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Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Posted by bbstx (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 5, 12 at 10:44

I am hosting some visitors from China for dinner Saturday evening. I would like to have a "full bar" available for before dinner cocktails. I know my American guests will probably only drink wine.

A full bar at home* to me means, bourbon, scotch, vodka, and gin, maybe tequila and rum - possibly vermouth, in case anyone asked for a martini. For mixers, I would have Coke, Sprite, tonic, and soda. And garnishes would be lemons, limes, and olives. We will also have red and white wine.

Anything else I should include? Beer? (I'm not a beer drinker, so I often forget about it.)

We are in the south, I could offer mint juleps, although I am not fond of them, but it may be a treat for our foreign guests. What do you think?

*This isn't a cocktail lounge. Forget the Harvey Wallbangers, etc.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Sounds to me like you have nailed it.....but if you are adding vermouth include both sweet and dry and also a jar of cherries...for someone who might want a Manhattan or an old fashioned. And I always have a Canadian blend and sometimes skip any straight bourbon. Frankly I have had the same bottle of Jim Beam for years!! I only know one person who drinks it...but it goes into sauces!
Will you have a bartender?

When I have a party I always have a full bar and have several times had an Oops Moment. Once when hosting a pre-wedding party for couples, back before most people in their 20's drank pink wine, I ran out of vodka, so having learned that lesson, the next time hosting a big Christmas party, I had lots of vodka....and ran out of white wine.....and the vodka bottle was not even opened!!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

bbstx - I was getting ready to ask a similar question, so your timing is perfect! You might want to consider having diet soda as well, as some folks like to cut cocktail calories that way.

I'm having an afternoon party at a BYOB restaurant. I think that folks will drink more wine/beer at lunch, but I want to make sure I have basic cocktail ingredients for martinis, margaritas, etc.

Sue


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Thanks, Lindac. I am not having a bartender, but I am having a private chef prepare dinner, so it won't be a burden for me and DH to tend bar. It is a very small seated dinner party, so I'm thinking one drink, two at most, each before dinner.

I had totally forgotten about Canadian. I have only one friend who drinks it. I may have a bottle buried in the liquor cabinet. However, in the deep south, bourbon is a must!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

What a host you are! Maybe a few juices? Orange and cranberry would be nice. I love my cocktails to include either peach schnapps or triple sec.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Chinese are not much into drinking alcohol. They will drink for ceremonial reasons. As a matter of fact restaurants catering to the Chinese normally do not have bars.

I have been to plenty of big weddings and birthday banquets, after the sipping of the champagne to toast the host, the bride and groom, no alcohol was served for the entire meal.

dcarch


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I agree--juices. Pineapple, orange, and cranberry.

We don't drink juleps in the South. You might see a mojito or two made with that mint.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I also agree that you could use some fruit juices, like orange or cranberry. Of course, my mother has always been a consumer of "screwdrivers", which is vodka and orange juice. Now, however, she's become a wino.....

there are so many alcohols now that you couldn't possibly stock enough for everyone to have their "favorite", so I think you've got it well covered.

Oh, and have a good time!

Annie


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

How about a nice after dinner drink I love Amaretto and homemade is the best.
Amaretto
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup very hot water
Combine and stir till dissolved then add
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cup 80 proof vodka or higher
1Tablespoon Almond extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Store in sealed container


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I disagree with fruit juices!

Nothing will kill your palate for dinner faster than one of those sugary sweet concoctions. Keep it simple and not too sweet before dinner. I think your plan is great as is.

Alexa


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Well, you're much better at drinking than I am, Alexa, but cut out the fruit juices and I wouldn't drink anything at all. I'm only going by my own taste, not everyone likes straight booze and if I'm going to drink anything alcoholic, it had better be sweet or mixed with LOTS of fruit juice. And, although it may be a regional difference, when we owned the bar about 30% of our business was fruit juice based drinks like screwdrivers, salty dogs, fuzzy navels, tequila sunrise, Scarlett O'Hara, sloe screw. And at Amanda's wedding reception, we made three separate runs to the grocery store for orange juice to go with the vodka. Of course, that was a pig roast, so anything could happen. It probably did. ;-)

Nothing will kill my palate for dinner faster than dry red wine or alcohol that I can't disguise, LOL. In fact, I won't drink liquor or wine with food at all, I think it kills the taste of a good dinner.

