Published on May 25th, 2012 | by thevyne


Last Minute Cocktail Party Planning Tips

By Kailei R.

Have you ever found out at the last minute that friends were in town and wanted to come by to visit, or have you had an impromptu visitor but you weren’t sure how to pull something classy together quickly? The next time you’re in a pinch, use one of these last minute cocktail party tips.


  • Wine: Unless you know that the people coming over don’t like wine, you should have some available. Plan for 3-4 glasses per bottle, and a mix of red and white would do. If you don’t already, make sure to have some at home (at least one bottle of white in the fridge and some red in your wine rack).
  • Quick Sangria: Get the following from the grocery store:
    • A jug of wine (I know, who buys a jug of wine? But believe me, cheap wine works just as well as the expensive stuff in this recipe). In the summer I get white wine, but any wine will do.
    • A container of white grape juice concentrate (in the frozen juice section)
    • Some fresh fruit: I usually do something like one apple, one orange, one container of blackberries. But you can use just about any fruit except strawberries or bananas.
    • Some Triple Sec and/or Peach Schnapps


  • Chop up the fruit (except berries – they can go in as is). Grab a pitcher and place the fruit and the container of white grape juice (I usually pour some of the wine in there to get the last bit out). Add in some Triple Sec and/or Peach Schnapps (I’d say maybe 1/3 cup), and fill the pitcher with the wine. Stir and serve over ice.
  • Non-Alcoholic Drinks: I think it’s always good to have at least water and another non-alcoholic drink. Sparkling water and lime, ginger ale, or another soda are good options.


I like to call these my around the world appetizers. A little Spanish, a little Mediterranean, a little French, a little Mexican, and there’s something for everybody!

  • Fruit and cheese: Pick up some hard and soft cheeses, crackers and grapes.
  • Baked brie: You’ll need a firm round of brie,  honey, some Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers, and some sliced French bread. Cook the brie for 10 minutes on 350 degrees in the oven. You can also stick the French bread in the oven while it’s cooking to get it a little crusty. Use a spatula to place the brie on a platter, cover the top of brie with honey or jam (it’s good if it oozes over the side of the brie), and surround the brie with crackers and bread.
  • Hummus, pita chips and carrot sticks
  • Quick guacamole: For two people (adjust accordingly) I get three ripe (soft) avocados, two limes, one container of fresh pico de gallo, and some Adobo seasoning. Cut the avocados and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Mash it as much as possible. Squeeze in the juice of the limes, ad in a couple dashes of Adobo seasoning, and add in at least ¼ cup of the pico de gallo (you can add more to taste). Mix it all together, taste often to get the flavors right, and serve with tortilla chips (I like the chips with a hint of lime).

Presentation is key! So put the food on nice plates, serve the sangria in some nice glasses, pick up some fresh flowers while you’re out, and voila! They’ll never know you put everything together in 30 minutes.

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One Response to Last Minute Cocktail Party Planning Tips

  1. LeRon says:

    Kailei makes the best sangrias, so make sure to follow this recipe!

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