How to throw a stylish cocktail party … in a small apartment!

‘Tis the season people come indoors to party. What better opportunity to have a fun time with friends than over simple nosh, great drinks, and introducing friends to new people.

Hosting takes skill to do it right, but with the right prep work you can throw an elegant, simple, and fun get-together everyone (even you) will enjoy.

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  1. Know your audience. Standing-room-only style parties are more intimate and ultimately more fun. Invite anyone you like, the more the merrier. On average if you invite 20 people maybe 8 will come. So invite more than you think you can comfortably fit in your apartment.
  2. Make it festive, dress it up. I always request my guest wear something chic or cocktail attire. Not everyone gets it, but somehow the more festive the dress code, the more amped up the party. I always buy sweet snacks based on how cute they look. A little bowl of colored ribbon candy does the trick.
  3. Nosh. Make it simple without being boring. I like the basics, a bowl of not your typical grapes or figs, some sort of homemade dip with pita chips, crudités that’s hand cut by me, and easy bruschetta. I love brownies or little sweet bites like macaroons too. Make sure if you’re serving drinks, that your bites are truly bite-sized. You can’t give guests a glass, a plate and a fork without it being awkward.
  4. Libations. Easy rule of thumb for drinks: supply the mixers, the garnishes, and one bottle of hard liquor like vodka or gin. You could also alternatively have a simple punch or sangria on hand too. Always have something special for those non-drinkers like pelligrino or lavender soda, you never want to add to the awkwardness. Having a couple bottle of prosecco or cava or white wine on hand is good too. Save costs by asking people to BYOB, it’s totally appropriate these days.
  5. Set the stage. The magic is in the details: lights, music, pretty. Make sure your place is clean, especially the bathroom. Add candles, and turn off the overhead lights. Think about where your guests will put their coats, bags, boots. Make cute signs if you have to, that way you’re not interrupted with the same questions over and over again. And don’t forget the music. Pandora works, but the commercials suck. Ask friends to bring their ipod or mix, and let the mood take hold.
  6. Remember whom your guests came to see: You. Don’t hide in the kitchen. Welcome each guest, introduce them to someone you’d think they’d find interesting and tell them why you think they should chat. The best hosts always make the party about their guests, not about them. Make sure everyone is having a good time. The rest is a piece of cake!
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