Who invented the cocktail party?
The invention of COCKTAIL PARTY is claimed by Alex studio of painter C.R.W. Nevinson on 26 April 1924. Londoners at that date being wholly unaccustomed to drinking at such an early hour as 5.30 p.m., only one guest turned up—described by Waugh as ‘an obscure middle-aged journalist who did a London gossip column for a provincial newspaper’. A more successful venture followed in the autumn of 1925, when Waugh tried subterfuge, inviting 30 guests to tea but serving them potent Daiquiris mixed by an American diplomat expert in their concoction. Everyone drank themselves silly, had a wonderful time, and started giving cocktail parties themselves.
Barely a year later brother and sister Gaspard and Loelia Ponsonby (later Duchess of Westminster) invented the bottle party on an evening in November 1926 when their parents were away shooting. Despite the fact that they lived in the splendour of a grace-and-favour house within the precincts of St James’s Palace, the young Ponsonbys were hard up. They invited their friends, a group of gilded youth known to the popular press as the Bright Young Things, to attend a party at which the girls were to provide the food and the boys were to bring a bottle.