The Perfect Cocktail Party Playlist

published Dec 5, 2012
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Getting ready for a holiday cocktail party and thinking of putting the ole iPod on shuffle? The convenience may seem tempting, but take an hour and make a playlist instead. Cocktail parties are the time to break out the red lipstick, the fanciest drinks, the funniest stories, and the bounciest music. If you can make a playlist that will have your guests shimmying, singing, and flirting, then you’ve set the stage for a swinging night.

A few things to keep in mind for a cocktail party are to keep the music up-tempo, mix instrumental pieces with some classics or fan favorites that will help guests relax (doesn’t everyone love to hear a favorite song playing on someone else’s speakers?), and keep the tunes moving. Think about the type of music you would like to hear at a party: what songs make you feel good, feel like dancing, feel energized? If you put a playlist together from that angle, it’s much more exciting than pressing “shuffle” and hoping for the best, or using some generic “lounge” mix that has no personal meaning to you or your friends. Have fun digging through your real and virtual stacks to mix up your own perfect playlist that will keep the mood bright and encourage spontaneous dancing.

Here’s a mix I put together. You can access the full playlist on Spotify or check out links to individual songs below:

1. Koop – Come to Me
2. Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 – Day Tripper (Beatles cover)
3. Prince – Raspberry Beret
4. Javelin – Vibrationz
5. The Beach Boys – Heroes and Villains
6. J Dilla – Two Can Win
7. Jacqueline Taieb – Le Coeur au bout des doigts
8. Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love
9. Pulp – Disco 2000
10. Pretty Purdie – Soul Bossa Nova
11. Marlena Shaw – California Soul
12. The Jacksons – Blame it on the Boogie
13. Cal Tjader – Soul Sauce
14. Calexico – Alone Again Or (Love cover)
15. Nicola Conte – La Coda del Diavolo
16. Nina Simone – Real Real
17. Bibio – Jealous of Roses
18. Serge Gainsbourg – Couleur Cafe
19. Van Morrison – Spanish Rose
20. Jorge Ben – O Telefone Tocou Novamente
21. Bonobo – Kong
22. Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim – I Concentrate on You

(Image: Spiced Pear Margaritas from The Kitchn)