With New Year’s Eve being just around the corner, many people will be tending bar at their own parties. As many of you know, it’s stressful enough entertaining many people in your home, without adding all the things that come with providing adult beverages to your guests. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are preparing for your New Year’s Eve celebration.

Many hosts just prepare drinks from whatever stock they have in their home bar, and that is fine. However, many more people are offering signature cocktails, or at the very least, a cocktail menu for the guests to choose from. Keep this very simple, and offer 3-4 drinks at most, unless you want to spend all your time mixing numerous concoctions or having your nose buried in a copy of “Mr. Boston’s Cocktail Guide”, looking up whatever someone happens to order. If you have a few cocktails that you are offering, consider batching, that is, mixing up the basic drink in a pitcher, and when someone asks for it, all you have to do is pour it over ice, and add a garnish (such as a lime or a cherry). It will save you lots of time, and your guests may even be able to help themselves. Offerings such as Cosmos and Margaritas and Manhattans work well with this system.

If you are really getting into ‘mixology’, there are a number of specials tools that you’ll need, and I’ll get into what those are in another installment. But for your home party, make sure you have these items on hand:

  • Pourers or spouts for bottles that you will use a lot
  • A long handled bar spoon for those drinks that call for stirring (e.g., Martinis)
  • Bottle and can opener (have two on hand in case one walks), as well as a corkscrew.
  • Straws & Stirrers, plus picks to support garnishes such as olives
  • A cocktail shaker (if you are mixing individual drinks, and if you are, have a measuring cup and spoons).

Finally, the most important thing is the safety of your guests. Make sure you know how far each person has to go to get home. Hopefully, nobody is going to be ‘over-served’, but you are going to treat a guest who is walking down the block differently than one who you know has to drive 25 miles. As the host, it is your responsibility to know not to serve drink after drink to a person you know has to drive a long way. At the end of the evening, be prepared to take the keys and put up a guest who has had one too many. You’ll be glad you did. In that regard, always be sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers, expectant mothers, and anybody who does not imbibe for one reason or another.

Have a wonderful and a safe New Year’s Eve. Cheers!

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