Planning the menu for corporate cocktail hours is one item on a to-do list of event prep, but one that we have noticed many clients putting off until the last minute. To help our new and returning clients, we want to offer our ideas so that planning the menu for your cocktail reception isn’t one more stressful thing on the to-do list, but one item that can be successfully checked off as completed (and surely to be enjoyed!).
More and more companies are hosting cocktail hour receptions either before an evening event or after a full day meeting, and, at times, as an open house at their office to celebrate grand openings or great achievements. These receptions are usually composed of two components: beverage and hors d’oeuvres. Our corporate clients often opt for a beer, wine and soda bar, but this is more dependent on the purpose of their event and if the reception is tied to another event like a meeting or networking experience. Yet, many find selecting their beverage options to be the easy part. It’s finding a great hors d’oeuvre menu that is thought of as more tricky.
The menus we have prepared are sure to be crowdpleasers, composed of our clients’ favorites and a few of our own. We focused on providing balance by taking into consideration color, texture, and hot and cold hors d’oeuvre options fitting for a variety of seasons. However, do not think we created these menus out of thin air. As a guide, we used our hors d’oeuvre parties menu as a framework. These menus are already set up from the start with great selections, and a few options that stay the same between each menu, such as displayed items. The benefit is that the displayed items are tried and true choices that work well for any group and all palates. However, each menu has a section that allows our clients to choose items that are more customized to their wants and needs, beginning with making a choice of passed hors d’oeuvres. This grows in packages 3 and 4 to include a carving station and other select station options.
Seasonality: Always take the season of the event into consideration when making menu choices. There are some foods that are great in cold weather but less desirable in warm, and vice versa. Seasonal appropriateness is an aspect of menu planning that we think hard on when we prepare menus such as these. We do this by considering what fresh produce is incorporated in the item. Even though we can get pears years round in many markets, pears are simply better during the colder points in the year. In fact, December is National Pear Month.
Balance: Balance is a term that can go in a variety of directions. Our hors d’oeuvres were crafted by our executive chefs with color, texture, and presentation in mind. The balance of the flavors are important to creating a cohesive menu.
Variety: While our menus have a massive variety of options, when discussing hors d’oeuvres we refer to variety by the type of selection, meaning options for vegetarian, meat and seafood hors d’oeuvres. We recommend a minimum of at least one for each category. This will help a host please the most number of their guests because there will be an option for everyone at that point.
There are far more hors d’oeuvres combinations than what we have shared, but planning the menu for a corporate cocktail hour shouldn’t be a painful task or one left for the last minute. It’s always recommended that the final menu is selected 2 weeks prior to the event and if ever confused or unsure of what to select, talk with your caterer to explore the possibilities available to you. Our team is always happy to create a sample menu or share menus from past events similar to yours as inspiration.