Satisfying your guests’ many liquid refreshment demands at your holiday gathering can be a daunting proposition. The following options provide ways to please any fussy guest, so you too can revel in the merrymaking.
The first thing my guests say to me upon arriving is, “I’ll start with water.” Have a designated area only for water and keep it closest to the food, preferably in the kitchen. If you are using a large decorative water dispenser as opposed to water bottles, infuse it with fresh cucumber slices. Water will have a stale taste after sitting for even an hour, and the cucumber keeps it tasting fresh and light. Add a sprig of mint to each glass instead of directly to the water; adding it to the water tends to overwhelm the taste. Serve water in your best glasses, not plastic; your guests want to feel special no matter what they are drinking.
Another great way to satisfy your guests is by setting up a wine bar. Always have more white wine than red available, as white is always the most popular choice. Rosè is an excellent option around the holidays as well and looks particularly festive in a pretty wine glass. Set out all the stemware you own and when you run out, it is perfectly suitable to substitute clear plastic cups at your wine station. Offer individual serving size bottles in wine glasses lined with vintage napkins for a decorative touch.
When guests walk through the door, I like to have a table in the foyer with champagne flutes filled with sparkling cider topped with fresh raspberries. This is an alternate option and, when the bubbly flutes are placed next to a beautiful bouquet surrounded by white sparkly lights, can add an elegant yet inexpensive touch.
Lastly, a coffee station is essential. Be it iced or hot, you will want to make ample amounts and serve it up in your largest urn or decorative thermos. Always use your best china! In addition to milk, cream, and various sweetener options, offer Baileys and Kahlua in small vintage milk bottles.
The key to a successful evening is planning in advance. Having fully stocked beverage stations throughout your home ensures that your guests will never have to approach you to tell you what’s missing, only to compliment you on a great evening. And remember, never let your friends drink and drive, use Uber or let them sleep in the guest bedrooms.
Happy New Year!