Planning and hosting decade-specific parties has become my specialty.
The trick is to do a little research and have plenty of era-appropriate food, drinks and entertainment available. Here are a few tricks to bring the right amount of swank to your '60s-inspired cocktail party.
With the popularity of Mad Men
, the ’60s have become the classic go-to decade. Now, you don’t have to have a small child to mix and serve your drinks like Don does, but it is a good idea to have some appropriate cocktails on hand. A classic Manhattan
always brings an air of 60’s chic to any cocktail party, and you don't need a crash course in mixology to make one. This video from howdini
on how to make the perfect Manhattan will show you just how easy it is!
While the drink of it's time, the Manhattan isn't the only cocktail that has '60s swagger. The Vesper cocktail
was invented by Gilberto Preti for Ian Fleming at the publication of Casino Royale
. OK, that was technically in 1953, but with vodka, gin and Lillet blonde, it packs that ’60s wallop. Or you could go totally kitsch with a Pink Squirrel (creme de noyaux, white creme de cacao and cream), the Stinger (brandy, white creme de menthe) or the Golden Cadillac (Galliano, white creme de cacao and cream).
Sixties food is a lot of fun! After the packaged-food trend in the 1950s, America was really interested in food and cooking again. Julia Child came out with Mastering the Art of French Cooking
, and women’s magazines were full of from-scratch recipes. Her Beef Bourguignon recipe
became wildly popular, and has returned as a favorite for many today. It is also during this time that a ton of party-friendly foods were introduced, and theme parties continued to be popular.
For your own cocktail hour, I suggest that you keep it simple and go for a cheese ball and lots of finger foods like olives and cheese squares. If you want something heartier, consider Cornish game hens
. They debuted in the US in 1965, and they make a wonderful single-serving entrée. In 1964 the Anchor Bar invented Buffalo wings
, which have become an appetizer favorite.
Bar cookies have been around at least since the 1930s, but lemon bars
became insanely popular after the 1963 publication of the Betty Crocker Cooky Cookbook
and are easy to make the day before.
Also during this time, many classic games that we still play today made their way into everyone's hearts. Twister
was not only a huge success, but also created quite the controversy. Given that people were essentially the "playing pieces," early criticizers felt it was inappropriate for (ahem...) public consumption. So, while it may make your cocktail party a little risque for some, others will most likely will enjoy the good-natured fun it was meant to be.
Last, but certainly not least, don't forget the music. Though many think of this era as cool and sophisticated, its wild times were just getting started with the birth of rock n' roll. While the original "hipsters" were lounging to the likes of "The Girl from Ipanema," Chubby Checker was bringing the "Twist," and four English boys known as the Beatles were creating quite a frenzy. Here's a small sample of songs I'd recommend to have on your party playlist. Hope you enjoy and...stay classy!