As the holidays approach, we look forward to entertaining friends and family.
What’s a good drink to serve to guests when they arrive?
Well first, I think that nothing says celebration like a sparkling wine and the first one I’m going to recommend is a Quebec sparkler from Domaine de Lavoie. An added bonus, this winery will ship directly to your home and it’s a great way to support local.
Domaine de Lavoie Brut Sparkling 2020
Monteregie, Quebec, Canada
Flat Rock Twisted Sparkling 2020
Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
Both are zesty and refreshing with notes of green apple and freshly baked bread. 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:
Sea Sun Pinot Noir 2019
California, United States
Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Marlborough, New Zealand
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:
Château Teyssier 2018
Montagne-Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux A.C., France
Tribute Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Sonoma, California, United States
What about liqueurs and spirits?
The classics are always good and will appeal to those guests who prefer spirits. You can provide some garnishes or even offer a house cocktail.
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.
You can find all of these wines as well as Natalie’s online courses on her website at nataliemaclean.com.
Posted with permission from CTV.