What better way to celebrate than with a roaring 20s party! I bet images of flappers and opulence immediately come to mind, but what about 1920s party food?
What the heck do you serve? I’ve got plenty of ideas for crowd-pleasing and easy 1920s party food, plus shortcuts to save you time and money. Want some great ideas for 1920s buffet food, appetizers, and drinks?
Let’s go to The Chalkboard.
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What Were Party Foods In The Roaring 20s?
This decade was one of many extremes. You had Prohibition, which won by the popular vote and led to alcohol consumption underground in speakeasies. Like The 21 Club and Delmonico’s, many fancy restaurants emerged while people were cooking up a storm in tenements. New cuisines like Chinese and Italian food were gaining popularity as well. It was an exciting culinary time!
But how does that shape a 1920s New Years’ Eve Menu?
1920s Party Food — Drinks
Alcohol is probably what mostly comes to mind as we think about the 1920s. Prohibition, which banned the manufacturing and sale of alcohol, didn’t stop people from drinking. It merely pushed it underground to illegal bars (speakeasies). Even though that era has ended, many drinks of the 1920s are still popular today. Here are some options for your party.
Going along with the luxury of the 1920s, many were sipping on champagne. Be careful of the cheaper versions as the sugar content can be very high, leading to significant headaches the next time. If you are on a budget, you can certainly substitute a more affordable alternative, Prosecco, although it won’t have as much carbonation. This article has champagne suggestions for all price points.
Do you love bourbon? Try Mint Juleps. Now mostly served during the Kentucky Deby, Mint Juleps were extremely popular in the 1920s.
Originally made with illegal bathtub gin, the Gin Rickey is a simple cocktail sure to please. With only a few ingredients, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and made in a pitcher. No bathtubs are required.
1920s Party Food — Appetizers
With this being a cocktail party, the appetizers are the main event. Everyone will be munching all night long. But, as the host, you don’t want to be cooking all night. Here are some great recipes.
Chinese Food Appetizers
Chinese food was popular and considered exotic at the time. You can serve many Chinese food appetizers on an authentic menu, crowd-pleasing and straightforward. One option is to call up your local Chinese food restaurant and order egg rolls, spare ribs, poopoo platters, and the like, place them on trays and call it a day. Or, if you are up for cooking, try these easy recipes.
1920s Buffet Food
A radical departure from Chinese cuisine, Italian food was also gaining popularity in the 1920s — especially in speakeasies. Italian immigrants learned that meat was plentiful and cheap, unlike in their native country; this made meatballs an easy option. This recipe is our family favorite and has standard ingredients.
Hungarian immigrants first introduced Paprika during the 1920s, and it quickly grew in popularity; this made Deviled eggs a popular choice on menus since it perfectly highlights the spice. Deviled eggs are also a great make-ahead crowd-pleaser.
It just sounds fancy. Popular on restaurant menus all over the country, this dish is surprisingly simple to make. Serve it in phyllo cups that you buy from the store, and it’s a delicious dish that will have your guests raving.
The 1920s Style Platter
Grazing Tables are so popular now. Try a take on the 1920s version, including all of the popular fixings. You can feature olives, celery, pickles, nuts, crackers, and spreads.
The Kitchen Chalkboard’s recipe, this Truffle Popcorn, is addicting and only takes minutes to make. The flavor evokes the luxury of the time.
1920s Party Food — Desserts
Significant developments in the 1920s were canned fruit and refrigeration. Even though refrigerators were around before the 1920s, they were not in the home. These desserts are from these advances.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Pineapple Upside Down Cake is hands down the most popular dessert. This version is made in cupcake pans, creating the perfect individual-sized servings. And it uses a boxed cake mix. I promise I won’t tell.
Ice Cream Bar
Who doesn’t love ice cream? Adults and kids alike will scream for ice cream! The Pioneer Woman has a great article on setting up an Ice Cream Sundae Bar. You won’t believe how much you can do in advance to prep.
What Do You Think About 1920s Party Food?
Are you planning a New Year’s Eve party? Do you plan on serving any of the 1920s party food above? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to hear.
Happy New Year!
We were going to do a 1920’s murder mystery party. I throw a pretty good party. But…….. You know, covid. It is just not worth the risk since some of our guests are elderly (also the biggest partiers), some have have other health issues. But it is still on the calendar for one day. My favorite of your ideas were the lobster newburg and truffle popcorn. Thanks so much
Glad you liked the article! Hope the event is great whenever it goes off. I’ve always wanted to go to a murder mystery party!
Thanks for these ideas! A couple of friends and I have been quarantining because we planned a Roaring 20’s NYE party forever ago and we’re past the cancellation date rented a house in our state). Since we’re not leaving the house I thought apps would be the way to go so no one is stuck in the kitchen the whole night. I love the truffle popcorn and Chinese food ideas. One of us is making Pineapple Upside down cupcakes! Thanks for the suggestions!
Sounds like a fun night! Happy New Year!