So much for my next career pairing wine with food. (grin)

Annie


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

A good Cosmopolitan never killed my palate!! Have cranberry and orange juice on hand.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

From what I hear from people who travel for business in China, the largest problem is being polite and still manage to walk when dinner is done. Many "empty your glass" toasts, and refilling and toasting again. Drinks were not mixed with a mixer of fruit juice but rather straight alcohol, without ice.
I don't know how "Americanized" your guests are, nor the purpose of the visit, but I wouldn't worry about having fruit juice as a mixer.
I would guess they will enjoy having an "American" sort of experience.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Is it plausible/appropriate to ask what they drink? If you wouldn't feel comfortable asking them, could you ask whomever put you in touch? If not, unless you keep a full bar in the house anyway, I would be inclined to keep it simple. Maybe two or three wines, rum and Coke or mojitos, vodka and juice or lemonade (so much the better if you serve just one, fresh squeezed option). Any decent whiskey, gin or tequila is going to cost you an arm and a leg, and if the guests don't drink and no one in the house likes them, it seems like a waste. I think it's better to have a couple good quality, versatile spirits rather than wasting hundreds of dollars or having a bunch of mediocre liquors just to have the appearance of a full bar.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

1/3 of the Asains are alergic to alcohol.

Google "Asian Flush".

For status, they will buy and sip expensive brandy/cognac. $500 to $1,000 or more a bottle.

dcarch


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Whoa! I think I'll have to pass on the brandy, there, darch. In fact, I'm not planning any after dinner alcohol. Just coffee and/or tea.

We keep a fairly well stocked liquor cabinet with the standards I've listed (scotch, bourbon, gin, vodka, tequila, and rum). So, I'm set there.

I had never thought of fruit juices. I think I will have OJ, tomato juice, and grapefruit juice, not so much as mixers but to offer in lieu of alcohol. And if I get around to it, I may mix up a pitcher of fresh lemonade too.

Rob333, I'm in the South, the Deep South. I agree that we do not drink mint juleps except during the Kentucky Derby. Nevertheless, I thought I would be prepared to offer it to my guests simply because it may be something they have heard of and are curious about. I had a sip of one this year during the Run for the Roses, but it is not a favorite of mine.

I had not thought of champagne, but I may break out a bottle or two just for initial toasts.

Thanks all, for the enjoyable reading and thoughtful comments.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I always think it's fun to entertain someone from another culture. I try to do something very different from what they are accustomed.
I remember being invited to a a dinner party a friend gave for some visiting French chefs who were conducting a series of classes at a culinary arts school.
She served wedge salad with Maytag Blue dressing, Iowa pork chops, grilled, baked potatoes with sour cream, corn on the cob, California wines and of course....strawberry short cake!
They loved it, even though they thought the chops needed a "sauce"....and were not sure how to eat the corn!
Let us know how your party went!
Linda C


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

That's okay Annie, I will happily drink your share of red wine and martinis. And though I completely respect your knowledge of owning a "bar", I'm not sure I would be serving "...screwdrivers, salty dogs, fuzzy navels, tequila sunrise, Scarlett O'Hara, sloe screw...." at a dinner party in my home. It's one thing to be going out with the intent of getting sloppy drink on sweet stuff and having the killer hangover in the morning, it is another to be inviting someone to dinner.

And whistle - a cosmo should only have the faintest tinge of pink - there really should not be enough cranberry to taste it. At least that is how the original recipe read 15+ years ago. Oh - and no orange juice, Cointreau.

Alexa


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Um....Alexa. Neither I nor any of my friends go out or have gone out with the "intent of getting sloppy drunk" on anything. We usually went out, had one or two drinks of something we enjoyed and then went home. No hangovers and no sloppy drunks. That was when we were in our 20s. Now we go out and have coffee and skip the booze altogether, other than an occasional drink with a meal. And that drink is as likely to be a strawberry daquiri or screwdriver as a martini.

