Cocktail party ideas: group of friends having a toast at a bar

Planning a bottle-popping party soon? Well, get ready to say “cheers” to these fun cocktail party ideas. From creative craft cocktails to fun and festive foods, we’re making it easy for you to create the perfect evening event. Whether you’re planning an office party or a get-together with friends, there’s something for every style of cocktail gathering on this list.

Raise a Glass to These 15 Cocktail Party Ideas

Cocktail party ideas: friends holding 3 cocktail glasses

Cocktail parties are a great way to get friends, family, or coworkers together. Make it a casual event and let your hair down after a busy week or plan a more formal event if you want to add a touch of elegance. However you choose to celebrate, here are 15 cocktail party ideas for a fun time.

1. Serve Hors D’oeuvres

For a chic affair, consider serving fine yet easy fare like a cheese board and charcuterie. Add fresh fruit, flowers, and nuts to make the board even more beautiful. Grilled peach and burrata skewers, pear and apple crostinis, and salmon bruschetta bites are also great options.

2. Go for Easy Party Appetizers

If you’re having a more laid-back cocktail party, consider serving finger foods and small nibbles that are easy for guests to snack on when chatting. Mozzarella cheese sticks, olives, mini meatballs, and shrimp cocktail work well. When in doubt, a veggie or fruit platter is sure to be a big hit.

3. Create a Signature Cocktail

To make your party even more memorable, consider crafting a signature cocktail. You can hire a mixologist to create a special drink or opt for the DIY route and choose one from a list of cocktail recipes. Be sure to give your boozy creation a name that matches the party theme. For example, if you’re throwing a Great Gatsby-inspired shindig, you can call your bubbly beverage a Fitzgerald Fizz or Daisy Spritzer. 

4. Garnish Beverages and Serving Platters

One quick way to elevate any cocktail party is to add garnishes to your food and drinks. Use edible flowers or sprigs of rosemary and other herbs to dress up your dishes. Or go for over-the-top fixings like sliders and bacon strips on bloody marys and other libations.

5. Make Margaritas Like a Pro

The key to a great margarita? Fresh ingredients and high-quality tequila. Take a hint from the pros and make your margarita the authentic way — without the sour mix and simple syrup. Instead, use fresh lime juice, agave, and add a splash of Cointreau, which is more balanced and flavorful than triple sec.

6. Offer Non-Alcoholic Drinks

The alcohol-free trend shows no signs of slowing, so it’s wise to offer an option or two for guests who may not drink alcohol. Make them feel at home by serving up mocktails they can sip and savor alongside everyone else. There are plenty of photo-worthy, booze-free cocktail recipes you can whip up for your celebration. It’s also a good idea to have plenty of sparkling and still water on hand for folks to stay hydrated.

7. Make It a Themed Party

Turn things up a notch by making your cocktail party a themed event. Choose an era, like the Roaring 20s or totally awesome 80s party or 90s theme party. Or consider giving it a creative party theme, like “under the sea” or “all white party.” Other popular cocktail party themes include murder mystery dinner parties and tiki time. Be sure to mention the theme in your invitation so guests can dress accordingly.

8. Choose Custom Glassware

If you’re hosting the cocktail party in your own home, pick up custom glassware to make the event special. You can go for rugged highball glasses or glamorous martini glass. Choose colored stemware for a vibrant effect or go for a crystal option if you want a sophisticated touch.

9. Make a Playlist

Keep guests grooving all night with a fun curated playlist. You can make your own playlist by adding songs to an app like Spotify or search through your favorite music platform’s catalog for a cocktail party vibe — like mellow evening music or pop hits.

10. Make a Dedicated Cocktail Menu

To keep things simple (and keep your budget within reason), consider setting up a pared-down drink menu. Popular drink ideas to consider include a negroni, aperol spritz, old fashioned, and mojito. Instead of classic cocktails, you can also choose to serve just beer and wine. Make sure to have a variety of white wine, red wine, and rose. You can also take it to the next level by making your own sangria.

11. Keep Things Clean

Make sure to provide cocktail napkins for guests to use with their drinks and eats. Also, don’t forget to set out a few trash bins so clean-up at the end of the night is quick and easy.

12. Use Festive Straws

Make drinking cocktails more fun by adding festive straws as garnish. You can use mini umbrellas if you’re hosting a beach-themed cocktail party or go for metallic straws if it’s a holiday party or you’d like to keep things more eco-friendly.

13. Plan Party Games

Worried about keeping guests entertained? Hosting friends or coworkers from different friend groups and departments? Make everyone comfortable by playing ice breakers or fun trivia. You could also consider adapting some dinner party games for adults to keep the fun going. 

14. Make a DIY Cocktail Corner

For a lively get-together, have guests make their own drinks at a fun DIY cocktail bar. You can set out different types of alcohol, mixers, and garnishes for guests to invent concoctions. (Be sure to have non-alcoholic options too.) Make it a game and turn it into a drink competition. The person who creates the tastiest or most creative drink wins a prize.

15. Hang Up Party Decorations

Whether you’re planning a cocktail party for your friends, family, or colleagues, hanging up decorations instantly steps up the atmosphere and helps to set the tone for your event. Consider using confetti and fresh flower centerpieces for an elegant cocktail party. For something more laid-back, classic party decor like balloons and streamers fit right in.

5 Stunning Cocktail Party Invitations to Kickstart the Fun

Invite everyone on your guest list to join in on the fun with these cocktail party invitations. From festive and glamorous to casual and fun, there’s something for every style.

1. Fancy Cocktail Invitation

Cocktail party ideas: Fancy Cocktail Invitation

Design: Paper Raven Co.

This gorgeous invite will have guests hitting the RSVP button in seconds. Featuring a manicured hand holding a specialty cocktail, it’s perfect for casual and glam events alike.

2. Cocktail Garnish Invitation

Cocktail Garnish Invitation

Design: Tennie & Co

Festive and bright, this cocktail invite is well-suited for light-hearted and cheerful gatherings. Customize the design by changing the font and color scheme to fit your mood.

3. Celebrate With Cocktails Invitation

Celebrate with Cocktails Invitation

Design: Lana’s Shop

This Southwestern-inspired invite is ideal for fun and cheerful cocktail parties. Featuring three signature cocktails, you can use it for inspiration for your menu or change the color palette to match a theme.

4. Flowerade Invitation

Flowerade Invitation

Design: Make and Tell

Celebrate summer and sun with this fun and festive invitation. Featuring leaves, flowers, and fresh citrus designs, it’s sure to get guests ready to quench their thirst at your cocktail event.

5. Salut Invitation

Salut Invitation

Design: Llinella

Pop the cork and get ready to say cheers with this casual and fun invitation. Available in five artist-generated colorways, you can match the invite to your party theme or color scheme with just a few clicks.

Plan the Perfect Cocktail Party

When you’re ready to plan the perfect cocktail party, these top tips will help get you there. With cocktail party ideas from food and games to decor and logistics, you’re sure to have a memorable time. 

Need more DIY party planning tips? Continue browsing our Stationers blog where you’ll find everything from party themes and decor to etiquette and invitation wording ideas.