Planning a Party: Serving Drinks
Don’t forget to order soft drinks for non-drinkers. Fresh fruit juices and cordials mixed with mineral water will go much further than fizzy drinks as they tend to be more refreshing.
Don’t be caught short
To be on the safe side, over-cater rather than under-cater on drink for your party. Buy from a wine shop that sells on a sale-or-return basis, so that you can return any unopened bottles.
When guests arrive
It’s traditional to serve sherry or spirits to your guests when they arrive, but by no means essential. A glass of wine, still or sparkling, is usually appreciated just as much.
Can’t afford champagne?
If the budget won’t run to champagne for wedding toasts or other celebrations, buy sparkling wine instead. It is much less expensive and has the same effect – many people won’t even notice the difference, particularly if you choose a wine made in the same way as champagne. Look for labels which say the wine was made by the ‘classic’ or ‘traditional’ method.
Ask for a discount if you buy a case of 12 bottles or more. Most wine shops will also give a refund for unopened bottles.
For informal occasions such as buffets or barbecues, a punch can work out much cheaper than wine or spirits. Serve in a large punch bowl with a ladle, or in jugs for easy pouring.
A good supply of ice
Order or make twice the amount of ice you think you’ll need. Keep ice for drinks separate from ice for chilling, which will not stay clean.
How much do you need?
The smaller the party, the more people tend to drink. For over 50 guests, calculate at least three drinks per head, but for 10-15 people you may need to double that amount.
Fridge too full to chill the wine?
Buy ice in quantity and chill wine bottles in large plastic bins filled with ice -or fill the bath with ice.
If guests go over the limit
Never allow anyone who has had too much to drink to drive home after a party. Offer to arrange a taxi or a lift home, or even a bed for the night. If necessary, consider taking away the car keys.