As for when we owned the bar, Michigan has laws against serving visibly drunk people and the liquor liability insurance cost $18,000 per year a long time ago, so we didn't encourage our customers to get "sloppy drunk" either, the legal liability was too great that they might get in an accident on the way home and become one of those drunk driving statistics. We were a small neighborhood place where a person was far more likely to bring their kids in for supper than to drink until they were drunk. Well, except Saturday night, when we had live music, and during deer season when all the deer hunters came from out of town and tried to pick up the local girls.

I'm sure it's completely different here than it is where you live, but people I know usually have a drink or two that they like and they drink that when it's available because they like it, whether it's at a dinner party, having a drink with friends or sitting around watching whatever reality crap is currently on television.

As for killing the palate, how is having sangria with dinner or mimosas with brunch different than something with fruit juice at dinner?

Annie


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Our menu is pretty classically American with a southern note here and there.

The appetizer, which will be passed, will be grilled wild American shrimp on skewers.

The salad course: heirloom tomatoes and watermelon with basil from my herb garden. I've never had this combination, but the chef says it is very good.

For the main course, the chef initially suggested braised pork belly in keeping with my request for a southern menu. DH nixed it. So we are having beef tenderloin with a port wine reduction sauce; cheese grits; and grilled asparagus.

Dessert is a summer trifle of lemon poundcake, fresh local berries and creme anglais.

I'm looking forward to the evening.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

bbstx, it sounds delicious, no matter what the guests drink before, during or after.

I've never had that tomato and watermelon salad either but I know people who love it and tomatoes are a fruit...

Too bad about the pork belly, though. (grin)

Annie


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

The pork belly was to have been braised in Kentucky bourbon. (sigh) Next time.....


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Well, that would have been regional AND something that probably isn't widely available in China!

Yes, next time. I'm sure they're going to love your dinner and will look forward to another invitation.

Annie


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Pork belly is a very favorite cut of pork meat for the Chinese.

dcarch


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

darch, after DH nixed the pork belly I found out about it being favored in China. If I'd called it something other than "pork belly," DH would probably have been delighted. Note to self.....


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Ah, but dcarch, do they braise it in Kentucky bourbon?

Annie


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I'm a lightweight when it comes to the bar, but I can testify that watermelon with basil is delicious!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Your dinner sounds delicious. Just a small point - especially if you're writing the menu, it's creme anglaise (with an e!) :)


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

islay_corbel, thanks for the correction. It will not be written, nevertheless, I'm glad to know the correct spelling. When I was taking French in high school and college, I always stumbled when it came to understanding and remembering that nouns have gender.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

"---- If I'd called it something other than "pork belly," DH would probably have been delighted. Note to self....."

But they don't call it "pork belly"

They call it the "Five-Flower meat". I have to ask my friends why.

dcarch

Here is a link that might be useful: Pork belly


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Don't forget the tonic water for the gin & tonics. I have to remind myself to include tonic water when I set up a bar. I hate the stuff and prefer just plain old soda water or better yet Poland Springs flavored soda waters. LOL

Here's a couple reasonably priced sipping alcohols.
Tito's Vodka - Great artisan vodka from of all places Texas. High octane I think 93 proof but very smooth. Chill in the freezer. Serve garnish with a lemon twist.

Barrilitto 3 star Rum from Puerto Rico - This stuff is amazing. I don't usually like rum but this is a sipping rum in the cognac style. It has maple syrup undertones. Serve room temperature in snifters. Another small batch distillery. This is tough to find outside Puerto Rico but worth the effort.

Both are less than $30/bottle.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

"As for killing the palate, how is having sangria with dinner or mimosas with brunch different than something with fruit juice at dinner?"

It all depends on what is being served. Bloody Marys or Mimosas at brunch are wonderful. The menu for that time of day would be much different (at my house) than what I would normally serve for dinner. And Sangria is great with certain foods also - I serve it regularly with Tapas.

With the menu being served (beef tenderloin with a port wine reduction sauce; cheese grits; and grilled asparagus) I certainly would not be serving Mimosas or Sangria or any other fruit based cocktail, but that is me.

