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Kunal’s Cocktail Party in California

Last updated: March 27, 2024

Kunal and his wife Jinal decided to host a party using my book’s formula. It was their first time gathering a large group of friends and then using name tags and icebreakers. Keep reading to see how it went.

Meet Kunal

Kunal Sampat lives in San Francisco, California. He hosts the Clinical Trial Podcast and is working on a startup.

Kunal reading Nick's book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party.
Kunal reading my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party!

How was the party?

“The party went great! Everyone had a great time,” Kunal said.

He and his wife used the following elements from The 2-Hour Cocktail Party to make a successful gathering:

At the party, Jinal and Kunal did the following things to encourage new conversations:

Doing those things helped their friends meet others and create new relationships.

Guest Bios

Guest Bios are brief biographical sentences about the guests at your parties. You’ll include them in two of your reminder messages leading up to your party.

For more information about Guest Bios, including what they are and how to write them, see this article.

Kunal’s guest bios were very good and extremely detailed! It took him almost 90 minutes to compile and write them. But Kunal didn’t mind the extra time. He said that it helped him to get familiar with the guests. Writing the Guest Bios gave him new ideas for introductions and questions to ask during his party. 

Food and Drinks

Kunal decided to split the food between the kitchen and the living room area. That would allow his guests to spread out and not create congestion or crowding inside his home.

Two special elements that Jinal wanted to add to the party were samosas and macaroons from Costco. These were a big hit with their guests. They also provided cheese, crackers, grapes, berries, and other simple finger foods.

kunal food
Food at Kunal’s first 2-hour cocktail party. Yum!

Kunal bought a jigger to measure drinks from Amazon for $5.99. He said that this was super helpful.

He also bought a glass pen to write names on cocktail glasses. They did not use plastic cups and used glassware instead to serve drinks. This was fine and they felt it made the overall experience much more awesome and mature. This special pen was sold for $6.99. The glass pen was deemed only “okay,” but it was the best option they could find.

Kunal opening up drinks at his party!
Glassware and drinks that were used at Kunal’s party.

They also ordered 11.15 oz bottles of unflavored original sparkling water from a local grocery delivery place. That worked out great! Kunal tested purchasing 1 liter bottles of sparkling water, but the carbonation did not stay for too long. He was happier to buy many smaller bottles to give his guests a more premium experience.

Nick’s note: see my list of resources here for reusable cups, glass pens, and more.

Their guests brought wine, nuts, flowers and more, which was appreciated but not required. Now Kunal and Jinal have a lot of drinks to host their next cocktail party! 

Kunal had never made cocktails in his life and so he printed out a few recipes to make it easy to mix drinks.

Kunal's drink menu at his party
Cocktail recipe made by Kunal.

Improvements for Next Party

Here are a few things that Kunal learned and wants to improve upon for his next party.

Make a smaller, tighter circle for the icebreakers

Kunal and his guests only did two rounds of icebreakers: one at 7:20pm, and another at 8:20pm. The majority of the guests had arrived by 7:20pm so they skipped one of the icebreakers.

I advised Kunal that he should do his first icebreaker right when the first 3-5 people have arrived. This would help them to exit the Awkward Zone and “break the seal” of doing icebreakers. The first icebreaker should be done fast to get the energy moving.

Kunal 5
Kunal and his guests circling up for the icebreakers.

Make sure everyone is standing for the icebreaker

For the first icebreaker, some guests were sitting, which is not ideal! See why sitting down is kryptonite to every party here.

Use the harmonica everytime

Kunal wants to use the harmonica more often for his next party. The Party Harmonica helps hosts to easily get the attention of their guests in a loud environment.

Better lighting

Kunal identified a better location in the backyard with better lighting for the icebreakers. For his next party, they’re all going to gather in that area.

Invitation process

For his next party, once the guests say “Yes,” Kunal will just send them the link to Mixily. He will do this instead of adding their email address to the Mixily page. This will more easily (and quickly!) allow the guest to complete the registration process.

Post-Party Guest Feedback

After the event, Kunal received  a really nice card from a friend who attended. Here’s a picture of the card:

Card that one of Kunal's guests gave to him.
Very kind words! Thanks to Kunal for sharing this with us.

Below are some more comments from Kunal’s other guests.

“Thanks so much for hosting such a wonderful event. The format was great. I appreciate how you got everyone to open up.”

Phil K

“I’d love to be part of every future party. Every person and every conversation is going to be different. I wonder where this will lead you in a year from now.”

David R.

One group of great guests even wanted to take a selfie with Kunal and Jinal because they had such a great time!

Another guest called Kunal to personally say, “Thank you for hosting such a wonderful event and inviting me to it.”

More Party Photos


Kunal was very pleased with how his first party went. It was an incredible opportunity for him and Jinal to gather their friends together and create new connections.

This is what Kunal said to me after his party:

“Nick Gray and his team provided awesome support by sending frequent emails to us and offering an opportunity to talk on the phone with any questions. Thank you Nick and Ash!”

Kunal and Jinal are looking forward to hosting their next party. I can’t wait to see how it turns out for the second time!

Kunal and family taking a family photo!
Kunal found that it was super-helpful to drop off their 3-year old son with their neighbors during the party. They all had a great time with this arrangement.

Do you want to host your own party? Have you hosted one before and have tips to make it work better?

Send me an email and I will help you out, or update this article with your tips. Or check out my book for a step-by-step guide on how you can host your own happy hour or cocktail party to help you build big relationships.

Leave a comment on this article here.

About the author

Nick Gray is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and in a popular TEDx talk. He sold his last company Museum Hack in 2019. Today he’s an expert on networking events, small parties, and creating relationships. Read more about Nick Gray here.

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