Cocktails and Pirates – How to Make Ship-Wrecking Fun


9web0361Island parties and all-American cookouts were the norm all summer, but how about trying something different? Create some ship-wrecking fun with a “Cocktails and Pirates” party! This party will be so unique and fun that friends and family might make you their official party planner for all their upcoming events.

Invitations
Make your invitations the old-fashioned way with some yellowed, vintage-looking paper. Burn the edges and then write the invites with a quill pen. To get your guests really excited, make the invites look like a treasure map, with the treasure being marked with an “X” at your residence. That way, the paper doubles as an invitation and a map to your cocktail party. It’ll be a great way to get people talking about your upcoming Cocktails and Pirates party!

Decorations
Your pirate decorations will make or break the party. Pirate decorations are all about the skull and crossbones. Hang some pirate danglers from the ceiling and Jolly Roger pennant banners around the party venue. Use black and white pirate balloons with other colored latex balloons for some pops of color.

There are many creative, Pirate’s Cove decorations out there. Don’t forget pirate staples like buried treasure, palm trees, and of course, a ship. Use a personalized pirate photo stand-in as a decoration and an activity for guests. Take pictures of people with the stand-in and post them to a social media site the next day and people can relive the fun they had at your pirate cocktail party!

Cocktails
Can’t have a Cocktails and Pirates party without the cocktails. Get creative with your cocktail names. It might be a pina colada, but you can call it a Pirate’s Pina Colada. Other ideas: 12szinftrcTreasure Tequila Sunrise, Skull Screwdriver, High Seas Hairy Navel, Walk the Plank Gin & Tonic, and Booty Bloody Mary. Make a list of the drinks and what’s in them so your guests will know what to expect. Serve your delicious cocktails in pirate cups or pirate goblets.

Your cocktail party will probably also include some canned or bottled beverages. Keep them cold inside an inflatable treasure chest cooler. Be sure to also have non-alcoholic beverages available for people who will be driving home.

Activities
Many of your guests will probably just enjoy socializing, but it’s a good idea to have some games for people to play. Board games and card games are always popular party ideas. If your guests are really into games, have a “treasure hunt” that is set up like a scavenger hunt. Send the winners home with pirate mini pails filled with candy or baked goods.

Besides games, you might want to have a pirate movie playing on the television like Pirates of the Caribbean or Treasure Island.

Parting Gifts
Don’t send your party guests home empty-handed. Fill some Pirate Favor Bags with some “booty” like candy or popcorn for the ride home. And, of course, if they have been enjoying cocktails, make sure your guests have a designated driver.

Tasty Appetizers for a Summer Party


For summer get-togethers we love the chilled and the grilled, and we don’t even want to look at the oven. Here we present the building blocks for a range of luscious appetizers that fill the bill for summertime tastes and preferences.

Dream Cream
It starts with an 8-ounce package of cream cheese or Neufchatel. Release it from the package into a bowl and let it soften at room temperature. Better yet, speed up the process by using a microwave-safe bowl and the defrost mode on the microwave oven. Check the consistency of the cheese after a few seconds of “zapping.” Stop when it’s very soft but not melted.

Once soft, you’ll create a filling or a spread, depending on what you stir into the cheese. A tablespoon or so of ranch dressing mix and a pinch of snipped chives form a foundation for pinwheel appetizers; the cream cheese spread goes on a tortilla wrap that’s then layered with fresh vegetables (pepper strips, sliced green onions, etc.), olives, herbs, and maybe meat and more cheese. Go here to see what they look like after they’re rolled, sliced and picked.

Another recipe we like mixes cream cheese with adobo, green onion and diced tomatoes as a creamy stuffing for colorful, crisp pepper halves.

Cream cheese appetizers should be made and chilled for two hours before the “unveiling.” Consider presenting these beautiful bites on clear tableware so they get the spotlight they deserve.

Con Queso
Quesadillas are delightful made on the barbie, and there are so many creative variations you need never make the same kind twice unless you want to.

Match the heartiness of this offering by placing them on gingham-patterned plates and use bandannas as napkins.

You normally use the grill in two steps for these appetizers. The first time is to cook the meat and the second round is for melting the cheese in the assembled quesadillas — and adding those awesome grill marks. :)

Our current quesadilla crush is a marinated steak teriyaki with fresh pineapple and mozzarella.

Cute Cukes
Have you seen these? You cut cucumbers into thick (1” to 2”) slices and hollow out one end with a melon baller or small spoon to create a vehicle for almost every kind of filling imaginable.

They are clever and simple, just as we like it. Just start with the right cuke, which is a slicing cucumber that’s long, straight and smooth.

Whether you peel it depends on your own taste, thickness of the skin and whether it’s been waxed. A lot of cooks like to peel selected parts of the cuke for vertical dark stripes in the finished cups.

You could fill the cups with dollops of your favorite tuna salad recipe and garnish with springs of fresh dill, or follow Martha Stewart’s lead with a batch of gazpacho. A lemon or red pepper hummus is really good, plus gives you the flexibility to use your favorite prepared product if you like.

Save extra cucumber from your hollowing-out exercise for cocktail time.

Cheers!

Satisfy Your Craving for Bacon and/or Avocados


The Shindigz Party Recipe Site has added another chef and his first treat is this quick and easy Bacon Avocado Dip:

 

Your Friends & Family will beg you for the recipe for this Bacon Avocado Dip!

Your Friends & Family will beg you for the recipe for this Bacon Avocado Dip!

 

Get the complete recipe today at Shindigz Party Recipes and enjoy tonight!

