5 Tips for Hosting a Great Party

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We love parties here at Trade Eights Cocktails. Going to them, throwing them, reading about them even. But throwing a fun party and more importantly, being a good host, takes some work.  Ripping open a bag of chips and telling people to “make yourselves at home!” won’t cut it. Here are some tips on how to treat your guests right:

1. Music:  Set the proper mood with some well-chosen tunes. We definitely recommend building a playlist from scratch. It’s a little more work (who are we kidding, it’s a ton more work), but it’s worth it because you’re able to create a mix of tempos, genres and bands that appeal to your guests and fit the vibe you’re trying to create.  So first focus on your audience and pick songs that will appeal to the mix of tastes.  Since you’re building it from scratch you’ll be able to create a playlist that has some better-known songs and other tunes that will let your guests know what you’re into now.

Be sure to give your playlist a full listen before unleashing it on your guests. You may have forgotten that one of your song choices has a super-long and loud guitar solo in the middle. So give it a listen when you’re getting things set up.

Make a playlist that’s about three hours long that way your guests will listen to most of it without any repeats.  If it’s much longer, some of those great songs you chose won’t be played.

If you’re the risk-tolerant sort, try adding a little attendee participation to the mix. Connect your laptop or iPad to a Bluetooth speaker or Sonos with your favorite streaming service and get your guests to add songs to the queue like a modern juke box. This, of course, assumes you trust your friends’ music choices.  But perhaps that’s part of the fun.

2. Food:  If you’re like us, we’re not built to camp out in the kitchen for hours before guests arrive. Simple, delicious hors d’oeuvres are the name of the game. Remember, this stuff will likely be sitting around for hours, so it’s got to look just as good at 11pm as it did at 7pm so consider your menu wisely.  We like Mark Bittman’s hummus recipe with lots of paprika. Also check out these easy to make party platters from the folks at Real Simple like the Charcuterie platter and the Vegetable plate. Yum.  But, if desperation calls, a Costco run can always save the day.

3. Drinks:  Your guests will likely bring the obligatory 6 pack of beer or a bottle of wine, so you should have something different for them. You guessed it. We think cocktails or other mixed drinks are the best way to add variety. Making one-off cocktails for each guest, though, will turn you from a suave host into a disgruntled employee. We recommend a boozy punch like one of these to keep you partying and not bartending. Another option is, of course, buying several types of bottled cocktails, which is even easier.  Who doesn’t like easy?

4. Drinkware:  With all those drinks, you’re going to need plenty of cups. Glassware is out of the question because you’ll have enough to clean up after the party.  Although your drinkware needn’t be fancy, you’ve likely outgrown the solo cup that often brings back “interesting” memories from college. As an alternative, we’ve had success with these Tossware stemless wine glasses. They’re recyclable (and BPA-free) so you won’t feel crappy when you, well, toss them at the end of the night. Plus they make clean up at the end of the night a breeze.

5. Games:  Depending on the size of your party, sharing a game together can keep the convos going and the drinks flowing. We like Cards Against Humanity for this job. Easy to pick up quickly for the uninitiated and fun for those who have played before. (Caution: this game is for adults and those not easily offended). Another option, depending on the time of year and how responsible your guests are, an outdoor game of bean bag toss is a great option to get people moving, cheering and unreasonably competitive. 

And there you go. The basics of being a good/possibly great host for your next shindig. Have fun!