Put away the pizza and paper plates printed with movie stills -- a Potter cocktail party demands more elegant fare. Select chic hors d'oeuvres with as much spicy firepower as one of Hermione's potions such as this white spice dip. Take inspiration for additional appetizers from objects and characters from the story, like these snitch-like golden cheese puffs, Ollivander's olive cheese balls or a gillyweed-inspired dilly dip. For a crunchy sweet treat, bake up some sweet-spiced breadsticks in the shape of wands.
Potter-mania means party stores will be exploding with cheesy manufactured decorations, but these just won't do for a cocktail party. Avoid a literal interpretation of the HP theme by selecting decorations inspired by the look of the films. Hang mirrors with gothic frames along the walls and go for Gryffindor-red tablecloths with low, gold candles as centerpieces to recreate the English castle feel of Hogwarts. For a sleeker look, rent some black-lacquered columns and glowing green up-lights to mimic the utilitarian, art deco look of the Ministry of Magic.
Inventive beverages are the most important part of a successful 21+ Potter party, and we've got plenty of recipes to choose from. Topping the list has to be a version of the butterbeer favored by all the Hogwarts students. Serve this pumpkin martini cocktail as a spiked version of the pumpkin juice served in Hogwarts Great Hall. Offer our Forbidden Sour cocktail to give a nod to the Forbidden Forest surrounding Hogwarts, or serve this bloody-tini as an homage to the ghost of the Bloody Baron.
For party hosts who'd rather serve less literal drinks, take inspiration from key characters and scenes in the Harry Potter saga. Flaming drinks are a must if you're a fan of the Goblet of Fire – try serving up a bowl of flaming mulled wine punch or mugs of this flaming coffee grog. Your guests certainly won't burst into tears like Cho Chang did when they're sipping on this Kiss in the Dark cocktail. And of course a 21+ Potter party wouldn't be complete without Harry's cocktail.
Cocktail parties don't demand any center stage entertainment, but it's always smart to play a little music to create a magical ambience. If you want your guests to chat the event away, simply fill your iPod with the most mellow selections from the soundtracks and set the speaker volume at low. While you might not be able to book the Weird Sisters for a higher energy party, you can still clear some floor space for dancing and play their three songs mixed in with classic hits like Monster Mash, I Put a Spell on You, the Time Warp, Thriller and Steve Miller Band's Abracadabra.
How to throw a Harry Potter-themed birthday party for your kids!
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