Olive Oil for dipping
Herbed Cheese Spread served with a mix of crackers, pita, thinly sliced peasant bread

We have found that it's good to serve saltier foods with cocktails because it stimulates the appetite -- and we want equal parts eating and drinking since everyone is driving home!

If you'd like recipes for any of these items, just post back and I'll type 'em out for you.

Also, drink-wise, we offer a selection of beer (we're beer snobs) -- usually 3 or 4 different types (Bass, Stella Artois and then 1 or 2 local "holiday" brews), red and white wine, and basic hard liquor like vodka, gin, captain morgan spiced rum and a whisky or scotch, and the appropriate mixers. Depending on the season and number of people coming, we'll also do a pitcher or two of premade specialties -- maybe cosmos or whiskey sours. We always get a couple of cases of bottled water and make sure everyone ends the night with a bottle or two!

One final thought: Our cocktail parties usually start at 7pm, so folks have eaten dinner before they even get here.

Any questions or if you want those recipes, just ask!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 10:38PM
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