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Fast, Fabulous and Fun Cocktail Party

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By Heather Juma

A Cocktail Party is the perfect way to throw a great party without all the fuss involved in planning a dinner party. Cocktail Parties are fun and glamorous, you can look like you knocked yourself out and ?wow? everyone with a quick trip to the supermarket.To keep things glamorous, serve all beverages in martini glasses or champagne flutes. Set up a self serve station for drinks and appetizers, include the basics like glasses, napkins, and plates for appetizers. Purchase high quality cocktail napkins and do not use paper plates.

If you have a beautiful table cloth, stack some books and small boxes (sturdy shoe boxes will do the trick) of varying heights on the table, cover with the table cloth. Place your best serving trays on the covered books and boxes, this will make an interesting arrangement as the serving trays will be at different levels on the table. Place flowers in a beautiful vase and light votive candles, arrange these on the serving table for a glamorous effect. A few strategically placed wine buckets with bottles of wine and champagne will add a look of elegance to the table.

You?ll want to offer a wide array of appetizers for your guests to nibble on. Crackers fanned out across a platter, bowls of olives and drained roasted red pepppers, a wide variety of nuts, ready made dips and spreads in beautiful bowls, bread sticks served upright in glasses, slice up a baguette and serve with a purchased olive oil based dipping sauce. Serve prewashed baby carrots, and quickly sliced red and green peppers with purchased dip or hummus, serve a variety of cheeses on a cutting board surrounded by grapes, figs, sliced pears or apples sprinkled with a bit of lemon to prevent discoloration. Go over the top and serve paper thin slices of salmon on crackers topped with a smidgen of herb flavored cream cheese, break out the caviar and your favorite store bought pate.

It?s best to have the bar area separate from the food area, to avoid everyone gathering in one spot. Prepare one special signature drink to offer each guest as they arrive to get the party started. Provide sparkling waters, both flavored and unflavored, a wide array of beers, wines and sodas. You?ll want to serve both white and red wines and of course your favorite champagne; add a few mixers to the bubbly like creme de cassis for a Kir Royale or a touch of peach nectar for a luscious Bellini. If you don?t want to serve as bartender all evening set up a well stocked self serve cocktail station with all the necessities and make sure to have plenty of ice!

Well it?s time to dim the lights, light some candles, play your favorite CDs or iTunes on the Ipod, slip into that slinky, sexy dress of yours and get ready to impress your guests!

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