Stocking a Family Friendly Bar

November, 2010 · By Coryanne Ettiene

Hours of menu planning frequently go into delivering the perfect Thanksgiving dinner: the gracious host never overlooks the vegetarian guest, or the favored guest who simply adores roasted beets. However, this thoughtful planning is seldom performed when it comes to stocking the family bar. Many of us host guests who simply cannot pass up a drink, and guests who stay well clear of the alcohol. Sensitivities to drinking often appear when large families gather over the holidays, so a carefully stocked bar will go a long way to ensuring your guests enjoy their drinks as much as they do their dinner.

How to stock a family bar by Coryanne Ettiene

The complexity of my family’s drinking habit is enough to see me pour my first cocktail at dawn (Mimosa anyone?), however with a carefully planned family bar, I know that every consideration will be made to keep everyone festive, raising their glass and visiting the bar. This year, I will be serving a white themed bar (more of that to come later) to ensure my guests share the same drinks, and to avoid the harsh realities of the odd tipple that landing on my newly steamed carpets .

Drinking and spilling go together like Vermouth and olives. No one wants to see their red wine spilled on your new cream carpet. To avoid the embarrassment and frustration of cocktail stains on your carpet or upholstery, opt to serve vodka, gin, champagne, and white rum. Compliment with clear mixers like 7up, Indian tonic and soda water, then garnish with lime, lemon and olives.

Mocktail or Cocktail? Telling the difference between a mocktail and a cocktail is not an easy feat, and is a standard that should be sought after in the family bar. There are very few guests who would prefer to sip a cola while the drinking crowd are enjoying margaritas. For every drink you offer, ensure that you have a duplicate mocktail to offer.

Youthful Drinks. The delight of being a child at a family bar is the endless supply of Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers.  The best way to be a hit amongst your younger set is to keep these free flowing, heaping with maraschino cherries, served in fabulous glasses with fun straws.

Bubble Bubble, Fizz Fizz.  You either love Champagne or you don’t, but a toast is not a toast without a few bubbles. Have a few bottles on hand, along with the non-alcoholic version, to ensure that when you do raise your glass that everyone is raising a bubbly glass right alongside you.

Keep them flowing. If you are serving mixed drinks, serve them in a carafe  to ensure that your guests can return to the bar for a quick top up, and for optimum enjoyment of your wine, serve your wine in a decanter.

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