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. We’ve compiled some of our favorite cocktail party advice, from how to throw one and what to serve.

Dreamy Menu Picks

We love the passed hors d’oeuvres, delectable canapes, and dreamily displayed appetizers 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.

Gourmet Cheese Display

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


Photo by Jen & Chris Creed Photography

 Petite Lobster Corn Dog

What’s not to love about a corn dog? Add in the unexpected element of lobster, and your guests will be thrilled to discover how well the flavors work together. This one-bite appetizer is perfect when passed on trays so guests can mix and mingle while still getting their fill.

Photo by Jen & Chris Creed Photography

Ancho Spiced Shrimp & Grits

Nothing feels more southern than grits, and we love adding a coastal taste by pairing them with shrimp. Guests love the savory heat that our ancho spice blend brings, and the combined flavor packs the perfect punch for your guests’ palettes. Delicious whether displayed or passed, this is a must as at Nashville cocktail party no matter the season.

Ahi Tuna Wonton

The crisp texture of the wonton combined with fresh ahi tuna and topped with our signature salsa blend makes this canape light and refreshing, yet totally filling. We love this as a butler passed appetizer – because when they’re displayed, these never stay around for long!

Dream Events & Catering, Nashville Catering, Spring Menus, Erin Lee Allender (23)

Photo by Erin Lee Allender

Hot Chicken Bao

Asian influenced cuisine is a top trend this year, and our take on a Bao brings Nashville’s hot chicken front and center! These traditional Asian bread rolls filled with Music City’s famous hot chicken are delicious, and incredible whether displayed or passed.

Cranberry Glazed Meatballs

Meatballs are a classic and hearty cold weather dish, but when glazed with cranberry they are brought to new heights. One of our most popular canapes, the Cranberry Glazed Meatballs are filling enough to please even the hungriest of guests. Make extra – these are hard to keep on the tray!


Photo by Jen & Chris Creed Photography

Dreamy Cocktail Party Advice

Throwing a cocktail party is a Dream Team specialty. It can be confusing to plan such a specific gathering that does not have a main meal course. We’ve compiled our top tips to help you plan your Cocktail Party without any pressure!

Do Display

Passed hors d’oeuvres are not 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 canapes 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. We love the Cranberry Glazed Meatballs for this!

Do Vary the Menu

Just because there is no main course doesn’t mean you should serve the expected. Get creative with your cocktail party menu: different tastes, styles, and presentations can help your event stand out. And don’t forget about guests with food allergies or special diets. A water-infused station is a great alternative for non-drinkers, and a vegetarian or gluten-free dish or two is always welcome!

Dream Events & Catering, Infused Water


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