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Article: Your Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Napkins


Your Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Napkins

If you’re looking for a way to make your Champagne toasts feel extra special, it’s time to say “cheers” in style with your own personal collection of cocktail napkins. Between holiday gatherings and spontaneous summertime dinners, any event can be elevated with the addition of a few smaller table linens. Soft, stylish, and oh-so-beautiful, our selection of linen cocktail napkins has a design for everyone.

It’s high time you curated your own collection of cocktail napkins — but where do you start? With a guide to these versatile table linens, choosing the best napkin set to match your gathering will be a breeze. Browse our many designs, learn a bit more about the many uses of cloth cocktail napkins, and find inspiration for using them in your home and table settings.

What is a Cocktail Napkin?

Cocktail napkins are smaller napkins designed to accompany a drink, keeping guests' hands comfortable and your furniture dry throughout a gathering. They are typically placed underneath or alongside a drink to protect furniture surfaces from condensation or spills. They are traditionally small squares or circles, perfectly sized to fit under the bottom of a glass. 


What Are Cocktail Napkins Used For?

Outside of making an ice-cold beverage comfortable to hold, cocktail napkins can also be used for a variety of reasons, such as holding small appetizers during a hors d’oeuvres course or wiping fingers clean between cocktails. They’re even perfect for beverages of all temperatures, from summertime lemonade sips on the porch to a steaming cup of tea at the breakfast nook. We know there's a time and a place for paper cocktail napkins, but given the choice between paper cocktail napkins and cloth cocktail napkins, we agree with Patricia Atschul's take on table linens — using a cloth version just makes the experience better.

Why We Love Cloth Cocktail Napkins

Traditionally, a drink is best served presented on a napkin, elevating the overall drinking experience. With countless colors and designs to choose from, a napkin set can transform the look and feel of your party, no matter the occasion. 

While there is a time and a place for disposable tableware {such as for a spontaneous pool party}, cloth cocktail napkins are the perfect alternative, making every drink feel extra special. A cotton linen blend doesn’t disintegrate as it absorbs the condensation from the glass, keeping your guests’ hands dry and the party going - not to mention that linens just feel better to hold than paper. 



Linen cocktail napkins are more than a style statement — they’re also built to protect furniture from spills and stains. Multifunctional and versatile, these napkins make sure that each beverage can be safely set down on tables, keeping the surfaces in your house safe from rings and scuffs. We encourage our guests to use them as coasters as they gather together to  catch up with one another.

What’s the Best Material for Cloth Cocktail Napkins?

In terms of a sophisticated look and soft-to-the-touch feel, a linen cotton blend is the best material overall for cloth cocktail napkins. When you combine the powerful absorbency of cotton with the long-lasting durability of linen, you get a fabric that will last you for years of hosting, not to mention how easy it is to wash them.

Set Out Linen Cotton Cocktail Napkins for Any Occasion

It doesn’t matter if you’re hosting a spur-of-the-moment dinner party or a formal, celebratory brunch—anytime you’re serving drinks, you can use cloth cocktail napkins. Whether you’re matching a dressed-to-the-nines tablescape or hosting a tapas party, if your guests have a drink in hand, you should be offering a napkin. Some of our favorite occasions include:

Bridal showers

Engagement parties

Holiday dinners

Drinks on the patio

Birthday parties

How to Choose the Right Cocktail Napkin for Your Gathering

When creating the look of your gathering, the smallest details make a world of difference. But between adorable lemon linen cocktail napkins and more, how do you choose the right ones? If you’re unsure how to choose the best napkins for your gathering, try some of our favorite approaches:

Consider Matching the Table Setting Linens

The key to creating a cohesive theme throughout your event is making sure all of the smallest details - down to your table linens coordinate. Whether you’re setting an elaborate formal dining table with a tablecloth or sticking to casually rolled cloth napkins for grab-and-go dining, napkins can act as the perfect pop of pattern for your gathering. As you choose your other dining linens, consider choosing linen cocktail  napkins that match your color scheme. 


Find Seasonal and Holiday Cloth Cocktail Napkin

Make any gathering all the more festive by pulling out seasonal and holiday-patterned cocktail napkins. Whether setting a modern Thanksgiving table for all your friends and family or toasting to the New Year, high quality napkins are a perfect decorative detail that can help elevate any holiday soirée. Set a stack of Gold Star Cocktail Napkins out next to your bottle of bubbly or opt for a Speckled Rabbit Set for a festive Easter brunch table.



Coordinate the Napkins with Your Dinnerware and Serveware

Choosing matching {or complementary} cocktail napkins with your dinnerware and serveware can create a uniquely curated and stylish overall feel for your gathering. From the salad and dinner plates at each place setting to the serving platters on a buffet table, there are endless opportunities to add a pop of color to complete the look. Experiment with napkins that are either from the same collections as your selected serveware or that help bring out accented colors in the designs. 

For a classy and clean look, choose Deco dinnerware with matching Gold Scallop Cocktail Napkins. Or, take a bolder approach and mix and match two collections with Fundamentals dinnerware and blush pink cocktail napkins for an organic and feminine style. The combinations are endless.