Personalize Your Cocktail Party


Ladies, grab your little black dresses! Gentlemen, get out your suit jackets! With spring just around the corner, it’s prime time to throw a cocktail party. Don’t just throw an average cocktail party, though, make it personal. Personalize your cocktail party and your friends will think you’re the party planner of the year!

VP160Invitations
This isn’t a keg party at a frat house. Cocktail parties are elegant, classy, and they are full of sophistication. Your invitations should give off that same vibe and sent at least a few weeks in advance. Invitations should be tasteful and reflect the atmosphere of the party. Something in a neutral color with a little bling would be nice, or even an invitation with a martini on it. Afterall, it is a cocktail party!

Drinks
Make sure you’ve either stocked the bar with spirits or have requested that your guests bring a bottle. Once you’ve decided on your spirits, you need to decide what your mixers will be. Have at least four or five options for your party guests. Consider a regular cola, diet cola, a lemon lime soda, and ginger ale or tonic. Sometimes soda bottles can look tacky next to the fun and attractive liquor bottles, so make the soda bottles your own with a personalized label! If not everyone is into true cocktails, you’ll probably also want to have wine and beer available. Personalize those labels as well, and your friends will really think you’ve outdone yourself!

Food
Cocktail party guests probably won’t be expecting any sort of meal, but it’s always a good idea to have some finger foods for guests to munch on throughout the party. Make sure to have plenty of napkins for your guests (personalized napkins, of course). Spilled drinks and messy fingers don’t go well with nice dresses and suit coats.

Decorations
Take your cocktail party from great to fabulous with personalized decorations. Get a personalized banner made that matches your invitations, that way when guests arrive, it all comes together. They’ll recognize the same design. You’ll want your entire party to seem like it all came from the same kit, otherwise it will look like it was thrown together at the last minute.10SZKSCOSM

Since cocktail parties are elegant, you don’t want to overdo it on the decorations. Something like a giant cocktail standee would be cute, with something fancy hanging from the ceiling. If most of your guests will be sipping on martinis all evening, stand up some giant martini standees. 

Favors
Imagine this- your party was a success. Your friends found the cocktail party unlike any they had ever been to because it was personalized and catered to them. From the labels on the bottles, to the banners and the napkins, every inch of the cocktail party was planned with perfection. Just when they think things couldn’t be any better, you send your guests home with a personalized favor. Maybe it’s some sort of martini glass with your name on it and the date of the party. It could read, “The Johnson’s Annual Cocktail Party 4-20-13,” and that way every time they drink from the glass, they are reminded of the blast they had at your get-together.

Other great personalized favor ideas include key tags, magnets, coasters, and more! Favors are a way of saying, “Thank you for coming,” and just another way to make sure your cocktail party is unforgettable.

Anyone can have a few friends over for drinks, but personalize your cocktail party and you’ll have the hottest event on the block!

Shindigz Top 6 “We Want to Party With” List


Forget Snoop Dogg, the Kardashians, and Lindsey Lohan. Let’s be a little more creative. Here’s a trendy list of celebrities that know how to party!

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Number 6. Dana Perino. Co-host of Fox News “The Five”

Dana is a great start to any party. Intelligent, well versed and willing to dive into any conversation. She is engaging, charming and quick with self deprecating wit. She would make everyone feel at home at any party. Reminds us of January Jones in Mad Men but happy.

Number 5. Jim Cantore. The Weather Channel.

Can anyone say Hurricane Party?  This guy is prepared to party on a moment’s notice, looks great in a windbreaker and knows more weather trivia than anyone. His casual but quiet intensity brings calm in any storm. Who wouldn’t want to head out into 100mph  winds and hoist a drink with this party pro?

Number 4. Carl Quintanilla. CNBC Squawk Box.

Even if the market is crashing, Carl would be the guy to be with next to the bar to talk it through. A guy’s guy and a hottie for the ladies, he is smart, witty and knows business. He is quick with a joke and one liner but also makes everyone around him feel better about themselves. With Carl, it isn’t about him, it’s about everyone else around him having a good time. A great person to have crash our party.

Watch the stars and celebrities party just like the paparazzi with this large decoration.

Watch the stars and celebrities party just like the paparazzi with this large decoration.

Number 3. Robin Roberts. Good Morning America.

Classy, funny and an inspiration to all. Who wouldn’t want to sit around the table and share stories with Robin? She knows it all about sports and brings a smile that lights up any celebration. She would spend the night meeting every person and making all the guests feel like they were the most special person in the room. The nametag is ready for Robin.

Number 2. Tie. Arianna Huffington. The Huffington Post. And David Gregory. NBC’s Meet The Press. 

Okay, an odd pairing right? Well, that’s what make for a great party. Arianna brings an exotic flair combined with a grace and nobility that will class up any event. She would be great at the gala ball or an intimate dinner. But, we bet she could throwdown at a hoe down as well.  Smart and tough, this is a lady we want to party with.

David Gregory brings an urbane wit, height that towers over everyone and a willingness to laugh at himself. We like him for his direct approach, his ability to make guests feel at home and his family values. We think he would be great at a kids birthday party or at a game time party with wings. A very versatile party performer.

Number 1.  Anderson Cooper. Anderson Cooper 360. CNN.

Think this guy knows his way around a party? Oh yeah! Whether he is in Beirut or Boston, Istanbul or Indy, Anderson is the guy who will be the life of any party. He is wickedly funny, doesn’t take himself too seriously and man, does he have some stories to tell. He is willing to try just about anything and we know that when the late night fun starts, Anderson will be leading the charge. He will stir up the party troops and keep them going all night long. Smooth, stylish and oh so cool. Get the martini bar, ready.

Did we miss anyone?

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