As far as "bars", there are very few in my area. Most of the local places are very nice restaurants that do serve alcohol (and may have a small lounge while you wait for a table), and I don't recall ever seeing anyone order any of the drinks you mentioned. As you said, regional preferences.

Alexa


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Tito's and Barrilito

Moosemac - both of those are great suggestions! Tito's is a great vodka and I stock it in my liquor cabinet (along with Ketel One for a particular friend) and Barrilito is excellent for sipping. I agree - I am not much of a rum fan (usually too sweet for me) but I love a little Barrilito to sip after dinner.

Alexa


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

M'mac, we always have Tito's in our bar. Learned about Tito's when we lived in TX. Sent DH out for some premium vodka for my sister who was on her way for a visit. He returned with Tito's, which at the time was about $10/fifth. I was aghast. Sis pronounced it very good and we've been buying it ever since.

Thanks for the rum recommendation. Rum always puzzles me, especially since it isn't something I drink, as a rule.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I don't know anyone who drinks "fruit drinks" before dinner. I do know people who go bar hopping of an occasional Friday night who order the "tini" drinks and the mud slides and the peachey, orangey stuff....but not as a cocktail before dinner.
Bloody Mary's go well before an egg dish for brunch....but the only think I think goes well after a mimosa or a screwdriver is a roll and coffee!
BBSTX....your menu sounds lovely and typical ( to me) southern American.

Now to go search out some Tito's Vodka....


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Bbstx, YUM! What time do we eat? :-D I think it's brilliant that you're relying on quality ingredients instead of having a super fussy preparation for each course. It sounds like you will actually be able to enjoy your guests instead of acting as short order cook/waitress all night. I'm sure they'll have a great time!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Everything sounds great to me but I am curious about Wild, American Shrimp.
What is that exactly? I don't know that much about shrimp locales. Gulf?


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

A great deal of the shrimp found in stores is farmed....and much of that from Thialand.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

My dad always shudders whenever I order a cocktail. "You should really learn to like wine- it's much more classy," he says, in a condescending tone... quite condescending tone...


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

jessica, I have been very pleased with working with the private chef. He has made great suggestions when I needed them, and he has been quite flexible about our likes and dislikes (of course, he would be - he's professional and trying to give us the best experience he can!).

The shrimp we are getting are coming from the Gulf and they are huge! 9 - 15 per pound. Gulf shrimping season just opened, so we are lucky to get shrimp that were swimming the day before.

ynnej, gee, I think Lauren Bacall drinking a martini is pretty classy too.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

(Bacall would look classy drinking a Slurpee....)


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Great Menu.

~Ann


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I totally skipped over the word chef. Even better! :-)


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

sushipup, ROFLOL. But that I could have her panache!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

It's important to drink the Martini straight up....and to smoke.

I just came home from the store with some wild USA shrimp!! I am soooo suggestable!...Think I'll mix me a Martini too!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I am sipping my Tito's martini (olives, thank you) up as I am posting.... it is FAB and sooooooo Mad Men. I almost feel like finding a girdle and lighting up a B&H to complete the moment!

And yes, the menu sounds amazing and a wonderful evening for all!

Alexa


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I'm having Bombay with a whisper of Martini and Rossi...no fruit....and on the rocks. No more ciggies for me....but my hair is hanging over one eye if that helps.
Sauteed the shrimp in garlic butter and ate it in my fingers.
Now to find out where that personal chef is hiding for the rest of dinner.....oh *snap*...I forgot to get the tenderloins out of the freezer!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I think you have all the suggestions you need for the bar. I'm sure your guests will be pleased with whatever choices they are presented with.

I think it is so fun that you are treating yourself to a personal chef for the evening!

Take photos and report back!

Cheers,
Teresa


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

the best laid plans of mice and men.....

Apparently I have no need for a full bar. DH went to dinner in a restaurant last night with our guests and some others. Even though a few in the group ordered wine, our Chinese visitors stuck to black tea both before and during the meal.

Now the panic is on to find Keurig K-cups of black tea in my tiny little town. I have green tea, but DH said our guests were specific about black tea.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

You can get good teas on ebay and Amazon, and have them shipped next-day.

