1. Make sure you have lots of alcohol. I tend to focus on one drink. For me, the best party cocktail is anything champagne based. Steer clear of dark drinks—red wine being a major offender—to avoid scrubbing away stains post-party.
2. Set the mood with lighting. As you can see from the snapshot above, I like my parties dimly lit. The dimmers in my dining room are essential for the proper party lighting.
3. Crisp linen napkins are a must. I opted for pink recently, at my Easter cocktail party.
4. Chocolate. There's something special about nibbling on chocolate at a cocktail party—it's just so decadent!
5. A coat rack. I hate it when guests have to dig through a pile of coats in someone's bedroom. A coat rack is much more civilized.
6. A talented waitstaff (it doesn't hurt if they are good looking too). Who doesn't want to be offered a drink at the door by a hunky waiter?