After I graduated from college in New York, a friend and I packed up our cars and moved out west. We both had new internships and were ready to get out of New York. We rented a small three-bedroom home in Phoenix, Arizona, and were feeling adult AF. Anyone who has ever lived in New York knows what the housing situation is like. Let me sum it up for all you non-NYers in one word: small. So you can imagine our excitement at a 1,500-square-foot house. It felt like a mansion. We were ready to celebrate our new lives (and new mansion), so we threw a housewarming party. What could go wrong? It can't be that different than all those parties we threw in our college apartment, right?
I'll spare you the gory details, but there is indeed a huge difference between a college apartment party and a sophisticated housewarming party. It was a disaster. We didn't have enough food, had too many drinks, not enough seating... the list goes on. Luckily, my party-hosting game has done a complete 180 since then and I've learned a few handy tricks along the way.
1. Don't go crazy with the appetizers
Trust me — I know the temptation to try all those fancy-looking appetizers you see on Pinterest is real. But it is so not worth your time. Sure, those Pinterest recipes look easy, but have you ever tried some of them? No? Well, I have and I can tell you that what those tutorials don't tell you is that they require a culinary degree and the artistic abilities of Georgia O'Keeffe to pull off. Save the time (and disappointment) by picking up some appetizers that are ready-to-serve. One of my personal favorites is the HORMEL GATHERINGS® party tray because there is no one on Earth who does not like cheese, crackers and pepperoni. No one. Plus it’s already pre-cut and pre-assembled, so less work for me.
2. Elevate your ice cubes
We all know throwing some fruit in your ice cubes makes them look all kinds of fancy, but I'm going to let you in on a new ice cube secret: crystal-clear ice cubes. Simply boil your water and pour it into your ice molds while it's still piping hot. Voila! Sparkly ice cubes.
While we're talking about ice molds, make sure to swap out those old rectangular ice cube trays for some spherical ice molds, and your drinks will be looking like something served at a swanky uptown bar.
3. Serve one cocktail
I actually learned this tip from my brother, who has worked in the wine and liquor business for years — only serve one signature cocktail. Not only does a fully stocked liquor bar get really pricey really quickly, guests aren't going to have any memorable takeaway from your party. But if you serve one original cocktail, guests are sure to be gabbing about it for months to come. Just make sure to also have a variety of wine in case some guests don't want to taste your signature drink.
Do you have any party-hosting tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below.
This post was sponsored by the makers of HORMEL GATHERINGS® party trays.