Is it really that time of year again? It’s hard to believe, I know. It seems like just yesterday that we were dealing with the likes and dislikes of friends and relatives at the Christmas table, not to mention the weeks either side of what’s meant to be a holiday – hah!
Well this year is going to be different, because I’ve jotted down a few ideas for helping you to keep the festive mood alive, without losing sight of the bottom line or your sanity. After all, it’s not a celebration if you’re not having fun.
Call me hardnosed, but I think it’s important to be practical, no matter what the size of the party. As my worldly-wise Nana says, you can’t please everybody…
So, step one is assessing your friends and colleagues who are lucky enough to have received an invitation from you. How many of them are there, and what are their drinking habits? You know them better than I do, and probably know their preferences, and ability to down them, more than you realise. Are they happy with a cocktail (or three), or are they more the type who prefer a sober glass before they fade into the night?
It’s important to take into account the formality of the situation, and also the time of day it takes place. If it’s a stand-up evening affair, with only light foods available, champagne (or a cheeky little Methode) or beer would probably be suitable, whereas, if it’s your turn to host the Christmas lunch, more serious wine choices have to be made.
Woah! All these different strands now have to be brought in to mingle. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Planning now means that it will all be good on the night.
Typically, the earlier in the day everything starts, the more careful you have to be about your choices. This can even mean having to find out what your grandmother’s favourite aperitif is. Because when she’s happy… At a more formal event, the numbers are usually fewer so you can afford to splash out, in terms of quality. For more people, just choose a range of beverages that you yourself would be happy to drink. Say you figure that it is going to be, on average, a bottle of wine or six or so beers per person for an average of three hours? I’d say that’s a good rule of thumb. So far, the math is easy.
And it doesn’t need to get any more difficult than that. It gets a bit vague when it comes down to everybody’s summertime favourites – vodka or gin & tonics, but I just tend to get extra, safe in the knowledge that it keeps… And yes, I do believe that it’s important to keep a generous amount of tonic or soda in the pantry and a big bag of lemons beside it. In case of emergencies, you understand.
Not all emergencies are equal, though, so if you find that some of your drinks questions remain unanswered, do feel free to ask for more in- depth advice.
Catherine works as assistant manager at Glengarry Herne Bay and has been 'local wine guru' there for over 2 1/2 years.
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