Creamy Cucumber Bites

Dreamy Cocktail Parties: How to Throw One + What to Serve

Cocktail parties are timeless, and often serve as after-work networking events, or informal holiday gatherings. While a cocktail hour is meant to be light on dining and heavy on drinks, cocktail parties are stand alone events that should have substantial foods to feed hungry guests. Read on for some of our favorite cocktail party advice, from how to throw one to what to serve.

Dreamy Cocktail Party Advice

Throwing a cocktail party is a Dream Team specialty. We’ve compiled our top tips to help you plan your cocktail party without any pressure!

Do Display

Passed hors d’oeuvres aren’t the only way to go at a cocktail party. Displaying some food keeps hungry guests from waiting in front of the kitchen door and allows people to get their fill at their own pace. Plus, beautifully displayed canapés can add an unexpected design element to the event.

Don’t Go Too Light

People are bound to show up to a cocktail party with an appetite – so while a seated dinner might not be on the agenda, don’t go too light on food options. Many attendees will be coming from work and will treat your event like dinner, so be sure to have some heavier (but still bite-sized) options available. 

Do Vary the Menu

Get creative with your cocktail party menu: different tastes and presentations can help your event stand out. And don’t forget about guests with food allergies or special diets. Make sure to have a vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free option. Plus, don’t forget the mocktails! They are a great alternative for non-drinkers.

Don’t Forget Dessert 

Dreamy bite-sized desserts or dessert shooters are the perfect ending (or beginning, who says you can’t have dessert first?!) to any cocktail party.

Dreamy Menu Picks

We love the delectable hors d’oeuvres that cocktail parties are known for. There are dozens of options to put together a memorable menu selection, so the dream team has put together some of our top picks for a dreamy cocktail party menu.

Charcuterie Board Displays

Charcuterie boards are often anticipated at a cocktail gathering, but bring yours to the next level by making it a gourmet fine meat and cheese display. Having some of the finest meats, cheeses, berries, nuts, and other accompaniments throughout the display act as a design element in addition to satisfying appetites.

Charcuterie Board Display
Mini Hot Chicken and Waffles

What’s not to love about chicken and waffles? Add in the unexpected hint of maple ranch and sriracha honey, and your guests will be thrilled to discover how well the flavors work together. This appetizer is perfect when passed on trays so guests can mix and mingle while still getting their fill. This is a must at any Nashville cocktail party.

Petite Lobster Corn Dog

Switch it up and add some petite corn dogs to the mix. We love adding a coastal taste by pairing them with lobster. Guests love the tempura crunch along with our lemon caper aioli, the combined flavor packs the perfect punch for your guests’ palettes. Delicious whether displayed or passed, this is a unique crowd pleaser that will wow your guests.

Hot Chicken and Waffle Bites
Creamy Cucumber Bites

Creamy cucumber bites are the perfect option for the vegetarian and gluten free eaters at your event! The crisp texture of the cucumber alongside boursin and the hint of red pepper jelly makes this canapé light and refreshing. We love this as a butler passed appetizer – because when they’re displayed, these never stay around for long!

Creamy Cucumber Bites
Buffalo Chicken Pinwheel

Need we say more? Our perfectly pulled chicken mixed with celery cream cheese and buffalo sauce will have guests drooling. These buffalo chicken pinwheels are delicious, and incredible whether displayed or passed.

Berry and Brie Bites 

Berry and brie phyllo bites are a real crowd pleaser, and a great single bite appetizer. These little bites make the perfect presentation so it’s impossible not to snatch one. The sweet raspberry contrasts well with the melted brie for a match made in heaven!

Berry and Brie Phyllo Bites

Photos by Jen Creed, Amy Allmand, Jaclyn Simpson, and  McKenzie Thompson

Want the Dream Team’s help with planning your next Nashville Cocktail Party? Get in touch and we’ll gladly get started,