5 Tips for Your Next Cocktail Party

Sometimes throwing a party can seem like an overwhelming task, especially if you don't have a ton of experience. We recently threw a Goldmine cocktail party and we wanted to give a few tips to help navigate through your planning process. Our party was simple, thrown in the backyard, and in honor of our dear sister Lindsay. We strung some lights up, pulled out a couch and some chairs for seating and set up some basic tables and threw some linens over them. We even brought out a bar to serve drinks (one of the perks of having a mom who is an event planner and has a bar lying around). 

1. Compose your appetizers like you would a dinner
Think protein, starch and veggie. Examples would be nuts, bread, olives, etc... We made a simple spread of pickled vegetables, BLT bites, lettuce cups, chimichurri chicken skewers, a cheese board and a stacked strawberry shortcake for the birthday girl. 
2. Don't feel like you have to go all out on decorations. 
Focusing on a simple vignette on the food table or bar not only makes more of an impact but also keeps you, the party planner, from feeling too overwhelmed. It's helpful to come up with a color scheme as well, to keep the party prep focused and concise. For more of a modern feel, we decided on a scheme of black, white, and clear with a few colorful flowers thrown in. Even though it was in the backyard, we didn't want it to feel too rustic. The banners added another element of color and festiveness to the party decor. 
3. Use real plates, flatware and things you already own. 
You won't have to decorate much because real plates "elevate" the look. Come up with a theme ahead of time and try and stick with that theme throughout. (ie. modern, vintage, etc...)
4. Serve a cocktail that can be made all at once, so that you don't have to be mixing drinks all night. 
Nobody wants to be a slave to the bar the whole night. For our party, we made Vodka Strawberry Lemonade. We made a few pitchers beforehand that were easy to pour into glasses once the guests arrived. (Jump to the bottom of the post for our recipe!)
5. Flowers. Always pick up flowers from your local farmers market or grocery store.
You can keep them as one big arrangement for a centerpiece, or you can break them up for small arrangements around the party. We went to the local farmers market because they always have the best flower vendors there. The vendors had plenty of arrangements to choose from, but they also let us customize our own arrangement. Peonies were out of season, so we decided to do a big arrangement of just dahlias. We picked out as many as we wanted and they wrapped up the bouquet for us! Splitting the arrangements up and putting them in small glasses helped to spread it out throughout the party. By doing that, it feels like you are getting more for your money.

And one last bonus tip - don't you miss the days of having printed photos of parties?  Take loads of photos so you can actually print them out, or even make a party photo book from Shutterfly.
We had such a blast throwing this party and our friends and family stayed well into the evening to celebrate Lindsay. 

We hope these tips are helpful for you. If you are ever in need of some party foods we've got lots of appetizer and cocktail recipes under our recipe tab. What are some of your favorite ways to gather with family? What's your best birthday memory? We'd love to hear from you!

Megan & Christina

Recipe for the Strawberry Lemonade Cocktail: 
Serves 6 
  • 1 cup vodka 
  • 3 cups lemonade ( store bought or homemade) 
  • 3/4 strawberry puree
  • strawberry and lemon slices
Grab a pitcher and mix all the ingredients together. Serve over ice and garnish with a strawberry or lemon slice.

Cocktail Recipe & Food: Megan Forbes
Photos: Christina Hussey

Eating In // Quick & Easy Veggie Pizza

This little meal is perfect for those nights when you're just cooking for two. It's super quick and light.

The Goods (Serves 2):
2 flatbread wrap (store bought)
1/2 zucchini, sliced
1/4 heirloom tomato, sliced
2 tbls tzatziki sauce (you can use our recipe found at this post here)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
3-4 jalapeƱo slices (optional)
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the flatbread on a baking sheet and spread a thin layer of the tzatziki sauce onto the breads.

2. Layer the cheese and sliced veggies on top and bake for 10 minutes or so.

Give it a try and let us know what you think. Enjoy!

Recipe: Megan ForbesPhotos: Christina Hussey

Strawberry- Cilantro Mojito // Weekend Cocktails No. 15

It's summertime so I don't see why you shouldn't make a big batch of this drink with fresh summer strawberries and share it with your best friends. It's very simple and refreshing. The cilantro gives it a bite and the honey adds a bit of flavor depth. Have fun this weekend, folks.

makes 1 drink

  • 2 oz rum (10 Cane is a good brand)
  • 3/4 fresh strawberries 
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbls. honey 
  • ice 
Take all of your ingredients and blend it up in a blender until icy and smooth. Garnish with a strawberry and a cilantro sprig. Enjoy

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