Cocktail Parties for Dummies

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Cocktail parties: In the '50s and '60s, they were de rigueur. In the '90s, they're en vogue, and Cocktail Parties For Dummies shows why.

In this compact but thorough guidebook, premier party consultants Jaymz Bee and Jan Gregor reveal their secrets for how to

  • Decide whether to throw a large party or a small one
  • Get people to mix together as...
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Cocktail parties: In the '50s and '60s, they were de rigueur. In the '90s, they're en vogue, and Cocktail Parties For Dummies shows why.

In this compact but thorough guidebook, premier party consultants Jaymz Bee and Jan Gregor reveal their secrets for how to

  • Decide whether to throw a large party or a small one
  • Get people to mix together as well as vodka and vermouth
  • Choose the best time and place and set the ideal atmosphere
  • Slip out of tuxedos and elegant dresses and into something more comfortable -- host a Rubik's Cube Party or a Spy Bash
  • Prepare and serve excellent hors d'oeuvres

Plus, Cocktail Parties For Dummies includes plenty of food and drink recipes for you to try out, lots of party ideas to stimulate your imagination, and even tips on what music to play.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764550263
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 251
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents


Do You Want to Party?
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: Basic Considerations
Part II: The Theme's the Thing
Part III: Setting the Mood
Part IV: Drinks and Food
Part V: Doing the Party Thing
Part VI: The Part of Tens
Icons Used in This Book
Where to Go from Here

Part I: Basic Considerations

Chapter 1: What Kind of Party Are You Going to Have?
How Big a Party Do You Want?
The small party
The big party
What Is Your Budget?
Who Do You Wish to Invite?
The right people for the right party
The right people for each other
Inner politics with your guest list
Most Important: When to Have the Party
Setting the date
What time should the party be?
Chapter 2: Where Do You Want to Have Your Party?
Home versus Venue
Throwing the Party at Home
Is your house the proper place?
Do you have enough space?
What about the neighbors?
What about safety?
Throwing the Party at a Venue
Venue economics 101
The usual suspects
Where else will I find what I'm looking for?
Looking over the venue
Closing the deal
The Long Arm of the Law

Part II: The Theme's the Thing

Chapter 3: Themes for Small Parties and Special Occasions
Choosing a Theme
Small Party Theme Ideas
Christmas cocktail party
Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or Carnival
He as she and she as he
New Year's Eve
TV night
Valentine's Day
Spontaneous parties
The Office Cocktail Party
The business and office party
The office holiday party
Chapter 4: Themes for Large Parties
Americana Backyard Barbecue
Beach Blanket Bingo
Costume Party
The Elegant and Sophisticated Soiree
Retro ('50s, '60s, '70s, '80s) Party
Rubik's Cube Cocktail Party
South of the Border
Spy Party
Stag Night and Doe Night
Surrealist Party
Tiki Night, or the Hawaiian/Polynesian Theme
Toga Party

Part III: Setting the Mood

Chapter 5: Invitations
Why Can't I Just Phone Again?
Okay, Okay -- I'll Make an Invitation
Making a simple invitation
Other considerations
Other options
Invitation Etiquette
Things to keep in mind when you're sending invitations
Things to keep in mind when responding to an invitation
Chapter 6: Ambiance -- Creating the Right Mood
Decor: The First Impression
Basic decorating materials
The "must have" decorating supply list
Other decorating items you may need
Basic decorating ideas
Hanging items
Unusual situations
Lights, Lights, Action
Kinds of lighting
Lighting at a house party -- creating a mood
Lighting in a venue -- creating a mood for a bigger party
Lighting in rented rooms
The Space and Layout of the Party
Chapter 7: The Cocktail Party Music Guide
The Basic Forms of Cocktail Music
Space age bachelor pad music
Latin and South American music
Big band swing
Great soundtracks
Surf -- new and old
Elevator Music
Playing the Music
The solo act (playing the music yourself)
Hiring a DJ
Musicians and entertainers

