How to Host an Afternoon Tea Party with Cocktails

It was my birthday at the end of July and as I’m not really into clubs much anymore all I wanted to do was stay in, eat cake and hang out with my friends! So I decided on an Afternoon Tea Party & Cocktails. We all got dressed up, I made a table full of goodies, and we spent the day eating cake and drinking tea, then as the evening came, we hit the cocktails, played games and had a brilliant time! I wanted to create this guide to help you have a great afternoon tea party too!

I started a few days in advance by making these fruit scones. I put them in the freezer to keep them fresh, then took them out the night before the party. If you have any gluten free guests try this scone recipe from The Gluten Free Alchemist, or for vegan guests try this recipe from Wallflower Kitchen.

I also made my own raspberry jam to go on the scones, which I made a few days in advance too. And of course the scones were not complete without clotted cream! So I made sure to get a couple of tubs in for the party. If you don’t want to make your own jam, there are so many quality options in the supermarket now, I would suggest buying a more premium option for the party – it is a special occasion after all!

A classic Victoria Sponge Cake was the centre piece of the table. I made a basic sponge mix and sandwiched the two halves with jam and fresh cream in the middle. You can’t go wrong with a Mary Berry recipe or my Strawberries & Cream Cake is sure to impress!

For the second cake I wanted something a bit different so I made this Spiced Carrot Loaf Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, it was so yummy! The recipe is from BBC Good Food, I omitted the walnuts and sultanas.

I made some pretty lemon cupcakes and sat them on one of my birthday gifts, a beautiful cupcake stand from Laura Ashley. You can find the recipe below:

Lemon Cupcakes

Servings 12



  • 2 Eggs
  • 175 g Caster sugar
  • 175 g Butter
  • 175 g Self raising flour
  • 1 Lemon zested


  • 150 g Butter
  • 300 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Lemon extract
  • Yellow food colouring
  • Sprinkles


  1. For the sponge, cream together the butter and caster sugar until soft and fluffy
  2. Add in the eggs and lemon zest and mix well
  3. Fold in the self raising flour
  4. Separate the batter into cupcake cases in a muffin tin and bake at 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool completely
  5. To make the buttercream mix together the butter, icing sugar and yellow food colouring until smooth and the desired shade
  6. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes using a piping bag fitted with a closed star nozzle and add desired sprinkles

For savoury lovers and also to provide a break from all the sweet treats, I made three types of finger sandwiches – salmon and cream cheese, cucumber and cream cheese, and ham. They were very popular and I ended up having to make more half way through the day! I also provided some crisps for nibbling on. There are so many sandwich filling options and I’ve listed some more ideas below, don’t forget to check if any of your guests require gluten free bread.

Beef & Mustard

Egg Mayonnaise

Hummus & Roasted red pepper

Hummus & Cucumber

Cheese & Pickle

I bought a good selection of tea to suit everyone’s tastes, I included decaf and fruit teas. I also provided soft drinks and juices. If you have a teapot you can make up a pot of tea for everyone.


I decorated my table with bunting, fresh flowers and a floral table cloth. I also hired some gorgeous vintage cups, saucers and plates from Tamaryn’s Treasures. They were so beautiful and really made the party special! I loved the one with the gold pattern inside the cup. They really added that vintage afternoon tea party feel to the day. Here are a few other companies that offer the same service, if you Google ‘Hire vintage crockery’ you will find lots of results:

Pretty Vintage (Lincoln)

The Vintage Affair (Buckinghamshire/Berkshire)

Add Vintage (Leeds)

Honey Bees (Leicestershire)

Later on we moved onto cocktails. This is a Cosmopolitan, a delicious mix of vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice. Throughout the night I also made lime daquiris, pina coladas and long island ice teas. These are all classic cocktails and the recipes are readily available online, try Social and Cocktail for 100 cocktail recipes.

We played some awesome games. First we played Cranium which is a fairly well known family game, well to everyone except me! I had never heard of it but apparently a lot of people play it at Christmas. Later on we played the hilarious Cards Against Humanity – which I highly recommend. Games are such a great way to get everyone involved and interacting with each other, especially if your guests don’t all know each other well.

I looked into hiring people to come and do hair and make up for us, but I didn’t have the budget for this. If it was a bigger event like a hen party I would definitely have hired a professional, but I was lucky enough to have a very talented friend who did everyone’s hair. And I thought we all looked fab! If you can find someone in your local area to come and do your hair and make up, and you have the budget for it, then get on Google and Facebook and have a search. I’ve listed below some I found and the locations:

Hen Heaven (Major UK cities)

Lipstick & Curls (London & Leeds)

The Vintage Beauty Parlour (Manchester)

I had such a fun time and I highly recommend this kind of get together if you can’t be bothered with the hassle of going out (and you love cake!) Staying in is much more fun! I made everything myself for the party, but you could get your friends to bring a bake each to lessen the workload. If you do want to make everything yourself, the freezer is your friend! You can freeze the cakes (undecorated) and the scones in advance. I hope you have fun! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for the perfect afternoon tea party!

9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I'd say I can't believe we both decided on tea parties for our birthdays, but as cake / tea loving food bloggers, I would say that's pretty standard.

    Looks like so much fun though, and love all of your hair! Vintage looks rocks my socks off.

    That vicky sponge though…. that looks good. I would want a slice of that.

    Happy birthday for when it was your birthday too 🙂

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