Tap into our bar-stocking tips:
- Because people are drinking less alcohol now, you'll likely need more wine, bottled waters, and soft drinks than you may expect and less hard liquor.
- Don't be tempted to buy out the liquor store. Choose only the liquors you know your guests will drink. If you're unsure, stick with the basics: whiskey, Scotch, gin, vodka, tequila, rum, or vermouth for cocktails; wine and beer to drink alone.
- Buy plenty of mixers -- carbonated water, tonic water, lemon-lime seltzer, and ginger ale.
- Remember to make a variety of nonalcoholic beverages available for nondrinkers. Sodas, fruit and vegetable juices, bottled water, iced tea, and hot coffee and tea are all popular. Keep in mind that many guests will drink both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.
- When making and garnishing cocktails, be sure to have the necessary "extras," such as maraschino cherries and olives, on hand. You also may want to cut lemon peels and lime and lemon wedges in advance.
- Don't forget the ice. Allow about a pound of cubes per person, a little more for longer parties (or for parties on hot days).
- You don't need a wide selection of bar glasses. Ten- or 12-ounce all-purpose glasses and 9- or 10-ounce stemmed wineglasses will work for nearly every drink. If you'd like, you can rent old-fashioned glasses, highball glasses, brandy snifters, and cordial glasses for your party. Disposable plastic glasses, available in various sizes, are convenient to use, especially for a big party.
- Be sure to have a bottle opener, corkscrew, cocktail napkins, small towel, sponge, and wastebasket handy.
- You may want to have a blender nearby if you plan to serve blended drinks, such as frozen margaritas or daiquiris.
- Set up the bar away from the food table and either make it self-serve or snag a friend to act as bartender.
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