Part IV: Drinks and Food

Chapter 8: Tending the Bar
Establishing the Rules of the Road
Essential Equipment
The fundamentals
Other cocktail party essentials
Maraschino cherries
Pimento-stuffed olives
Swizzle sticks
The martini glass
The brandy snifter
The champagne flute
The highball glass
The Irish coffee glass
The margarita glass
The old-fashioned glass
The shot glass
The wine glass
Ice, ice, baby
A Quick Look at Liquors
Sparkling wine
How Much Liquor Do I Need?
Other Things You Need to Know before Pouring
The terms
Shaken or stirred?
Are pre-mixes okay?
Other tips for new bartenders
The Classic Drinks
Smartinis and Mocktails -- Smart Cocktails
Chapter 9: Tasty Tidbits
What Hors d'Oeuvres Should I Have?
What Are the Common Cocktail Party Hors d'Oeuvres?
Chicken, Ribs, and Other Meat
Chips and Dips
Non-Traditional Fare
How Much Food Do I Need?
How Should I Present the Hors d'Oeuvres?
The timing
The serving staff
The table
Picking a Caterer

Part V: Doing the Party Thing

Chapter 10: Countdown to the Party
Finalizing Your Staff
The party host/hostess
The bartender
The waiting staff
Other staff members to consider
The Party Countdown Checklist
Four to six weeks before
Three weeks before
One week before
Four days before
Two days before
One day before
The day of the party
A half-hour before start time
Chapter 11: Mishaps and Misfits: How to Handle Them
Bad Weather
The Party is Postponed or Canceled
The Venue Manager or Owner is Difficult
Your Guests Arrive Before You're Ready
Accidents and Spills
Drunken Guests
Party Crashers
Kicking Someone Out of Your Party
End Your Party Well in Advance of Closing Hour
Guests Who Won't Leave
Keep a Record

Part VI: The Part of Tens

Chapter 12: Ten Things Guests Should Know
Should a Guest be Fashionably Late?
Should Guests Arrive Bearing Gifts?
If the Invitation Doesn't Specify, How Should Guests Dress?
How Should Guests Interact?
Learn to mingle
Ask questions
What Shouldn't a Guest Say When Ordering a Cocktail?
Should a Guest Just Light Up a Cigar?
How Does a Guest Know It's Time to Go?
Should a Guest Send a Thank-You?
What Other "Don'ts" Should a Guest Observe?
Chapter 13: Ten Essential Cocktail Web Sites
The Blue Lizard Cocktail Club
Club Montepulciano (London, UK)
The International Sinatra Society
Leisure Lab
Kovacksland Online
The Rat Pack Homepage
The Roots of Lounge
Space Age Bachelor Pad Music
Swank-O-Rama: The Cocktail Revolution Homepage
Vik Trola's Lounge of Self-Indulgence
Chapter 14: Ten-Plus Films to Inspire Cocktail Consumption
The Bond Films
Other Great Cocktail Spies
The Rat Pack
The Elegance of Fred Astaire
The Appeal of Mae West
Some Efforts Worth Cheers-ing
Chapter 15: Ten Cocktail Heroes
Milton Berle
James Bond
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Hugh Hefner
John F. Kennedy
Jerry Lewis
Dean Martin
Dorothy Parker
Cole Porter
Frank Sinatra

Appendix: Cocktail Discography


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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    A definite one for having in planning parties

    I ordered this book after hosting a baby shower because i think that i found my calling and after reading it, it has helped in certain areas that i didn't know about. with this book i don't think that i could go wrong. thanks for making a layman's book that breaks it all down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2000

    Party On, Dude!

    This is a really fun read, with some clever party themes and games. I particularly liked the cocktail party movie guide. Mr. Bee must lead an amazing life if half these stories are true! One of my favourite things about dummies books is you can pick any chapter. It's a non-linear treat!

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