The guide to holiday libations
Serving a festive cocktail or opening a bottle of champagne when entertaining is an easy way to make your party feel special. And setting out a punchbowl or pitcher of drinks accompanied by garnished glasses can also serve as an elegant, glittering centerpiece for a small table.
Cocktail party basics
- One case of wine equals 60 to 72 five-ounce glasses.
- Buy one pound of ice per person.
- One 750mL bottle of wine equals 4 to 6 glasses.
- All alcoholic beverages are best ice cold. Chill the glasses if possible and serve immediately after preparing.
- When alcoholic beverages are on the menu, always have mineral or soda water on hand as well.
- The essential glasses for a basic bar include martini, 10-ounce wine and rocks or old-fashioned glasses
Add a little color
Try this special, wintery drink to quickly add a touch of style to any December fête.
Celebrating with champagne
For many, the question of when to serve champagne is really a question of when not to serve it. Champagne does seem to go with everything—from brunch to dessert and everything in between.
With only a few exceptions, experts largely agree on this point. Still, champagne service traditionally comes at the very beginning of an event, as guests arrive and coats are checked. People often take their glass of champagne to the table for a toast to begin their meal as well.
If you want to experiment with food matches, mild flavors are best—white fish, shrimp, poached chicken, cream sauces, simple salads and lightly-fried dishes work well with champagnes—while more richly seasoned dishes and spicy foods tend to overwhelm the delicate flavors of the wine and even make it taste a bit bitter. As for desserts, champagne works best with simple, light selections, like biscotti or fruit tarts, while very rich or sweet desserts will definitely make your bubbles go bitter.