Sounds like everything worked out fine.

dcarch


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

thanks, darch, but I would need it shipped "next hour." My guests arrive in less than 12 hours! I'll do the best I can, and if that doesn't work, they'll have to settle for green tea or orange pekoe tea or water.

In your experience and observation, do people from China take anything in their tea? Sugar? Lemon? milk?

I have to remember, I'm entertaining in my home. I am not a restaurant. I am not required to meet my guests every need, but rather to be attentive to their needs and meet those I can.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

If you go to Chinatown here in NYC and order coffee, you will be served coffee with cream and sugar already mixed, automatic.

If you ask for tea, you will get plain tea, no sugar or milk/cream given. No lemon.

They do like coffee.

dcarch


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

So when you go out to a restaurant, not to a bar to tie one on, what sort of mixed drink do you order? It seems mixed drinks are coming back, perhaps thanks to Mad Men. I enjoy wine, but also enjoy a cocktail from time to time. I like a Cosmo but it makes my head spin rather quickly.

I really love a Whiskey Sour, but I think I am dating myself by ordering that. I also adore a Fuzzy Navel but they are so sweet it's more like dessert. Plus, they go down so easily, I can drink one after another.

What is a not-silly, not out-of-date drink to order?


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

bbstx - IMO if you're serving a bunch of tea what you need is a tea kettle and some decent tea bags. Not your Keurig.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I don't think a whiskey sour is dated. Sometimes places have a specialty cocktail menu, which makes it easy. When I want something a little sweet, I sometimes order vodka and soda with a splash of grenadine and a cherry. I also like a dirty martini, but I have to order it with extra olive juice to avoid that head swimming problem. I really just think people should drink what they like. Most bartenders just want to be treated nicely. If you are friendly, they won't scoff at your drink order.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I very rarely order a mixed drink. I usually just have wine. But, if I do order a mixed drink, it is either a gin martini or a lemon drop. However, DH and I were on vacation last month, and for some reason unknown to me I had a hankering for a whiskey sour...and I don't even like bourbon. But I'll have to say, Ruth's Chris does a wonderful whiskey sour. I even had a second (the closest I come to "tying one on" because I've found them hard to untie the next day).

If it is lunch time, and I'm feeling extraordinarily festive, and I have absolutely nothing else to do all day, I may order a bloody mary.


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Classic and creative cocktails are huge in my area (NJ/NYC). But the only mixed drink I tend order is a margarita, and only if I'm in a restaurant that I know has a great bartender. DH orders either a dirty martini or Maker's Mark & ginger. Most of the time we drink wine, but it depends on what's available.

Sue


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

When out to eat at a restaurant with tablecloths, I order either a dry martini on the rocks Bombay gin...or The famous Grouse, on the rocks.
At a restaurant with formica tables and a "What kin I gitcha" waitress, I ask what kind of Scotch they have and either order Scotch rocks or a beer. Wine often gives me a stuffy nose and my very Caucasian version of the Asian flush. Some don't but some do and beer ir a "well drink" is safest>
If there is mariachi music playing and the waiter has a Spanish accent, I will order a Marguerita.
However I will order a martini in some no table cloth places....like Friday's and Outback Steak.

Frankly I am a relic of the Mad Men era.....and well remember M and M parties. Wondering how we could ever manage to get the kids to Sunday School the next morning....but we did!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Bbstx, I agree you don't need to meet all of your guests wants and I think you've gone out of your way to be a good hostess. I'd probably get some good bulk tea if you have that available and make a pot if that's what you think they will drink. Tea bags will do in a pinch, I just like bulk better, so I have that on hand usually.

Dedtired, I also think if you like a whiskey sour, that's what you should drink. I fail to see the purpose of drinking something you don't really care for because you're "supposed to", or because that's what other people think you should like or drink. Taste is subjective, not objective, as I've said before.

I don't think whiskey sours are dated either. Now a Harvey Wallbanger, that's something no one I know has ordered in a while although I still have a recipe for the cake by the same name. Haven't made the cake lately either...

