A cocktail party is a party at which cocktails are served. It is sometimes called a cocktail reception. A cocktail party organized for purposes of social or business networking is called a mixer.
A cocktail hour is sometimes used by managers of hotels and restaurants as a means of attracting patrons between 4 pm and 6 pm.
Some events, such as wedding receptions, are preceded by a cocktail hour. During the cocktail hour, guests socialize while drinking and eating appetizers. Organizers of these events use the cocktail hour to occupy guests between related events and to reduce the number of guests who arrive late.