One of the best kinds of parties to go to is the cocktail party. It’s not as stuffy as black-tie or as structured as sit-down dinner parties. Cocktail parties are equal to fun and flirty cocktail dresses and it promotes more mingling, moving around and you actually get to enjoy it. It’s also the easiest to host because you don’t have to come up with a seating arrangement and consider your guests’ dietary requirements. To make sure that you’ve got all food groups covered, here’s a list of dishes you can serve at your party (and oh, don’t forget the overflowing wines, spirits and at least, a one-of-a-kind cocktail specially created for that event):
1. Canapés—Pick those that are spicy or salty or both to promote more drinking. The only rules in canapés are they’re supposed to be bite-sized and pretty to look at. There are many savory meats that you can use to top your bread base. Get creative—a chicken adobo canapé, perhaps?
2. Cold cuts—This needs no preparation. Just go to the deli and get meats, sausages and vegetarian alternatives. Cut them into small pieces and stick them on a toothpick—and voila!—they’re ready for the trays.
3. Crudités—Basically a garden fresh platter, what you need for a prefect crudités tray are sliced vegetables like celery, carrots, bell pepper, broccoli and others that can be eaten raw and a dipping sauce like vinaigrette or blue cheese. It’s up to your guests to choose which ones they like. You just have to lay out all the options.
4. Crackers—If you’re gonna cheat, any “junk” cracker will do. Potato chips, nachos and similar snacks are acceptable, as long as you’ve got a whopping serving of salsa and/or guacamole.
5. Trail mix—This is not for passing around. A trail mix should stay on the bar and the few cocktail tables around the venue. You can also get creative with this. Mix your choice of nuts, granolas, cereals, cookies and chocolates. And since it’s a mix, you have to mix them all up. Or if you think that’s off-putting, separate bowls will also do.
6. Cheeses—Any good cocktail party has a cheese platter. After all, the best way to enjoy wine is with cheese. Monterey Jack, Colby, Swiss, Gouda, Neufchatel, Beaufort—put it all there—even sneak in some cheddar and kesong puti for a personal touch.
7. Sausages—Again, your deli will provide you all the options. Frankfurters are a smash hit, but also try other less common sausages. Grill them, cut them up and serve on sticks.
8. Dumplings—The easiest way to go about this is to stick to wontons and raviolis. For your vegetarian guests, you can get mock meats that actually taste like real meat. They’re available in any decent-sized supermarkets.
9. Breads—Sandwiches cut into bite-sized servings are a safe bet. Have a variety of choices like ham-and-cheese, tuna, egg and many more. You can also have bruschettas or pizzettes with loads of mozzarella.
10. Desserts—Small servings of sweets are always needed to balance the different flavors of the finger foods. Crème brulée, pralines, éclairs and chocolate sticks are cocktail party favorites. Fudges and puddings served in shot glasses will provide the perfect ending to any delightful party.