Choose a Cocktail Napkin Pattern Based on the Drink

If you’re feeling inspired, try matching your cloth cocktail napkin to your offered drinks. This is a fun way to get your creative juices flowing and really curate your gathering. Consider the main ingredients in your cocktail and find complementary napkins to complete your bar area and make each sip feel extra special. For instance, if you’re making a batch of lemon drops, grab a stack of citrus-themed cocktail napkins to showcase the delicious fruit flavors and theme. 



Our Favorite Cocktail Recipes for Each Napkin Design

What would a cocktail napkin be without a matching cocktail? Find inspiration for your own happy hour celebration with a list of some of our favorite cocktail and napkin combinations:

  • Iris Blue: with a classic blue burst design and a perfectly circular shape, our Iris Blue style is the best way to serve an oh-so-satisfying Gin and Tonic.
  • Gold Star: with a metallic silver border and a timeless gold star, our design elevates our classic French 75 Cocktail even further. 
  • Blush Arabesque: with a modern shape and a soft pink color, our Blush Arabesque Trim Cocktail Napkins help a Dark and Stormy make a statement on any table.
  • Lemon: with a bright lemon design in the corner, lean into the fresh flavors and citrus pattern with a Whiskey Sour recipe
  • Citrus Print: with vibrant yellow and orange fruits and gorgeous green leaves, this citrus-inspired pattern adds the perfect summery feel to our Old Cuban Cocktail
  • Palm: with a fresh green palm frond stitched in the corner, our Palm Cocktail Napkins pair beautifully with a Perfect Paloma for a vacation feel. 
  • Oyster Print: with a light blue, navy, and white color palette, our embellished oyster print napkins are the perfect choice for sipping on a summer Tom Collins
  • Oyster: with a small oyster in the corner and a dark blue border, this subtle cloth linen cocktail napkin is perfect for enjoying a refreshing Aperol Spritz
  • Flying Santa: with a dark green border and a whimsical stitched illustration of Santa, wish “Merry Christmas” to your loved ones over a Classic Champagne Cocktail toast.  

What’s The Best Way to Display Cloth Cocktail Napkins?

When it comes to cloth cocktail napkins, you don’t have to put much thought into the display—a simple stack will suffice. But, if you’re looking for a creative way to show off your favorite styles, fanning them out on the surface helps to show guests the selection they have to choose from. This can be especially beneficial if you’re mixing and matching multiple linen cocktail napkin prints, which gives guests an opportunity to express themselves and helps them “mark” or keep track of their drink throughout the duration of the gathering. 

5 Areas to Place Cocktail Napkins During a Party

Where you set out your fabric cocktail napkins depends on the overall structure of your gathering. The key to using cocktail napkins is stacking them wherever they’re most convenient for guests so that they’re easy to pick up, place under a drink, and hold while mingling with other guests. Consider the tone of your party as you play around with placing your sets in these different serving spaces:

  1. Coffee table: for more casual gatherings, such as a cocktail party or charcuterie night, placing cloth cocktail napkins on the coffee table makes the event feel more intimate and encourages guests to use them as coasters when putting their beverages down.
  2. Bar area: keeping a stack in your bar area helps elevate your home barduring a gathering and inspires guests to grab one as they fill up their glass. 
  3. On the buffet table: for large-group gatherings or buffet-style serving, store your linens in a basket or on top of a plate. Place them next to the beverage area to encourage guests to grab one as they pour their drinks.  
  4. In a place setting: adding a cloth cocktail napkin to a table setting can add additional layering detail and help designate where a drink should go. 
  5. Napkin holders: for a more casual meal around the dinner table, store your favorite set in a handy napkin holder to keep them all corralled in one spot for guests to grab as needed. 

Gifting Cloth Cocktail Linen Napkins

Linen cocktail napkins are perfectly giftable, making them a go-to option whenever you need to bring a little something for the hostess, the newlyweds, the new neighbors, and more. Whether you’re looking for oyster-themed cocktail napkins for a clambake party or red and green cocktail napkins for Christmas gifts for your in-laws, our extensive and stylish collection of designs has you covered.


We recommend stocking up on a few of your favorite cocktail napkin designs so you have simple and accessible presents on hand for grab-and-go gifting. Before you walk out the door, just grab this versatile present and head on your way.

5 Ways to Gift Cocktail Napkins

With so many designs to choose from, our cloth cocktail napkins are effortlessly giftable. Each pattern adds a personal touch to the table, elevating any occasion. Consider our five favorite ways to spruce up a linen cocktail napkin gift for just about anyone in your life: 

  1. For someone who dabbles in mixology, pair a stylish iris blue cocktail napkin set with a bottle of the recipient’s favorite liquor.
  2. For new homeowners, wrap a set up with a bottle opener to complete their home bar.
  3. For a wine lover, gift a set alongside their favorite bottle of red or white.
  4. For a hostess, wrap up your napkins alongside bar accouterments, such as bitters or homemade bloody mary mix.
  5. For newlyweds, pair a stack of cocktail napkins with an engraved barware gift, like a shaker set or olive picks. 

When it comes to hosting, it doesn’t matter if you’re celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime milestone or throwing a last-minute get-together — every moment deserves to feel special. While they may seem like a small addition to your table linen collection, cloth cocktail napkins are a small detail that contributes to an elevated experience for your guests. The next time you’re serving your signature cocktails or raising a glass of bubbly, make sure your guests have a stylish and elegant cocktail napkin in hand.

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