The perfect retro cocktail party
Dec 3, 2014 | by Becky Oeltjenbruns
At-home entertaining was the toast of the town in the 1950s and it’s easy to see why: finger foods, great friends, and yummy drinks – what a combination! Home is the original venue for making social connections and creating lasting memories.
Our newest expert, Bridget at Refined Vintage, is an entertaining maven and she knows how to prepare your home for its social debut. We’re thrilled she’s joining us today to talk through everything you need for hosting the perfect retro cocktail party.
I’ve always loved old things, even when I was little. I still remember my first garage sale find: a sweet ceramic statue, which ended up being a Florence Original. Ever since, I’ve always been on the look-out for the next exciting find – it’s just my way of life.
Retro cocktail party essentials
Establishing your party bar set-up is the first step for the host/hostess-in-the-know. The bar lends the mood for the whole event so you’ll want to carefully consider styling. Bridget recommends finding inspiration on Pinterest and her boards have some great ideas to get you started. To take your arrangement to the next level: play with heights. Varying textures, heights, and colors will draw your guests right to this focal point – which is exactly what you want!
Dishes and accessories you need
Bridget suggests that your first order of business should be to acquire a retro ice bucket and tongs. Ice is the unsung hero of any party and you want to give it some style, rather than making it look like an afterthought. Once you’ve got your ice situation in hand, get a unique cocktail shaker, platters, and garnish trays. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box – use candy dishes as fun vessels for condiments and appetizers. Top it all off with vintage dishes and glassware to add those final touches that your guests will be sure to notice.
Retro cocktail party recipes
In general, you’ll want to focus your energies on simple, easy-to-prepare finger foods. This approach allows you to enjoy your own party and actually get out there and mingle! Here are Bridget’s top picks for your evening’s festivities:
Meat balls with bourbon grape jelly
A modern twist on a beloved classic. Find the full recipe here.
Stuffed celery with cream cheese, sprinkled with Paprika
So simple and surprisingly tasty – just like grandma used to make!
Stuffed celery with spreadable Win Schulers Bar Cheese
The green goodness is at it again. Can’t find this brand of bar cheese at your local store? No worries – substitute with any soft, spreadable cheese of your choice.
A classic that always is a crowd-pleaser
Cocktail sausage links, wrapped with bacon and broiled
If you want to dial down the savory flavors a bit, wrap them in crescent rolls and bake away until golden brown.
Cheese ball and crackers
Cheese plate. Enough said!
Lipton French Onion Dip with potato chips
Potato chips are the standard choice, but if you want a healthier option prepare some fresh veggies for dipping.
These are not only delightful, but you can find lots of fun vintage, deviled egg trays to add a quirky appeal to your buffet table.
1 1/2 oz vodka
3/4 oz sweetened lime juice* ( Like Rose’s)
3-4 lime slices
Pour vodka and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. Shake, and strain into a martini glass. Add three or four slices of lime.
*You could also mix the lime juice with a simple syrup to taste or add Stevia (or a sweetener of your choice) – just be sure to dissolve completely before mixing the drink. To make a classic Gimlet, use gin.
1 1/2 oz cognac
3/4 oz triple sec
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1 orange slice
Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and squeeze lemon into the mixture. Shake and strain into a glass rimmed with sugar. Garnish with the orange slice.
4-6 ounces champagne
.25 ounces Chambord
Add the champagne to a champagne glass and top with Chambord. Garnish with a raspberry and a lemon twist. Learn three ways to make a lemon twist here.
What should be on your play list
Bridget recommends sticking with the classics: Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin will help you set the mood perfectly!
Cause A Frockus would like to thank the amazing Bridget at Refined Vintage and the people who post their images without restriction.
For our readers: What are your go-to cocktail party recipes, tunes, and decoration ideas?