Go Old School With A Retro Cocktail Party!

Go Old School With A Retro Cocktail Party!
Photo by Hannah Quintano

Take your guests back to simpler times with a Retro Cocktail Party. Cocktail parties were a hugely popular form of entertaining back in the 50s and 60s. Although things might have been much simpler then, they sure knew how to party! I mean, remember Mad Men?! Don Draper and Roger Sterling could really knock back the booze! Anyhoo, here are some ways to take your guests back in time and have some good, old-fashioned fun with a cool retro cocktail party!

The typical time for a cocktail party is two hours, which means you don’t have to worry about serving dinner! In fact, the inventor of the cocktail party, Mr. Alec Waugh of London, created this pleasant interlude so that guests could loosen up before dinner parties began. That doesn’t mean you should go food-free, but hors d’oeuvres and easy bar snacks are just fine. Here are some suggestions:

Set The Retro Cocktail Party Mood

Think bright colors and low lights – hang Chinese lanterns, light some candles, and fill a vase with brightly colored lime green, pink, and orange curly sticks and pods at the entry.

Don’t Forget The Music

Go Old School With A Retro Cocktail Party!

The secret is to have low playing music in the background. Must haves are selections from Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin and Nat King Cole. If you’ve got a turntable still, bust it out! Vinyl is all the rage again!

Stock The Bar

Every good cocktail party starts with a well-stocked bar. Be sure to include an ice bucket, cocktail shaker, jigger, and a pitcher for mixing larger portions. Don’t forget the pimento stuffed olives, maraschino cherries and any citrus twists that may be needed.

Add Drama

Go Old School With A Retro Cocktail Party!
Photo by Christine Chang

Use bright colored linens and dishes. Float light-up ice cubes in a glass vase with colored water and fill it with daisies for a retro centerpiece.

Retro Cocktails

Feature a few old-school signature cocktails like manhattans, gin and tonics or tequila sunrises. Be sure to offer some non-alcoholic choices like flavored waters and sodas.

Fun Finger Food

Go Old School With A Retro Cocktail Party!

No retro party would be complete without some pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs, platters of crudités and bowls of black and green olives! (After one-two-many cocktails it’s a sure bet that your guests will be putting those olives on their fingers and popping them in their mouth!) Serve red velvet cupcakes for dessert—they’re classics!

The Finishing Touch

For lots of laughs play authentic party games like Charades and Twister!

What’s your favorite retro cocktail to serve at parties? Let us know in the comments below!



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Welcome to my sparkly world as a celebrity event planner, TV contributor & author obsessed with Louboutins, glitter + travel. Forever in search of the perfect donut. If you like something pin it!