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#USETHEGOODSTUFF: the Cocktail Napkin

While we may not be entertaining much right now, I’m trying to remind myself that my family is worth using the good stuff. You know what I mean- the candle that costs $40, and smells like you hope heaven will smell, but you want to save lighting it for when guests come over. Or the fancy cloth napkins that you only pull out for the holidays. That’s baloney. Burn those candles! Pull out the napkins! It makes me feel fancy even if I’m in the same yoga pants (and hair) I wore from yesterday. But, I digress.

Say it with me: “Use the good stuff.”

If you’ve followed me during this quarantine period over on the ‘Gram, you know that me + P have been doing our daily cocktail hours. We’ve been using paper cocktail napkins or even paper towels (yikes!), but I knew it was time for an upgrade. Aside from it being more eco-friendly, these babies are so much fun!

HIstory + ETIQUETTE of the COcktail Napkin

Believe it or not, the first semblance of a cocktail napkin surfaced in China during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 CE). At the time, the Chinese used small paper napkins to hold their tea cups.  While there isn’t an exact date or story to when they first came into mainstream modern use, it is likely that it was during the rise of the cocktail during the Prohibition era.

Cocktail napkins are diminutive in size, usually 5×5 inches. But, I have also seen them 10×10 inches, like these adorable ones from Crate & Barrel, and if that is the case, they are usually folded. Have a good stock of them handy as they are always to be handed out when serving drinks. These fun paper napkins from Emily McCarthy are able to be personalized with your monogram. I’ve also seen them at places like HomeGoods or TJ Maxx very inexpensively.

Cocktail napkins have a pretty precise usage. They are not meant for wiping your mouth, but for keeping your hands dry when you are holding a drink. When given a drink, one would wrap the napkin around the beverage to soak up the condensation. It saves you from having to rub your hand down your dress if you needed to shake someone’s hand. You can also use them as a coaster when you set a drink down.

  • As the hostess or bartender, if you are using paper cocktail napkins, give a fresh one to your guest with each new drink. However, this is not required when you are using cloth napkins. You can also keep a stack of them by the drinks so guests can help themselves.
  • As a guest, under no circumstances are you to blot or wipe your lipstick on cloth napkins. Also, do not use them to hold your trash

Let the formality of your event dictate if you should use paper or cloth napkins. With less formal events, like outdoor parties, it’s perfectly acceptable to use paper cocktail napkins. I like to use my cloth cocktail napkins when having a smaller, indoor event as it is much less likely one will get accidentally thrown away.

Monogrammed Cocktail Napkins

Festive scallop edged monogram linen napkins from the Charleston Cotton Shop

While linen and cotton cocktail napkins are a bit of an indulgence, they are reusable and with proper care, will last for a long time. A while back, I found a caterer’s set of 10 plain white cocktail napkins at Pottery Barn. While those are great for non-themed parties, it’s also fun to have an assortment for themes and occasions.

I came across Charleston Cotton Shop while looking for chic, quality monogrammed napkins. I connected with Jillian, the owner and designer of Charleston Cotton Shop. I told her what my needs were and she suggested a very light color on white. While I am building up my collection, I wanted to make sure my first set of cocktail napkins could be used year round and for any occasion so I knew this was the right way to go because of the neutral choices. I love how they turned out and how versatile they will be! Jillian was super patient with me when I asked her a million questions about my design which was good because she has about as many font choices as the Cheesecake Factory has dinner options.

I went with the Edisto monogram font.

I ended up going with a classic light ivory on white to make the monogram pop a little with a subtle hint of color. I was really happy with how the turned out!

And I was so excited when Jillian wanted to collaborate for a giveaway for my readers! She’s generously giving away a set of monogrammed cocktail napkins to one lucky HSC reader over on my Instagram account!

Rules to Enter:

Good luck, ladies!

Must be 18 years of age to enter and a US resident. This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by Instagram. By entering you are agreeing to Instagram’s community guidelines. Void where prohibited by law. 

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