Stocking The Bar: Family-Friendly Drinks

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 the 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. 


The complexity of my family's drinking habit is enough to see me pour my first cocktail at dawn, 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 working with a white theme to ensure my guests share the same drinks, and to avoid the harsh realities of cleaning up the inevitable spills that go along with festive drinking. 


Some tips to remember:

- 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 spilled drinks, keep your drink menu clean. 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. 

- 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 rest of the over-21s are enjoying margaritas. For every drink you offer, ensure that you have a duplicate mocktail to offer.

- 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 and served in fabulous glasses.

- 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.