Monday, October 24, 2011

Vintage Cocktail Trays

Vintage cocktail trays

The mid twentieth century was a great time for cocktail parties. Housewives had the time to make all those cute little hors d'oeuvres in what, for some, became like contests, featuring bread cut into fanciful shapes and topped with artistic designs made of cream cheese, canned shrimp, olives, and pimentos; all served on tiny, individual trays called cocktail trays.

There are still lots of these cocktail trays around. Flat, and stacked neatly, they did not take up a lot of room. You can often find them at thrift shops and yard sales at bargain prices, though I have seen a few at online shops that sell for a pretty penny. 

I think a modern cocktail party would be fun - everyone dressed up in vintage cocktail attire for a wink at sophistication.  Offer your guests handmade hors d'oeuvres, or use the little trays to serve sushi. 
The colorful plastic trays  pictured at the top of the page came from a larger set in a rainbow of colors.

Vintage cocktail trays

The attractive papier mache covered cocktail trays pictured above were made in Japan and have a tag on the bottom that says "alcohol proof."

 I'm not sure what they were thinking when they came out with these metal cocktail trays featuring silhouettes of people from Victorian times. Maybe they would work better at a tea party. 

Vintage cocktail trays are also nice to keep on a bureau for stray keys or change. They make lovely coasters or snack trays as well. When I was a little girl, we used the colored plastic trays for tea parties. That's probably why I no longer have the full set.


  1. Dolores I love these trays. Thanks for the great photos. I also follow you on Hubpages and really love your ideas and writing, they are completely unique and fascinating.

  2. Hi Jill - thank you very much! These cute little trays come in so handy. My mother used to keep them for entertaining but often let us play with them, so many have been lost to childhood damage.

  3. Love these trays, your site looks so clean and bright with contrating black with white printing.
    I couldnt resist adding this link because I had just written an article on different types of cocktails.
    I hope you dont mind if I add it on here. You can delete if not. cheers Eileen

  4. tips - Hi Eileen - funny I was just thinking about getting rid of all the black but it does seem to make the pictures pop. And the link just fits. What to do with all those old cocktail trays? Have a cocktail party! Thanks!