A Spanish-Inspired Cocktail Party

If you're looking for a casual way to entertain, tapas are ideal. In Spain, these appetizers or snacks tide people over until dinner, which is traditionally served late — but why not serve them in lieu of a meal at a cocktail party?

Not only is sampling small dishes a relaxed way to eat, the light nibbles allow guests to mingle, and are thus more conducive to conversation. No matter which of these delicious dishes you serve, a Spanish-inspired cocktail party is guaranteed to be a fun and friendly affair.  



If you usually entertain out of doors, for once, you don't have to worry about the weather spoiling your party: Tapas is best served along a buffet table or at a kitchen island, allowing guests to stand, nibble, and chat.

• Skip the flowers and stick to simple votive candles in clear glass holders.

• You'll need toothpicks, cocktail picks, or short bamboo skewers on hand for spearing the tapas.

• Seven-inch plates will work just fine if you don't have classic Spanish clay tapas dishes. Casual tumblers are preferable to wine glasses, and don't forget the cocktail napkins. 

• In addition to the tapas items of your choosing, serve up some Marcona almonds, Serrano ham, roasted piquillo red peppers, along with a cheese plate of Spanish favorites (La Tienda is a great source for Spanish food products and inspiration). Don't forget to have lots of crusty bread on hand.

• To complete the scene, put together a playlist of Spanish flamenco-style music.



Mix and match a few of these easy, satisfying Spanish-inspired recipes.

• No tapas menu would be complete without Spicy Spanish Olives.

• If you haven't had Pan-Fried Chorizo with Sherry Vinegar before, you're in for a real treat — it's a mouthwatering way to enjoy chorizo sausage.

• Patatas Bravas are fried potato wedges served with a spicy tomato allioli; for a make-ahead option that's served at room temperature, prepare Tortilla Espanola — a firm, frittata-like dish made with eggs, potatoes, and onions.

• Seafood is a common tapas menu offering. Try this recipe for Shrimp with Garlic and Cayenne.

• Offset the rich tapas dishes with a refreshing Spanish Salad of Oranges, Fennel, Red Onion, and Mint with Dressing — it's topped with a coriander-orange vinaigrette.

• For a festive, easy way to quench your guests' thirst, have pitchers or carafes of Classic Lusty Red Sangria on hand. Even easier? Spanish wines (whites like Albariño or reds like Rioja or Garnacha) and dry sherry are traditional tapas accompaniments.  

Click here to see How to Build the Perfect Spanish Cheese Plate.