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Christmas is coming…and with zero restrictions on socialising this year, it’s time to make up for a few years of lost celebrations! You might be considering hosting a Christmas drinks party for friends and family, but remember, there’s more that goes into the occasion than simply opening a few bottles.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a few tips for those looking to invite others over for a festive tipple or two…
How many drinks do I need?
You won’t want your guests to go thirsty. Equally, though, you no doubt won’t want a load of drinks left over at the end of the night.
Generally, the rule of thumb would be to have enough drinks available for 1.5 drinks per person, per hour. Be sure to plan within your budget, though – and with your guests’ tastes in mind. If you know that some may only have one alcoholic drink then switch to soft drinks, account for this in your plans.
You’ll need to make sure you have enough glasses as well – and avoid the temptation to open every drink at the start. Nobody wants to be left with a table full of open, nearly full wine bottles at the end of the night…
What about food?
If you’re serving alcoholic drinks, it makes sense to have some food on offer, too – especially if the timing of your party falls over a mealtime. A buffet is a perfect solution.
It means you’ll have the food out and ready for people to help themselves whenever they fancy it, and it’ll ensure that you’re not spending the whole time in the kitchen.
Some prefer to go for finger foods, as they’re easier to eat while also holding a drink in the other hand. At this time of year, all of the supermarkets have a wide range of Christmas buffet food in so all you need to do is cook and serve.
Cheese and charcuterie boards are always a popular choice – or, if you’ve got the space for people to sit, a huge pot of chilli, a pasta dish or similar can be a good shout.
Some experts suggest aiming for around 1lb of food per person at a cocktail party, others say 6-12 canapes should do the trick. You’ll know your guests and their appetites, though (and it all depends if you want leftovers to enjoy after they’ve gone!)
Don’t forget the non-alcoholic options
Remember, it’s unlikely that every single person at your party will be drinking. You may have guests who are teetotal. There may be attendees who are pregnant or driving, and so need to stick to non-alcoholic options.
Some people may not drink for religious reasons, others may be calorie-counting and looking to avoid what they may see as an unnecessary calorie intake through their regular choice of drink. You might be wondering in this case, what are healthy alternatives to soda? There are several examples you can find online. Sparkling water is a great option, and you could even get creative and use colouring so people don’t feel like they stand out without an alcoholic drink. If you’re inviting families with children, you’ll need to make sure they’re catered for, too. Sugar-free colas and simple fruit juices can be a great hit with young people.
Make sure you’ve got a few different alcohol-free options on offer. It may be regular soft drinks. It may be mocktails. Alternatively, there’s a booming market for “grown-up” non-alcoholic drinks that offer more sophisticated flavours without the booze. This sparkling tea range, for example, offers refined flavours without any alcohol or added flavours – and as an added bonus, they’re low in calories and sugar, too.
Make life simple
It can be tempting to create a menu of elaborate cocktails or spend time slaving over homemade gourmet nibbles…but remember: you want to be spending time enjoying the party with your guests, not working. Jugs of cocktails work just as well. Don’t be ashamed of buying in nibbles. Premade non-alcoholic drinks are absolutely fine.
Don’t spend the occasion stressed. While you’ll obviously want your guests to have a great time, don’t forget that you need to enjoy the party, too.