We've all been there: You wake up to find a message on your phone saying that friends or family are coming into town unexpectedly. A get-together is in order, but your cupboards are bare and the meager contents of your fridge aren’t enough to assemble a decent sandwich much less satiate a gathering of loved ones. You break out into a cold sweat as you realize the trappings of your current existence belie those of a broke-ass college student and not the young, successful working professional you actually are.
Fret not! It is possible to host a successful, impromptu party with minimal planning. You'll just need to focus on simple and versatile solutions to your beverage, food and entertainment needs. These easy tips and tricks are certain to impress even the most discerning guests.
Shop, Chop and Assemble
For food, avoid anything that requires numerous steps, ingredients, and actual cooking. Crudité, a traditionally French appetizer tray featuring freshly sliced veggies and dip (basically ranch dressing), is an ideal snacking option. Along a similar vein, charcuterie boards are also easy to assemble. Buy a few of your favorite artisanal cured meats and cheeses and a crusty baguette to slice and serve on a cutting board. Charcuterie boards allow for minimal effort while providing maximum wow factor.
If you’re an insane person and insist on cooking, bruschetta is a great option since there are only about 4-5 ingredients required that you shouldn’t already have in your kitchen. Bruschetta is easy to prepare and infinitely customizable. Some of my favorite non-traditional bruschetta toppings are roasted red jalapenos, prosciutto and gorgonzola or mozzarella cheese.
Stock up on mixers and a few handles of crowd pleasing liquors such as vodka, gin and rum. You don’t want to be personally mixing drinks for everyone, so set up a bar area with cups, ice cubes and citrus wedges so your guests can make their own. This makes an event far more interactive and removes you from having to play diligent host all night long.
If you intend to serve wine, go with the most popular white varietals like Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc and lighter reds like Pinot Noir or Grenache, since those are likely to appeal to a wider audience. You can also purchase some fresh fruit and make sangria, another crowd favorite that requires marginal prep. Additionally, you can serve excess fruit as a refreshing fruit platter.
No Frills Entertainment
Whatever your party lacks in provisions and décor, you can make up for with engaging entertainment. Remember that a successful party host nourishes both the body and the mind. The most successful party games are ones that require the fewest props and engage the widest audience. Charades and Pictionary are ideal for these purposes. If you have an outdoor area and live in a temperate locale, buy yourself a Cornhole set. If you have no idea what that is, buy yourself a set and thank me later.
See how easy that was? Do you feel the existential dread slowly receding from your psyche? Good. Remember to keep things simple and to focus on executing two to three major facets of your party well. If you succeed, you just might be able to convince your friends and family that you are a valuable, contributing member of society and not someone who eats microwaved pizza in her underwear while sitting on a dusty couch watching Game of Thrones reruns. Not that there’s anything wrong with that...
Reward yourself for a job well done with a glass of incredible wine from VINEBOX. This is the good stuff.