How to Create a Cocktail Party Menu

If planning a dinner party sounds like too much hassle, try a low-maintenance gathering of cool nibbles and stylish spirits. Browse our mixed drink and finger food recipes, and you'll be hosting your own happy hour in no time.

The Menu

-- From the Bar: Gibson, Manhattan, Old-Fashioned, Martini, Tom Collins, Kamikaze, Mint Julep, Whiskey Sour
-- Double-Quick Shrimp Cocktail
-- Polenta with Peppers and Onions
-- Antipasto Kabobs
-- Chocolaty Tiramisu Parfaits


The tiny cocktail onions in this drink may be an acquired taste, but over the years they've garnered a legion of fans.


The secret of this concoction's success is the way the vermouth and bitters smooth out the bourbon for a surprisingly balanced drink.


Your retro-loving friends will get a kick out of this tried-and-true mixed drink.


Few drinks define classic cool like a chilled martini. Connoisseurs insist on having theirs served immediately -- before the ice has the slightest chance of melting and diluting the drink.

Tom Collins

Lemon juice and a splash of sparkling water make this gin-soaked classic a hit. Mix things up by serving a John Collins (substitute bourbon) or a Mike Collins (substitute Irish whiskey).


Set pre-poured glasses of these cocktails on ice so you won't have to waste your well-deserved party time mixing them one by one.

Mint Julep

This Kentucky Derby favorite is a guaranteed hit with any bourbon lover.

Whiskey Sour

Impress fans of this classic cocktail by making it the right way -- with fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice instead of bottled sour mix.

Bartender Trick: Perfect Lemon Wedges

Use a paring knife to cut a lemon through the stem end and then cut into smaller wedges.

Double-Quick Shrimp Cocktail

Glam up the sauces with a two-tone effect. Simply pour half of one sauce on one side of a shallow dish and half on the other side, then repeat the process.

Polenta with Peppers and Olives

These hearty party bites work perfectly with marinated artichoke heart quarters, slivered pepperoni slices, chopped kalamata olives, and fresh herbs. Follow the next few slides for a close-up look at three of the recipe's core steps.

Step 1: Cut Polenta

Use unflavored dental floss to cut polenta. Loop it under the polenta, then cross it over the top. Pull ends to tighten the loop and make a slice.

Step 2: Baste Polenta Slices

Using a pastry brush, lightly brush 1 tablespoon olive oil over both sides of polenta slices. Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet.

Step 3: Cook Peppers

Cook pepper strips in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Stir occasionally until pepper strips are tender.

Antipasto Kabobs

These savory skewers will be the life of your party spread. Get creative. The final shape of these fun antipasto-on-a-stick appetizers is entirely up to you.

Chocolaty Tiramisu Parfaits

Serve this well-loved dessert in individual servings for a fresh take on an old favorite.

Anyone Can Cook

Anyone Can Cook is an innovative cookbook that encourages those new to the kitchen to make simple yet tasty meals, while providing the tools to move on to more complex recipes.

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