Sep 17, 2023
10 Hosting Essentials Guaranteed to Elevate Your Next Cocktail Party, Starting at Just $6
Everything looks more expensive than it really is. Elisabeth Sherman is a
Everything looks more expensive than it really is.
Elisabeth Sherman is a writer, editor, and fact-checker in the food, culture, and entertainment spaces. She has been working professionally at national magazines since 2015.
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Food & Wine / Tyler Roeland
So you’ve invited your friends over for a cocktail party. The best way to make your guests feel welcome is to serve appetizers ready to eat when they walk in the door (everyone needs a full stomach before you start opening the champagne, right?). But throwing olives on a paper plate will not do. If you want to stand out and make an impression you need elegant charcuterie boards arranged with neat rows of delectable finger foods. After all, festive cocktail party decor sets the mood for a memorable evening.
There are lots of small touches you can make to your home that will make your guests gasp with delight. From ice cubes in adorable shapes, to a self-service drink dispenser and classy set of cheese knives, we’ve rounded up eight products that will impress all your guests. They might even earn you the title of best party host in your friend group.
To buy: $8 at amazon.com
These cat-shaped toothpicks can skewer small snacks like cut up fruit and olives, and add a touch of personality to your snack spread. Leave a cup full of them next to the appetizers for your guests to grab as they graze. You're guaranteed to hear a couple "Oh how cute!" exclamations. These rainbow-hued toothpicks adorned with peacocks are another fun way to decorate cocktails as well, too.
To buy: $30 at amazon.com
Cocktail parties are immediately elevated by the presence of a cheese and charcuterie board. Presenting your guests with a choice of cheese, sliced meats, nuts, and crackers on this elegant wooden board as soon as they walk in the door to make them feel welcome and spoiled. This durable version doubles as a cutting board, and at 17-inches by 13-inches, it's spacious enough that you can customize your own appetizer platters with extras like dried fruit, chocolate covered pretzels, and pickle spears.
To buy: $18 at amazon.com
Honey is a must-have accompaniment to a charcuterie board. A little honey dabbed on top of an almond or a wedge of brie is delightful. Instead of spooning a blob of honey directly on your serving platter or into a plain bowl, leave honey out for your guests in this much more stylish honey jar which comes with a dipper. You can also bring it back out if you’re serving hot tea at the end of the night.
To buy: $30 at amazon.com
Your guests need to be able to slice cheese for themselves, but not any old knife from your drawers will do. This lustrous set is made from sturdy stainless steel and has a gold finish for a polished, tasteful look. And the three styles of knives will come in handy for all the types of cheese you want to serve: The spear-shaped knife is for crumbly cheese, the cleaver works on hard cheeses, and there's a soft cheese spreader included, too.
To buy: $30 (originally $45) at amazon.com
Sometimes you want to expand your snack spread beyond what's offered on the cheese board. For that, you need this divided appetizer serving tray, which offers five separate compartments for candied nuts, chocolate-dipped orange slices, caramel popcorn, gummy candies, or whatever else you’re serving . This might be particularly useful after the savory snacks have been served and it's time for something sweet.
To buy: $11 at amazon.com
If you’re serving a meal, consider placing this chic, minimalist bamboo salt cellar on the dining table. It offers an easy way for your guests to add a sprinkle of salt to their dish, and the sleek bamboo design will fit in with almost any kitchen decor. This is the kind of thoughtful touch that your guests might remember (and copy) when they spot it next to the candlesticks.
To buy: $28 (originally $30) at amazon.com
You’ve probably already got a cabinet full of tumblers and wine glasses. But these shimmery cocktail glasses are an upgrade on your typical cocktail glasses. They have a rainbow effect, and will immediately make your guests feel like they’re at a lively party. Make a batch of martinis or fill them up with champagne and throw on your best dancing music to help your guests loosen up and feel at ease.
To buy: $30 at amazon.com
Speaking of those drinks, how you serve them matters. A self-service dispenser has many benefits: Your guests can control how much they want to fill their cup, they don't have to rummage around your fridge to refill, and you, the host, are free from dutifully circulating the room with a pitcher to mingle with your friends. This set is especially fun for outdoor parties, like a barbecue, and comes with labels so your guests can easily identify what you’re serving.
To buy: $20 at amazon.com
These multi-colored reusable glass straws have a playful, summery vibe. Stick one of these in a can of hard seltzer or a glass of iced tea to add a little levity to your gathering. There's just something about sipping from a silly straw that gets party-goers in the mood for mischief — and these are particularly appropriate for sipping drinks by the pool.
To buy: $6 (originally $7) at amazon.com
A fun straw is just one way to make your drink stand out. An ice cube in an adorable and unexpected shape is an automatic crowd pleaser. This particular tray makes heart, star, and moon-shaped ice cubes, and it's made of silicone so popping the ice cubes out is effortless. I’m particularly partial to this one in the shape of cats as well.To buy To buy: To buy: To buy: To buy To buy: To buy: To buy: To buy To buy