How To Throw An Easy Cocktail Party

Cocktail parties were a popular social gathering fueled by Prohibition in the first few decades of the 1900s and all but ended during the last part of the century. However, they are back and better than ever!

So, how do you throw a cocktail party? It’s an easy party to plan!

Here’s a guide to get you on your way.

Cocktail Party Invitation

A beautiful invitation is great, but keep in mind that guests appreciate the convenience of an electronic RSVP. So, if you choose to send an invitation via mail, an additional email will help in securing timely RSVP’s.

Greetings Island has a variety of beautifully designed invitations that can be downloaded, mailed, or emailed.

What Time Should A Cocktail Party Start?

The typical time to host a cocktail party is between 6 to 8 pm. Cocktail parties generally last for only about 2-3 hours. By providing an end time, your guests can make plans afterwards and you won’t be left with a guest who overstays their welcome.

man and woman toasting drink with group of friends at outdoor wood table

Cocktail Party Essentials


The food served at a cocktail depends on:
• Theme (if chosen)
• Budget
• Number of guests
• If dinner will be served
As you plan the menu, aim for variety and plan on serving roughly 6 bites per person, per hour if dinner will not be served.

Here’s 49 bite-size party appetizers from Delish for your cocktail party.


Here are a few important tips to keep in mind when planning the drink menu:
• The season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)
• Theme (e.g. Southern Cocktails & Bites)
• Budget
• Number of guests
• Cocktails you will be offering
It’s not a bad idea to also have beer and wine stocked for your guests. Once the details have been ironed out then it’s simply a game of numbers.

For seasonal cocktail ideas, download our Cocktails by the Season. 

close up image of two drink glasses with amber colored liquid and black straw

How Many Drinks Per Guest?

The general guideline is that guests will consume 2 drinks the first hour and 1 drink per hour after that. However, you know your guests best, if this doesn’t seem to be enough then adjust accordingly.
For instance, if you have 7 guests attending for 3 hours and are hosting a 1920’s theme party that will be serving gin and tonic, you need enough drink ingredients for 28 gin and tonics.

group of friends laughing at bar while holding cocktails

Party Favors

Send your guest home with a party favor that has them raving about how great of a host or hostess you are. A great way to do this is with pre-packaged food, such as cookies or a locally made chocolate. These small treats will fit perfectly in a decorative box that adds a special touch.

Distinct Delights offers handcrafted European chocolates in small batches.

box of assorted chocolates in blue box on white surface

Throwing a cocktail party is an easy and fun party to plan that brings together friends for a good time. In the end, that is all that matters!

Find Bogue Sound liquor on a shelf near you for your next cocktail party!