cocktail or cocktails?


Senior Member

I'm working on a conference program and there's a cocktail break that appears in the program as "Cocktail." Should I leave it in the singular, or do I have to say "Cocktails," plural?

  • boozer

    Senior Member
    I would leave it in the singular if I was talking about the particular activity rather than the cocktails that may be served.


    Senior Member
    British English
    Use the plural.

    On a program, you would read Cocktail Hour, (if occurring after the day's activities and before a formal dinner for delegates at a conference;
    Cocktails (and Canapés



    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    I would specify a bit more. If it is either at the beginning or the end of the conference:
    Opening cocktail party
    Welcome cocktail party
    Closing cocktail party

    If it is in the middle of the day, as it appears to be the case, maybe:
    Cocktail reception
    Cocktail hour
    Last edited:


    American English
    I'm not sure that you need to be more specific than just "Cocktails," but you definitely need the plural. You are not going to serve just one cocktail to the first person who gets to the right place, you are going to be serving many of them to all of the people who come to the event, even if they only drink one each.

    Presumably, you are going to include the time and place where the cocktails will be served, but as a header for those details, "Cocktails" could be sufficient. You can be more expansive if you want to and it would be consistent with the rest of the printed agenda or program, following the suggestions of MBK and murciana.

    Note also that if this is a conference of some kind and you expect the participants to pay for the cocktails, the usual AE expression would be "Cash bar." "Cocktails" or "Cocktail hour," etc., implies that the host is paying the bill.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    If you're using it as a single word or as a noun preceded or followed by another phrase, use the plural: Cocktails / Break for cocktails / Cocktails and nibbles

    If you're using it as an adjective, use the singular: Cocktail hour (probably the most common term, even if the time allotted is not exactly one hour) / Cocktail break / Cocktail party / Cocktail reception / Cocktail social / Cocktail get-together
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