Holiday Cocktail Party

Holiday entertaining can be pretty stressful, especially if you’re attempting to tackle a meal for a crowd – yikes. Why not take some pressure off and try an old school cocktail party instead? We’ve come up with a plan of attack that lets you get the food and drinks ready ahead of time, and shop for everything you need right here in Watertown. Crank up the Spotify holiday playlist and let’s do this!

1. MOOD: First you’ll want to nail down a fun, festive vibe for your guests. Head to Target on Arsenal for the best selection of holiday-themed party goods and recyclable serving pieces, like these mix-and-match snowflake plates!

(Image courtesy of

2. DRINKS: We say keep it simple. Along with self-serve ice buckets of beer and wine, offer two signature cocktails that you can make ahead. The Kitchn’s Sparkling White Cranberry Sangria is super festive and a total crowd-pleaser, with just the right amount of sweet and tart. For something a little more old school, Fish House Punch dates back to the 1700s – they say George Washington himself enjoyed a sip or two back in the day. Made with dark rum, cognac, and peach brandy, it’s the perfect mix for a cold winter night.

Not sure how much to serve? Check out this handy drinks serving calculator from Evite before trekking over to Magnolia Wine Company for everything you need to get started! 

(Sparkling White Cranberry Sangria photo courtesy Maureen Petrosky)

3. FOOD: Simply put, you gotta have enough carbs and protein so people aren’t drinking on empty stomachs. The general rule of thumb is 10-12 bites per guest; and to get people eating, you’ll want to have some stationary food and some hors d’oeuvres that you pass around. Check out Russo’s to start: they’ve got awesome cheese and fruit platters, along with hearty cocktail fare like mini meatballs and chicken wings you can set out or pass around. Fastachi on Mount Auburn is always great for nuts to nibble on. And for a super easy and hearty appetizer, grab a beef tenderloin at Costco in Waltham and whip up some yummy beef sliders before the crowds arrive. Your guests will love them, and they’re an easy meal substitute. Perfect winter cocktail fare! 

(image courtesy Nealey Dozier) 

Got tips of your own to share? Tell us in comments, and Happy Holidays!