Appetizers - Cocktail Party Basics

s a child I was continually told not to eat with my fingers. There is something inherently fun in diminutive food. I just love tiny, bite size open face sandwiches, cakes, quiche, etc.

To estimate how much food you need, there are a few guidelines:
The more variety you serve, the more quantity is needed - people will eat more to sample a bit of everything.
The later in the day the party, the less food you need. You need less for an after dinner cocktail party, than a mid-afternoon cocktail party.
In general, estimate 4-6 bites per hour per guest
Fill in with nuts, olives, crudites and mints

Image courtesy The Gourmet Project
Presentation is Everything

Menu Ideas:
Broadway Nights - Shrimp Cocktail, Stuffed Mushrooms, Lox, Cheese Tray, Thin-sliced Prime Rib open-face Sandwiches, Black and White Mousse Cups

Sex and the City - Chicken Wontons with Plum Sauce, Salmon wrapped Sweet Potato Cubes with Dill Dip, Grilled Fruits, Mini-Cupcakes

Carribbean Getaway - Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Coconut Shrimp, Mango Avocado Salsa, Creamy Crab Dip, Passionfruit Creme Brulee

Mexican Fiesta - Mini Tostadas, Quesadillas, Salsa, Guacamole, Jalapeno Poppers, Sopapillas, Fried Bananas

Girls Night Out - Swedish Meatballs, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Hummus, Pretzel Chips, Marinated Mushrooms, Caramel Popcorn, Truffles

Image courtesy

Try to pick recipes you can make in advance and just pop in the oven or add last second garnishes.

You don't have to make everything from scratch, and don't turn down offers to bring a dish! This is not the time to be a martyr!


  1. Oh, YUM! Barbara, your blog is downright dangerous to read when I'm hungry!

    You must have terrific parties!

  2. Thanks Janet! I try. I love throwing parties. We don't do it too often here, but we've been increasing our frequency lately.

  3. You obviously have a knack for cocktail parties!

    On hubby's side (the fun side where family are our closest friends) when we have a get together we always call them "cocktail parties". Whoever hosts does a theme drink plus a full bar and then each person brings an appetizer of finger foods. Those parties are always the most fun.

  4. Looks very yummy!!! I hope you've been having a wonderful New Year season, thinking of new morsels to cook! I can't wait to see what 2009 brings you!

  5. Great info! Love appys for a party!


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