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Vintage 1950s Cocktail Parties

April 3, 2019 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Writing tagged as , , , ,
a woman seated at a home bar with a man pouring a cocktail.

My husband Will Zeilinger and I co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries. A hardboiled detective series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our next book, GAME TOWN, the fifth of the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series, is available now!         

Cocktail Parties were all the rage in the 1950s and into the 60s. It was a chance to get dressed up, relax with friends, socialize, impress others and gossip. What would the 1950 have been without Cocktail Parties?

Private cocktail parties were held at people’s homes. They would invite the neighbors, friends, business associates, their boss, or co-workers. There were all kinds of reasons for a get together. We call it networking today, but on a much smaller scale.

For the host, the food and drinks served were very important. The beverages and the canapés complimented each other. The rule of thumb was tart and salty blended best with gin, while heartier foods went with whiskey and beer.

Below are suggestions for the hostess:

Champagne:   caviar, chicken l’orange, hearts of palm salad

Highballs:  liver paté, stuffed eggs, cheese balls,

Whiskey Cocktail:   cheese tarts, curried peanut butter rolls

Gin Cocktail:  marinated vegetables, asparagus tips in ham rolls

Beer:  stuffed olives, cheese balls, turnovers

Sherry: Apple, raisin and cream cheese balls, bacon balls, chipped beef rolls with mushrooms, stuffed mushrooms, peanut rolls, peanut butter rolls, peanut butter tarts, nut and stem ginger tarts, ham tidbits, chicken, lobster or liver paste puffs, turnovers, cheese straws, sausage tidbits and smoked hickory cheese balls.

Whiskey cocktails: guacamole, anchovy fillet tidbits, bacon and curried peanut butter rolls, East Indian beef balls, clam spread tidbit, pizzas–miniature, smoked oysters in blankets, Camembert cheese and ham tarts, chicken livers and bacon, roast beef snacks, kippered herring and bacon rolls and meat balls (beef in blankets).

Gin cocktails: guacamole, anchovy ham rolls, artichoke hearts, asparagus tips in ham rolls, onion and cheese snacks, onion egg snacks, stuffed olives, codfish balls with cheese, sardine onion snacks, sausage in blankets, sardine macaroni snacks, stuffed dill pickles and marinated vegetables.

Beer: Anchovy fillet tidbits, stuffed olives, cheese straws, turnovers, cocktail frankfurters and sauerkraut, garlic popcorn, cheese balls, chipped beef and sardine rolls, kippered herring and bacon rolls, and tongue rolls or pinwheels.”

A full-size bar would offer all cocktails. But smaller bars in individual homes usually had only a sampling to offer. Thus, making tidbits easier to manage.

Of course, a fruit and cheese plate was a good finish for all cocktail parties

book cover of Game Town shows silhouette of man with gun and a woman in a long gown with palm trees in the backrougnd

GAME TOWN, A Skylar Drake Murder Mystery, fifth in the series. Available Now.

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