Have you ever wanted to host a cocktail party but felt like it would be way too much work? Well, I have some great ideas to help make it easy for you to mange.
I recently had a chance to put this to test after I forgot about a cocktail party my husband had invited his coworkers over to attend. He had had told me a few weeks before that we were hosting a cocktail party for his co-workers. I really sort of forgot about it until the week before. Not a big deal but I was in Turks and Caicos so I could not really prepare anything until right before the cocktail party. I decided to find some semi-homemade cocktail party ideas to make prep, entertaining, and clean up a breeze.
Easy Summer Cocktail Party Ideas
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With the kids home and being more busy carting them places all day, I had to find cocktail party recipes that were not only easy but can be prepped ahead of time. I also wanted to use a lot of fresh summer fruits and veggies into my dishes. Having a good balance of homemade dishes and things I could just open and put on the table was important. I was glad I went with a heavier almost meal like menu since they did not leave until after 11 pm.
My semi-homemade summer cocktail party menu consisted of:
- cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto
- Watermelon with Feta and balsamic reduction
- Caprese bites
- Salmon Sliders
- Pesto Pasta & Pea Salad Recipe
- Hummus and veggies
- Assorted Brownies
- Assorted Craft Beers
- Red & White Wine
- Assorted nuts for the bar
Here is the table before the guests arrived. It was a simple setting with wild flowers from my garden in red neck wine glasses and a simple white tablecloth. Not all the items are on the table because I had to assemble the Salmon Sliders after they arrived. If you had limited space to create your buffet, a 3 tier serving tray is a great idea. It’s ideal for serving small appetizers or items that are similar ut have differnt flavor variations.
- Do your shopping for premade desserts, marinated mozzarella balls, salmon and rolls.
- Make the Pesto Peas and Pasta Salad.
- Cut up the watermelon and cantaloupe into serving size pieces
- Cut up the feta into bite size chunks
- Make the sauce for the Salmon Sliders
- Set up Bar and table area
- Make one of our favorite Sangria recipes if hosting in the summer.
DAY OF PARTY:
- About 2 hours before party, take out pasta salad to get to room temp.
- Chill beer and wine if not already
- Cut Rolls for salmon sliders in half and place back into bag.
- Assemble Appetizers such as the Caprese Salad Sticks, Watermelon Feta bites and Cantelope 1 hour before party
- Platter up desserts and Veggie trays.
- Hit up Grill and Grill Salmon. Allow to sit for 15-30 minutes covered.
WHEN GUESTS ARRIVE:
- While they are chatting and enjoying cold cocktail assemble Salmon Sliders
- Take off all coverings on food
- Enjoy your guests
Easy Bite Size Appetizers:
Some of my favorite cocktail party recipes are the bite size appetizers . Assemble Bite size pieces of watermelon in between a small piece of fresh mint and feta. Drizzle with a reduced balsamic reduction.
Skewer a piece of marinated mozzarella balls, purchased at Sam’s club, a piece of Basil and a grape tomato for a refreshing and no fork needed version of a Caprese Salad. This is a favorite elegant cocktail party appetizer option that everyone seems to enjoy.
Wrap small pieces of cantaloupe with prosciutto
Create an appealing hummus and veggie tray. You can disguise the dip or hummus with the Dip A De Do Da. Semi-homemade dips and appetizers are perfect for this cocktail party! They save time and frustration.
For a hearty appetizer make these yummy Salmon Sliders.
For your next cocktail party, use our tips and recipes to make it an easy event that everyone enjoys! Check out our delicious salmon sliders recipe below!
A fun and hearty appetizer Salmon Sliders are a crowd pleaser
- 2 pounds fresh salmon fillets
- Good olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup good mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 12 fresh basil leaves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped scallions (white and green parts)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 fresh white or brioche rolls 2-inch round)
- 1/4 pound mesclun mix or fresh baby spinach
For the salmon, Heat up Grill and grease it. Rub the outside of the salmon with olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste. Grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until the salmon is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. I covered it with tin foil.
For the sauce, place the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, basil, , scallions, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until combined. Make ahead and place in fridge covered overnight.
To assemble the sandwiches, slice the rolls in 1/2 crosswise. Spread a tablespoon of sauce on each cut side. On the bottom 1/2, place some spinach or salad and then a piece of salmon. Place the top of the roll on the salmon and serve immediately.
Adapted from Ina Garten Parties