Madhu Menon wrote: > I'm hosting a cocktail party at my house for some good friends this weekend. About 10-12 people are expected to attend. I'm generally a private person and this is the first party I've thrown, so I look to you folks for tips that you'd like to share. I plan to have pitchers of perhaps 4-5 cocktails, with some sangria on the side. My goal is to make myself as free as possible to chat and have fun with my friends instead of being stuck playing host. I'm going to serve only snacks, not dinner. Mahdu, if your carpets or furnishings are white, look to non colored snacks and cocktails. Stuff will be spilled unless your friends are very straightlaced (of course, that wouldn't be much of a party, would it?) You don't want to spend time cleaning up during the party either. Also, snacks like little quiches and spinach filled filo snacks are good for for parties. We avoid heavy chocholate or sticky sauces during parties due to the rugs. I try to have a mixture of sweet and savory munchies. I'm sure, as a chef, you are much more creative with food than I. Be sure to have some fresh coffee made for those who might over imbibe. Tea is also a nice idea. Some people don't drink alcoholic drinks so it is nice to have a jug of non alcoholic stuff. If your friends will be bringing children, you might want an area for them with a few toys or videos. We set up a changing area in our bedroom for the microkids and make sure that the mothers know when they arrive. Changing a baby in the middle of the floor during a party sometimes spoils the mood. I am a beer and wine drinker so I don't know much about cocktails, but I will offer a little observation. White wine coolers made from fruit juices and ginger ale are a hit with some people, especially some women who don't like heavier cocktails. Those types of drinks don't stain. Screwdrivers with some extra flavorings can be nice too. One very popular drink is a chocholate martini. Combine in equal parts Godiva Chocolate Liquor, Vodka, and half-n-half (a milk and cream mixture). Feed this to your favorite female friend and let us know if she gets especially friendly. Have a great party. Roger -- Visit http://www.misshunt.com/ for fun and creative items including the famous Clean/Dirty dishwasher magnet, now available in velcro.