As the holidays approach, we look forward to entertaining friends and family. Here with her tips and sips is Natalie MacLean, who offers Canada’s most popular online wine classes at nataliemaclean.com.
What’s a good drink to serve to guests when they arrive?
Sparkling wine is the drink of celebration, especially at this time of year. I’d recommend these two:
Queenston Mile Brut Blanc de Noirs
St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco
Veneto D.O.C., Italy
Both are zesty and refreshing with notes of green apple and freshly baked bread. The bonus that these are both low in alcohol at 10-11% and they’ll pair well with any nibbles you have, from cheese to charcuterie.
When we’re planning the drinks for a holiday gathering, how do we know how much to buy and what to buy?
Count on one drink per guest per hour, and up to two drinks per hour if guests are staying overnight or have pre-arranged transportation home. Some people also tend to drink more during sit-down dinners.
However, you will want to be conservative with your estimates so that you have an adequate supply rather than run short. One alcoholic drink is equivalent to one bottle of beer, five ounces of wine or two ounces of hard liquor or liqueurs.
When it comes to wine, I recommend what I call switch-hitter wines: they’re not too heavy or light, yet they’re packed with flavour such as:
Amo Wines Rosé 2020
St. David’s Bench, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
Sea Sun Pinot Noir 2019
California, United States
The bonus here is that these will both pair beautifully with turkey dinner as well as most hors d’oeuvres.
These wines also are a great “house pour,” the drink you offer to those who don’t have a preference. You will want to stock about twice as much of this drink as the others. With beer, stock an equal mix of domestic, imported and light.
What about for guests who do want something more full-bodied?
Then I’d suggest:
Drea’s Wine Co. Cabernet Franc 2020
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
Sandhill Small Lots Sangiovese 2017
Okanagan Valley British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada
What about liqueurs and spirits?
Marie Brizard Blue Curaçao
What about those not drinking alcohol?
Offer a non-alcoholic punch and soft drinks as well as juice and milk for the children.
For those drinking nonalcoholic beverages, count on two drinks per guest per hour, taking into account the drink preferences of your guests, including children.
Even those drinking alcohol will want to pace themselves with some non-alcoholic beverages such as sparkling water and fruit juice.
Offering a fruit punch or mulled cider before the meal to mix with alcohol will also cost less than a full bar and will stretch the alcohol further. Plus it makes you a responsible host who cares about guests getting home safely.
Thank you, Natalie. You can find all the drinks Natalie mentioned today, plus her courses at nataliemaclean.com.
Published with permission from CHCH.