Alcoholic drinks served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Common beverages include fino, amontillado, dry sherry, vermouth etc. It was formulated initially in 1846 by a French chemist as a means of delivering malaria-fighting quinine. Something interesting to open a conversation with your acquaintances!

The caviar eggs are called beads or pearls in the trade.


This term is gaining popularity with other nouns like atelier, artisans, craftsmanship. Bespoke essentially means crafted from scratch for the client, so everything (e.g shoes, suits, stationeries etc) is well measured or specially designed, ordered in and tailored to fit the taste and fancy of the client.


Typically a formal event after 6 p.m., this dress code spells prim and proper attire for gentlemen and ladies. Men has to wear dinner jackets, tux with optional tailcoats with vests, waistband and dress shoes. Ladies have to wear a gown with a more impressive display of statement jewellery (that’s how I see it most of the time now at some events!) and fine makeup with hairstyling.

Read more here about a very insightful history and explanation on this dress code, or if you need some visual guide, The Rake Magazine will help you find that perfect watch or tailored suit.

Bottega (boht-THE-gah)

Most likely connotation will be Bottega Veneta, a luxury brand of woven leather bags. Bottega actually means shop or workshop in terms of business, or workshop in terms of arts and crafts. So Bottega Veneta means Venetian Atelier.


These are served mostly during cocktail sessions, and if you wonder why they are usually more salty and pepperish, it is to encourage people to drink more!

Generally canapé means decorative food (that’s why it looks so pretty), which are finger food eaten in one bite, but not all finger food are canapés. This is because to be regarded as a canapé, you must look good – yes, like a vase for decorative purpose, because the name comes from the French word for “couch”, illustrating that the garnish sits atop the cracker or bread, as people on a couch.

Salt-cured roe from the sturgeon species. The word caviar comes from the Persian word Khag-avar, meaning the roe-generator.
The most expensive food on earth is the Alma Beluga Cavier, costing about $34,500.00 per kg.


I love cocktail events, as you can make a fashion statement as you please. Cocktail events are usually shorter than galas or formal sit down dinners, gives you lots of opportunity to network and make friends. Champagne, cocktails, finger food or hors d’oeuvre might be served.

You might find something quirky and whimsical at www.doorstepluxury.com or cool pocket squares and ties at www.vandafineclothing.com

It takes some skill and practise to look nonchalant yet proper, some research on Esquire Magazine might help get you that look.


Alcoholic drinks served after a meal to aid digestion.


Usually as a celebration, Gala is attended by hundreds of people and the dress code can vary from black tie to smart casual or simply just “Black”, depending on the purpose of the event. If in doubt, ask your host!

Hors d’oeuvre (or-derf)

Hors d’oeuvres are served prior to the main course. Examples include canapés, bruschetta and caviar. In a nutshell this is what is called in different cultures as a guide:

Antipasto (Italian)

Banchan (Korean)

Lěng pán or qián cài (Chinese)

Zensai (Japanese)


Bringing you back to your tertiary school days when you shyly asks a date out and hopefully see if both of you can get your dress to match his tie. Now this theme or dress code could be very popular in corporate DnDs, so many high street fashion brands e.g Ted Baker do have something that fits the bill. If you want something not available in local market, www.asos.com is a great place to shop with outstanding designer pieces, but do your shortlisting and ordering at least one month beforehand.

Red Carpet

Usually used to marked the route taken by heads of state on ceremonial and formal occasions, but event planners has used this to create a “red carpet” event for celebrities and VIPS on formal events like the Oscars. Thus if you are invited to a red carpet event, typically dress code will be black tie, unless stated otherwise for creative reasons.


This is a noisy and lively festival, usually marking New Year’s Eve celebrations or the like. It involves drinking of large amount of alcohol, so make sure you have some finger food before that.

Pocket squares

I love to see gentlemen and their choice of pocket squares making appearances during evens. The way they fold it and their design speaks a thousand words about their personality and character. Find a classic tailor, or a modern one to design one that suits you.


Used by cowboys or Native American in the primitive days, hang around the sides of the horse to hold medical supplies and tools. Now most brands made it more utilitarian, adding a body strap, more room for personal items and Equestrian elements for accessories. 


By definition, a small bag with shoulder strap. Popular in the 1950s with British school children. Modern trends have caught on and top Satchel brands include The Leather Satchel Company, Satchels and The Cambridge Satchel Company.

Smörgåsbord (smor-gas-board)

This is a swedish term, which means a luncheon or supper buffet offering hors d’oeuvres, cold cuts, hot meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads and relishes. Yes, so it means it might include canapés too.


These are wide variety of appetizers or snacks in Spanish cuisine served cold or warm. This word originates from the Spanish verb tapar – “to cover”, because originally tapas were slices of bread or salty meat to cover glasses in between sips of sherry. Restaurants now have made tapas as important as sherry as it encourage alcohol sales and they have made tapas as creative and extensive to make it into a full meal itself.