If you had to think about the best parties you’ve ever been to, what sticks out is not a fine wine or an exorbitant aperitif. You probably don’t rate a party according to who’s wearing what and whether or not the guests are part of the ‘in-crowd’. No, rather the best parties happen when you host puts a little thought and love into making sure that the event is memorable. If this sounds like the kind of party that you’d like to host, consider the following:
For advice on how much drink to offer your guests, it depends where you are having your party. Make use of the bartenders and managers when having your party at a hotel or similar venue. Wine merchants will also be able to help with this.
Should you want to organise this yourself, you should be able to rely on a ratio of one or two drinks per guest per hour. Yet you need to ensure that you don’t run out of drinks, so the best way forward is to overestimate the consumption of drinks on the day. Enquire about a sale or return agreement where you procure your drinks.
What kind of party is this? Who’s invited? How many guests? How much can I spend? So for a wedding sparkling wine is the norm, along with wine on your tables. You also want to take into consideration the age of your guests, if they are older they will prefer spirits. The younger crowd will enjoy beer and alcopops. Of course, non-alcoholic beverages should always be on hand for kids and those who don’t want to go overboard. Ultimately, what you serve your guests will add to the character of your party. Kegs of lager or ale can look impressive at a banquet and a careful selection of wines from exotic locations such as South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand can add to the narrative of your event.
What to have handy
If you are going to serve cocktails, the best way forward is to have spirits that are used in most cocktails. These are vodka, whiskey, rum and gin. It’s also a good idea to limit the choices of cocktails so that your bartenders can ensure a smooth service.
Wine has become accessible to every level of society and these days there is a tremendous variety available to choose from. Getting it right can be tricky though. As mentioned previously, you need to consider the type of party you are hosting. So at a wedding, champagne is in order. For dinner parties, try to see whether you can pair your wine selection with the food that will be served. If you are unsure whether to have more red wine than white, take into account the weather. Red wine tends to be more popular during the colder months and white wine is preferable when it’s warmer.
This is where you want to start unwinding your party with the typical offer of tea and coffee. Sweet wines can be offered in lieu of dessert and you should consider having port and either brandy or cognac to hand in case the dessert wine isn’t to someone’s taste. These drinks are normally consumed in small quantities, so there is no need to have a lot in stock.
You should have no trouble finding glasses for your party, with most drinks companies willing to let you have glasses for a returnable deposit. However you should look at your drinks menu to decide which glasses will be appropriate. Champagne is normally served in flute glasses, while wine is of course served in wine glasses. Apart from this, you should be fine with highball glasses for the rest of your drinks, although if you are serving large quantities of beer, it is a good idea to have pint glasses to hand.
Take into account where you want your drinks to be served from, you don’t want your guests to have to stand in a long queue to get served. You may want to split your stations by the type of drink that will be served. For example you can have your cocktails served away from the wine, beer and spirits. It’s also commonplace to leave wine on your guests’ tables so that they can help themselves. If you have waiting staff, you can send them around with general drinks such as the wines and beers for customers to fill up with.
Don’t get too caught up in having the perfect party. You want to enjoy it too and this will rub off on your guests. Take the time to welcome each guest and be sure to thank them for making the effort to attend.