Magazine article Black Enterprise

The Casual Cocktail Party: A New Take on an American Tradition

Magazine article Black Enterprise

The Casual Cocktail Party: A New Take on an American Tradition

Article excerpt

Many people love to entertain. But while they welcome the company, conversation and conviviality, most dislike the fuss and formality. For them, the '90s casual cocktail party with its easy, informal manner mey be the entertaining style of choice.

A generation ago, the words "cocktail party" conjured up version of a slinky-gowned hostess, dinner-jacketed host and gleaming silver trays of gourmet foods. Today's cocktail party is a nofrazzle affair where the relaxed party giver has as much as the guests. Casual, however, does not mean haphazard or unprepared. It means being so completely organized beforehand that the party seems to run itself. Of course, providing easy pleasure is hard work, yet it must seem effortless.

A Party's Success Is In The Planning

The work begins with the invitation. State the time your party begins and don't be shy about stating the time it ends--6 p.m. to 9 p.m., for example. Although guests may linger for another half hour, it lets them know what kind of party it is, whether they should expect dinner and whether they should make other plans for the rest of the evening. At the same time, consider how many people you can accommodate. Casual does not mean crowde; it means confortable.

A significant difference in the cocktail party of the '90's is that fewer people actually drink cocktails now. Consider that when you're planning your beverages. Since more people are drinking wine, have on hand a variety of dry white wines---Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or Chardonnay--as well as such light reds as Beaujolais, Italian Merlot, Bardolino, Valpolicella, Swiss Dole or Merlot. You may also want to serve a lightly spiked punch. For those who abstain from alcohol, have sodas, bottled waters and fruit juices available.

Not everyone has turned away from mixed drinks. …

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