Hosting a chic evening cocktail party with true French flair doesn’t have to be a stressful event. Throw a colorful runner down the length of a table, put out glasses and plates, and assemble a selection of party-perfect food.
There is no need to have jacketed waiters wandering the room with bottles of bubbly. Make your drink station self-serve with all the necessary cocktail accoutrements and printed recipe cards for any special blends you want to serve.
Set up a table with bottles of one or two varieties of wine, as well as ingredients for the “theme cocktail” for your party. For a classy Old Paris-vibe, try serving black current Pompiers. If you’re aiming for a more relaxed French get-together, serve the classic Pernod and Water.
Have carafes of hot water for tea, coffee and water on hand as an alternative for those abstaining from alcohol. If the party you’re hosting is on the extravagant side, add hot milk in a thermal carafe and a small pitcher of cream so guests can make their own Café Au Laits and Café Cremes to close the evening.
Load your food table with easy make-ahead selections that showcase authentic French flair. Don’t feel obligated to feed your guests a huge dinner buffet; cocktail parties thrive when the host offers a small variety of carefully chosen simple items. Serve only one or two elaborate menu items, especially if you’re new to entertaining. For the most efficient control of traffic flow, separate the serving area from the drink station.