Entertaining 101 – The Bar

Picking up where we left off last week in our Entertaining 101 series, today’s entry is all about livening up your party with libations and a perfectly stocked bar. A properly stocked bar will ensure that you won’t be making any mid-party runs to the corner store to pick up more ice, mixers, and other beverage essentials.

A properly stocked bar will include: glassware, cocktail napkins, citrus or other garnishes (olives, celery, etc.), mixers, ample ice, wine, beer, liquor, corkscrew, ice scoop & bucket, shaker, long-handled spoons, shot glass and pitchers (If you’re doing mixed drinks like sangria, mojitos, etc.).

Depending on how formal your party is, you have several options available when considering what type of glass your guests will use to sip their libations. I typically always prefer glass, but you can certainly find several paper and plastic options. IKEA is an awesome place to buy inexpensive glassware, as well as high quality plastic champagne flutes, wine glasses, and more. They also have lots of fun napkin options with patterns and colors at very good prices.

If your goal is to keep things simple, consider serving only beer and wine. Doing this will mean less work and less of a mess for you, it can also be much more of an economical way to stock your bar. There are hundreds of interesting and inexpensive wines that you may have never tried. For excellent recommendations, stop by our wine shoppe and talk to Mike for a quick crash course in awesome wines at amazing prices.

Ensuring that you have the right amount of everything you need is important. Keep these things in mind when stocking up:

• Each guest will drink an average of two drinks the first hour and one drink each hour thereafter.

• A one-liter bottle of alcohol yields approximately 22 mixed drinks, so if you know how many guests are attending and what kind of bar you’re going to have, you can easily figure out how much alcohol to purchase.

• To accommodate any non-cocktail drinkers, estimate one bottle of wine per eight guests, remembering that white wine tends to be more popular than red.

• One 750-ml bottle of Champagne fills six regular Champagne glasses. The amounts listed in the chart below account for how much Champagne guests will drink from the bar. If you plan to have a Champagne toast, you will need to purchase additional bottles—you only need to pour about a third of a glass for a toast, so plan on one bottle of bubbly for every ten guests.

• Garnishes are relatively cheap, so it’s always smart to buy extras. Plan on a 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime and two each of olives, cherries, and onions per guest. This means that if you have 24 guests, you’ll need at least 12 lemons and 12 limes plus 48 each of olives, cherries, and onions.

• Plan on one and a half pounds of ice per person. This will provide enough ice for drinks as well as any ice baths for wine or beer.

The last tip I have in my arsenal for effortless entertaining is to hire a bartender and a server if you plan to have more than 30 guests, and especially if you plan to have a full bar or cocktail party. Part of being a gracious host is being free to mix and mingle with your guests. If you spend the entire evening “catering” your own party, you miss the opportunity to connect with friends and family.

Whatever your holiday entertaining needs, Joe’s Gourmet Catering and Events can plan a party you’ll never forget. This year, give yourself the gift of relaxation at your holiday party by allowing us to help. It’s not too early to start planning your event. Give us a call!

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