People have their own likes and dislikes. I had an aunt who only drank Canadian Club and a friend who only drinks Gray Goose vodka with orange juice. At Ashley's Birthday BBQ last week there was a combination of wine, beer, and some flavored alcohols. Since Kevin is a police officer and a fire fighter, the entire fire department was there and everyone brought whatever they drink. The biggest hit was some lemonade mixed with pureed local fresh strawberries and vodka. With grilled chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob and Texas Sheet Cake. I'd have been sick eating cake with lemonade and vodka but they weren't. And, being a working night for everyone, no one got drunk.

Drink what you like. It doesn't have to be fashionable or proper or follow any rules, it just has to be what you like or else what is the purpose of drinking it at all?

Annie


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Did this one sometime ago.

dcarch


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Again I like to reiterate what BBSTX keeps saying...It's my home, I am not a resautrant...

Years back the theater group I belong to would have a big all cast and crew party at the end of every show. And because I have a "good party house"...meaning a big family room and good circulation around diningroom, kitchen, living room, den and family room, I was often volunteered. The way it worked was the hostess charged a fee for food, and paper products, bought the mixers and everyone brought their own alcoholic drink.
I would buy club soda, 7 up, Coke and a small amount of gingerale....but the requests were amazing..."Linda Do you have grape juice?" I only drink Sprite not 7 up...I'm a Pepsi drinker do you have some? Is there any orange juice?...etc.
SOOO.....when the next show was over and I was volunteered again, I said bring your own booze and mixer. And the next morning I had the strangest assortment of pop and juices anyone ever say.
So...if you have a professional full metal bore BAR, then all those mixers and stuff are appropriate, but at a party in your home....go with simple....if someone can't find something they like to drink form the basic kinds of liquor, beer and red and white wine.....why then there's the faucet.
I have many many times been to receptions of one sort or another in a hotel or a country club where there is a separate bar for that party in the room.....and they are not set up for anything but the basics....no margaritas, no old fashions no Long Island Iced Tea, no apple tinis, no choco tinis no cosmos etc....
And there is no reason why you need to feel that you have not provided for your guests if you don't provide such.
HOWEVER....if you are entertaining good friends and you know they like Rose's Lime in Gin or drink Jack Daniels and grape juice, it's nice to have what they like when you invite them over.
Linda C


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I do find our adult children (30s decade)like the mixed drinks that we drank in our college years or more likely, our parents drank. They have the cocktail shakers, etc. But then they did introduce me to the mojito, which I think is delightful.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I used to love gin with pink lemonade for a summer drink.
Also vodka and orange juice.

My drink of choice is a Caesar---the Canadian version of Bloody Mary. It's made with Clamato juice, worcestershire, shot of hot sauce, few grinds of black pepper and vodka. A stalk of celery and you're good to go.


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"Caesar---the Canadian version of Bloody Mary. It's made with Clamato juice, worcestershire, shot of hot sauce, few grinds of black pepper and vodka. A stalk of celery and you're good to go."

That just about does it for my dinner----that sounds wonderful, like a whole meal!

We have martinis on most Friday nights at home, and one friend who often comes for dinner likes her rum and diet coke, but most other people are beer and wine fans. I'd rather ask for wine when I am someone's guest. That said, on the very rare occasions when we go out to dinner where we don't have to drive afterwards, Jim gets a gin martini on the rocks, and I've recently been enjoying Manhattans.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Why isn't the drink selection for a dinner at home treated in the same way as the food selection? I don't see a reason for offering a full bar any more than I see a need to offer a full restaurant style menu of food choices.

Jim


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Hmm....interesting, but it isn't.
I serve a meal and say Coffee? De-caf? Tea? Hot or cold? You want sugar? Lemon? Cream?
But I slap a plate with chicken salad, an arrangement of fruit and a roll down without so much as a thought.
And that doesn't even consider the choices before the meal! For my ladies Lunch group I offer red wine, white wine, bloody Marys.....and one person always asks....do you have any Scotch! LOL!
No idea why we offer so many drink sources.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Here's the difference: Picture yourself going out to dinner for a week straight. What are the chances you'll order the same exact meal more than once, let alone every single night? Probably slim to none. How about ordering the same drink several times? (Alcohol, or not.) Probably pretty good. I think we just don't stray much from what we like to drink. "Drinkers" probably more so.

