Although cocktail parties had their heyday in the 1950s, they truly never went out of style!

An upscale cocktail party featuring elegant appetizers and beverages can be a fun-filled way to gather with friends over the holiday season.

One sip of an Orange Razzletini will chase away the winter doldrums. As you mingle with guests, present a platter of bite-sized Prosciutto Bundles. A chive "ribbon" on each adds a festive flair.

There's no need to prepare a formal meal when you offer hot and hearty appetizers like Coconut Shrimp, Roasted Rosemary Beet Skewers and Goat Cheese-Pesto Crostini.

Hints for Hosting a Cocktail Party

Pick a date and time. To avoid having to serve a meal, start the festivities after the dinner hour. Send out invitations or invite people by phone a few weeks in advance.

Make the menu. Plan on offering both hot and cold hearty appetizers. Also purchase nuts and snack mixes for guests to nibble on. A few desserts and coffee serve as a nice finishing touch.

Plan your beverages. Plan on having beer and wine as well as ingredients for other cocktails.

Don't forget the ice!

Arrange the room. Remove or rearrange large furniture to allow for open spaces and easy mingling. Set up chairs and smaller tables for more intimate conversations.

Create stations. Set out two linen-covered tables: one for beverages and another for food. To reduce traffic, place the tables away from each other, even in different rooms.

Plan the atmosphere. Have the room dimly lit with plenty of candles. Set the mood with '50s-inspired cocktail lounge music like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.