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Cocktail parties are elegant affairs that promise an exciting range of creative drink choices. You might choose to hire a venue for your party or host it at home. Whatever option you pick there are a few simple tips you can follow to make the event unforgettable.

#1 Choose a menu

When it comes to cocktails, you have amyriad of choices. Rather than including a sprawling menu that will likely confuse your guests, pick a select few cocktails that match the theme. This might include classics like espresso martinis and bellinis or other, more modern cocktails like zombies. Of course,if you have the alcohol reserves, you can let guests order custom cocktails of their own choosing.

#2 Pick a theme

Cocktail parties are fertile ground for themes. Classics include Roaring 20s, Great Gatsby style affairs and 1970s discos are extraordinarily popular. The only limit on themes is imagination, so get creative! Of course, it pays to keep your guests in mind and be a little practical. Difficult to render costumes might deter people, so it’s always worth remaining a little grounded. If guests can get their costumes together based on items that they already own, then they’re much more likely to attend.

#3 Get the snacks right

Although the cocktails are the main event, you’ll want to include a few snacks to keep your guests feeling satisfied. Cheeseboards are overwhelmingly the best choice here. You can mix it up and include lots of different types of cheeses, and throwing in some crackers makes for a tasty, late-night feast. Other bar snacks like peanuts are also great choices, and lots of cocktail parties serve hors d’oeuvres, such as olives.

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#4 Hire professional mixers

No matter how exciting it looks to mix a cocktail, spending all night making drinks can get tiresome – especially when you would rather be socializing with your guests. Hiring an event bartender is one way to solve this problem. Bringing in professional bar staff doesn’t just free you up to enjoy the party, it also means better cocktails. Bar staff know all the tips and tricks to whip up the best drinks in double quick time, lifting the burden off your shoulders.

#5 Keep things formal

Casual parties certainly have their place, but cocktails are suggestive of a more upmarket vibe. Keeping things formal gives your party real gravitas. Suits and ties are great choices, but many cocktail parties go even further. Dinner jackets and bow ties create a high-class atmosphere. Waistcoats, elegant dresses and smart shoes help to make a cocktail party stand out for the crowd.

#6 Make a playlist

Last but not least, the right music makes all the difference when it comes to ambience. Although every party is different, loud and raucous music can seem jarring. Instead, opt for smooth, laid-back tunes. Jazz is an excellent choice, as is light piano music. Keep the volume low enough so that guests can talk, but high enough to build ambience.