Meal choices take time, effort, planning, and leftovers - cooked or uncooked - can be wasted food. Drink choices simply involve having a few options available in the liquor cabinet. For the most part if they're not used, they won't go bad. Save them for your next party.

I'd not expect a host to have every option imaginable, but a couple options would be nice. I'd expect to go to someone's house for a dinner party and be offered Boeuf Bourguignon as the only dinner choice. Gin and tonic the only choice to drink? That'd be strange.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

But when I visit someone's home, I literally have no expectations of having choices except an alternative of water. If they even offer alcoholic drinks. Like I have no expectations of menu choices.

And even a "good" host is not judged entirely on how she caters to a guest's every whim, but rather in just making the guest feel comfortable.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

AAH....but what does "make a guest feel comfortable" mean?
To me it means catering to their every desire without it seeming to be any trouble at all.
I know the homes where I feel comfortable...it's not the places where I am waited on hand and foot....not the place where the table is wiped every time I raise my glass to my lips, not the place where there is no evidence of food prep when you go into the kitchen...even with informal settings....but it IS the place where they make an effort to know what would make ME comfortable. Whether it's having my choice of drink or just shrugging and saying "I'm out of Scotch....is there something else you would like"? And pointing the way to the bar.
I have had a recent self revelation about hosts who are not being "hosts" but simply want company for the evening or to fulfill an obligation.

Sorry....now I am getting deep....


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I don't have expectations either. I have a hip flask.

(LOL, just kidding.)

Seriously though, it's neither expensive nor inconvient to offer up a couple options. To make the guest feel comfortable.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Or you could be the host that caters to every whim of every guest, thereby stressing yourself out and making all of your guests feel uncomfortable. My mom always wonders why our family would rather have events at my uncle's, when she works so hard to please everybody. But she's running around like a chicken with her head cut off, sweating, yelling at guests who are helping her in the kitchen. It's not pleasant. I think the best way to make people feel comfortable is to be comfortable yourself and just have a good time. A hip flask can help with that, too.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

The dinner party with our Chinese guests could not have gone better. They were delightful guests and were very pleased to have been invited into an American home.

The delegation leader said that his wife has been to America many times, but had never been invited into a home. This was his first visit and he got to see how we live. I think there will be some crowing when he returns home!

All of my fretting about what to serve to drink was a tempest in a teapot...but I was prepared. When they arrived, 2 asked for orange juice and the 3rd wanted tea...green tea, not black. Fortunately, I keep green tea on hand!

At dinner, we offered red wine or tea, and they chose wine! Water was on the table when we sat down. After dinner, most everyone had a demitasse of coffee.

The private chef was the best decision I've made in ages! I was able to enjoy my guests and give them my full attention without having to worry about meal preparation.

The watermelon and tomato salad was the biggest surprise. I thought I would probably not really care for it. It was out of this world. He managed to source some heirloom tomatoes...some were yellow, some were red, and some were yellow meat with red skin! I am now officially in love with watermelon tomato salad. I hope he will share his dressing recipe!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Bbstx, it does sound like a totally delightful party and I had to smile when you talked about serving tea and then mentioned a "tempest in a teapot". (grin)

I've also seen that watermelon/tomato salad and been a bit suspect. Now I'll have to try it. I also hope your chef shares his dressing recipe.

Annie


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Ta Dah....not much better feeling that that your guests enjoyed themselves!
Glad all went well....and waiting for that salad recipe.
Linda C


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

"Seriously though, it's neither expensive nor inconvient to offer up a couple options."

I think we agree -- depending on what you mean by "a couple". If four or five liquors, a few mixers and a couple of garnishes are offered, anyone should be able to find something to their liking, if not precisely what they normally drink. I don't think of that as a full bar, but ample for the home.

"They were delightful guests and were very pleased to have been invited into an American home."

If you have ever travelled abroad and been invited into a home there, you will understand how special that dinner was for them. Just being in your home, whatever the menu, was a highlight of their trip.

