Cocktail napkins are small napkins that are used for special occasions such as weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, cocktail parties, and other similar events. They are not used for formal dining; rather, a larger cloth napkin signifies good etiquette on the part of the host or hostess. For informal events, small napkins can be used to carry hors d’oeuvres, as a coaster for cocktails, or to discreetly spit out unwanted food and dab the corners of the mouth.
This type of napkin is almost always found at bars. When you order a drink, with the exception of beer, the bartender will usually provide you with a cocktail napkin. This keeps your hands dry from the condensation that forms around the glass, prevents rings on the bar counter or table, and is more tasteful than a cardboard coaster with a beer company’s logo on it.
Cocktail napkins usually come in 5-inch (12.7-cm) squares, although it is common to have smaller or larger ones, as well as those that are rectangular. They can be plain white squares, embossed with various prints, and even personalized, with endless styles of lettering to choose from. Cocktail napkins are generally made of paper, but for an added touch of elegance, they are available in linens.
Depending on the ambiance that one wishes to create, cocktail napkins can be an effective way of enhancing any theme. For a casual party, novelty napkins can bring humor with pithy sayings, funny graphics, and so on. For more elegant affairs, such as weddings or cocktail hours before a formal dinner, choosing classic and tasteful ones can make the event more memorable by adding exquisite detail.
In addition to the countless styles of cocktail napkins, they also have their own specialized accessories. Holders add an extra flare to the theme of any occasion, with as many variations in style and size as there are for napkins. Wrought iron designs, pewter holders, and glass holders are some examples that are more on the elegant side. Novelty napkin holders are just as abundant. Those in the shape of beach chairs, animals, babies, and the like all make fun accessories for exciting theme parties.