Cocktail parties are a fun and enjoyable way to host friends or loved ones without needing to squeeze into a dark, crowded bar. It also provides a fantastic way for companies to show their employees how much they appreciate them.

But planning the perfect cocktail party during the holidays can be hectic. To help you, here are our top tips for hosting the perfect holiday soiree like no other in Chicago, IL.

Create a budget

This is the determining factor of the entire event. You cannot properly plan and prepare until you know how much you intend to spend. Even if money is not an object to you, having a budget at the onset allows you to keep track of your expenses and where to allocate the money. A budget will help you determine the venue, the number of guests, food and beverage choices, and the decor.

Create a list of priorities with the most important thing at the top, going down to the least important thing. Then figure out the cost of each item on your list. If your budget doesn’t match your list, remove items from the list, starting with the least important to match your strategy. The goal is to prepare a cocktail party you can afford.

Start planning early

Long before the holiday season begins, you must start planning your cocktail party ahead of time, especially if you will be using any external resources.

Make it festive

Plunge your guests into vivid color, a warm, photogenic ambiance, or a bespoke digital projection. If you are hosting a party to honor a holiday or birthday, why not make it a themed party? The event you are celebrating will help define the theme and ambiance you will create at the venue. You can even decorate the venue with candles, elegant flower arrangements and fine linen.


Have a playlist that your guests will love ready to go. Think of mixing up new pop music and old classics for the holidays. Play some music before any guests arrive.Music provides an excellent way to break any awkward silence before the room fills up. It will also help get everyone in the mood for a party.

Prepare signature cocktails in advance

Drinks are the most critical part of a cocktail party. They are crucial to ensuring that everyone is having a good time. Prepare one or two signature cocktails like gin and tonic, a fancy martini or a seasonal vodka drink, and then offer wine, beer, or something bubbly. Serve them alongside a well-stocked self-service bar.

Think about nonalcoholic beverages or mocktails for guests who don’t drink. Set out a few bottles of tonic and sparkling water, as well as a fun mixer like cranberry juice and sliced-up limes. As a rule of thumb, it is always better to have more alcohol than expected than to run out of it mid-party.

Cocktail party food

A cocktail party isn’t intended to be a dinner. So you don’t need to plan a full-course meal. However, you will need to offer your guests food that properly complements the cocktails. You can achieve this by allowing everyone to give ideas to ensure no one is left out. A great way to get ideas is by emailing your guests with a poll asking them what they want to see at the party. Simple foods such as

Some true and tried cocktail party foods include finger foods, canapés, sweets, savory tarts, and horse d’oeuvres. These foods allow guests to nibble throughout the event as they feel the need to. Consider having a variety of food stations. They are fun and bring a lot of culinary excitement to an event.

Alternatively, you can choose to work with professional cocktail caterers.

Need help planning a cocktail party? Contact Corky’s Catering

Planning your first cocktail party can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. At Corky’s Catering, cocktail hour is our specialty. We offer the most professional and reliable event catering services in Chicago, IL, for private and corporate events. Our cocktail catering business has served the Chicago area for over 20 years. We can handle all aspects of your corporate party, from preparing customized menus and buffet-style setups to creating show-stopping entertainment that will help your guests relax and let their hair down.

Also, we work with some of the most exclusive venues in Chicago, Illinois, meaning we can create any experience you want. Whether you are looking for a wedding caterer or catering service for a corporate event, engagement party, birthday party or to celebrate a holiday, our friendly and experienced cocktail party caterers will ensure your cocktail party is a great success.

Corky’s Catering can handle your cocktail party catering needs so you can focus on the more essential tasks of the day. To find out more about our cocktail party catering services, visit our site to view our menus at, or get in touch with us at 630-396-3030 today to request an appointment with our experienced cocktail party caterer.


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