raise the bar

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Beverages, Cocktail Party, Setting the Stage, Wine Line, Posted on September 3, 2013 by Sandy Bergsten

When entertaining you agree to do three things: provide you guests with something to eat, something to drink, and the opportunity to be merry. The easiest part of planning a party should be the beverages.

Most folks make this step complicated by thinking they need to come up with some snazzy signature cocktail. Few will be happy with your frozen sangoritas or pitcher of Tokyo Kaikan Gimlets. Truth is people like to drink what they like to drink. So why not set out to do just that.

Think of stocking your bar as a one-time long-term investment. You will need liquor, wine, beer, mixers and appropriate glassware. After the initial purchase you will then just need to replenish after each party. People get very excited if you have high-end spirits and because so few consume them you can offer top-shelf knowing it will most likely be around for future gatherings.


For the bar you will need a bottle each of vodka, gin, scotch, bourbon, rum, and light Vermouth.


When it comes to wine curtail the whining by offering three types. Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and a light bodied Burgundy. It’s rare that a pinot grigio girl is going to imbibe an oaky chardonnay and visa versa. Here’s a money saving tip when watching your pennies buy French. It’s unlikely anyone will recognize the label and its corresponding price point. For some unknown reason French wine is often much cheaper than their California counterparts. Santé!


Offer a variety of beers in bottles, which eliminates the need for extra glassware. A combination of light beer, lager- perhaps a trendy IPO, and an import will do the trick.


No need to mix it up with mixers either. All you need is tonic, club soda, cranberry juice, and ginger ale.


For garnishes put out small bowls of olives, lemon and lime wedges, and a bowl of salty nuts.

Having everything stocked and ready to go- I’ll drink to that.

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