Whatever you’re serving, here’s some of our best advice for those serving drinks over the Christmas festivities. Sláinte!
What to serve?
- Take into consideration the drinks preferences of your guests: are they most likely to drink wine, spirits or non-alcoholic beverages? Even those drinking alcohol will want to pace themselves with some non-alcoholic options like sparkling water and fruit juice. If you’ve got children attending, make sure to include soft drinks, juice and milk.
- Go with an even mix of red and white wine if you’re not sure which your guests prefer.
- Offering punch, mulled wine or mulled cider on arrival can help to keep costs down and make the booze go further.
- If budget is an issue, you could also consider serving just one or two signature drinks rather than stocking a full bar. This adds interest as well as being a cheaper option.
How much is enough?
- Count on two drinks per guest per hour, adding an extra few bottles overall to be on the safe side. Count one alcoholic drink as being equivalent to one bottle of beer, one-fifth of a bottle of wine or one measure of spirits or liqueurs. Always remember the golden rule of partying: never run out of wine! Always buy a little more than you need.
- Remember to stock up on lots of ice. You should have at least 400g of ice per person for serving in drinks and to keep beverages cold.
How to set up…
- Set up a self-serve drinks station complete with wine, beers, mixers, spirits, garnishes and an ice bucket.
- If you’re offering plenty of choice, consider setting up several separate drink stations around the party to avoid congestion in one area and to keep guests mixing: one for soft drinks, one for cocktails, etc.
- A cheap plastic bin filled with ice and water makes an effective — and sizeable — cooler for beer bottles.
- Freeze grapes, then use these in place of ice cubes to chill white wine or rosé without watering them down.
- Whether you’ll be using glasses or disposable plastic cups, always plan on multiples per guest. Unless you use wine glass charms or other drink markers, guests will often forget where they place a drink, and many will change beverages over the course of the night, requiring a new glass.
- Cocktails are lovely, but the last thing you want is to spend your own party pretending to be Tom Cruise. If you’re determined to include cocktails at your party, we recommend making big-batch options in pitchers or punch bowls ahead of time and simply allowing people to serve themselves. Stuck for a recipe? These merry mimosas are a great place to start!
- Don’t open absolutely everything at the beginning of your party — you don’t want to be left with 12 half-empty bottles of wine at the end of the night.
- If you’re the host, open the wine that guests have brought to your party to ensure they feel appreciated. Not opening a guest’s wine can be taken to mean that either the wine is so bad that you don’t want to drink it, or so good that you don’t want to share it!
- Perhaps most importantly, a party is supposed to be fun for the host too. Make sure to give yourself time to relax.