Create a festive party for sixteen with a variety of small bites
After years of catering and entertaining, I’ve learned one thing for certain: Nobody eats before a cocktail party. “Just a few hors d’oeuvres” (as every host likes to put it) ends up being dinner for most party guests. So rather than fight it, I’ve learned to plan a cocktail party menu as if it were a bite-size dinner. Like any other meal, you need a variety of tastes, textures, and ingredients.
To me, the key to a successful cocktail party is to prep almost everything ahead and save the most critical steps for the last minute. Just start the party with an anchor—an item that’s totally ready to go when your guests walk in the door. A beautiful basket of crudités with a creamy dip, for example, ensures that they have something to nibble on while you put the finishing touches on the other hors d’oeuvres.
Download a pdf of this menu, including all recipes, shopping list, and timeline.