"I am now officially in love with watermelon tomato salad."

Now you have me intrigued. I can't imagine that combination. I need to try it.

Jim


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I'm so glad it turned out fabulous!
Now your Chinese guests will think the way Americans live is they have private chefs :-)


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Bumblebeez, I had the same thought and had to laugh.

Jim, there are lots of tomato/watermelon salad recipes on the internet. Most seem to include feta or chevre. A few have red onion. And I saw one with cucumbers. But this salad was very simple...heirloom tomatoes, watermelon chunks, and a simple dressing. I saw one dressing recipe that was oil and vinegar and had honey in it. I did not see the chef mix the salad dressing, so I'm clueless, but it struck me as slightly sweet, but that may have been the watermelon juice mingling with the dressing.

And you are right about being invited into a home when you are traveling in a foreign country. When DH and I visited Russia, we were invited to the home of an acquaintance for champagne and cake. It is an experience that I cherish. It gave me insight that I would never have otherwise.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

All is Revealed!!! The secret dressing on the tomato watermelon salad is aged balsamic and olive oil (1:3). If the balsamic is less than 15 years old, add a pinch of sweetness (honey, splenda, sugar, agave nectar, whatever makes you happy).

I think the key to this salad is fully ripened heirloom tomatoes and ripe watermelon. I read somewhere in the last couple of days, that if you cut into a watermelon and it isn't sweet, sprinkle it with a tad bit of gin and let it set a couple of hours. Supposedly, the gin adds no flavor, just sweetness. I haven't tried it, but I'm keeping it in my arsenal. (My preferred alternative would be to mix the gin with tonic and pitch the watermelon!)


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

"All of my fretting about what to serve to drink was a tempest in a teapot...but I was prepared. When they arrived, 2 asked for orange juice and the 3rd wanted tea...green tea, not black."

OMG!! Two had the nerve to ask for orange juice?????? Clearly they do not read this forum! LOL

Glad to hear all went well. And again - how fun that you were able to treat yourself to the personal chef and enjoy your guests.

Teresa


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Gaah....aged balsamic and good oil....how simple!
Was it just watermelon and tomatoes? No onion?

Now I have had watermelon spiked with gin....and with vodka and even with everclear....but gin to make it sweeter?
And to change the subject just a bit...I was at a "meet the artist" event for the DMMO's upcoming season and one of the sopranos said that the costumes are never cleaned during a run....but to "freshen them" they spray with a mix of vodka and water...
Who knew? LOL!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Lindac, that's it: watermelon, heirloom tomatoes and a simple oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. And a sprig of basil for garnish.

We had leftovers tonight. Good, but certainly not as good as fresh. The takeaway: do not prepare this dish way ahead.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Ynnej, I had to laugh. I so agree. I would almost rather have a can of lukewarm pbr shoved in my hand than have someone get worked up and give me 10 options. Deciding is exhausting, and trying to relax in the presence of a manic episode is worse!

It sounds like the dinner was a wonderful success. Congratulations!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I think we agree -- depending on what you mean by "a couple". If four or five liquors, a few mixers and a couple of garnishes are offered, anyone should be able to find something to their liking, if not precisely what they normally drink. I don't think of that as a full bar, but ample for the home.

Jim, we agree 100%.

bbstx - Congratulations on pulling that off so well! Count me as another who has got to try tomato and watermelon together.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Linda ``.but to "freshen them" they spray with a mix of vodka and water... who knew`

I`ve seen that exact thing recommended as a room freshener. I like the premise, but not the cost.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

In my neck of the woods, Vodka costs about $15 for 1.75 liters...lots cheaper than Glade!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I like the premise, but not the opportunity cost. ;-)


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

I had to look up vodka as room freshener. It's a modest amount of vodka. From ehow.com:

Things You'll Need

Spray bottle
1 teaspoon essential oil
1/4 cup unflavored vodka
3 1/2 cups filtered water

Instructions

1
Clean out a spray bottle with hot water. Make sure it's absolutely clean, or else the residue of the previous contents may affect the scent of the room spray. One effective method to get rid of a scent in a previously used bottle is to allow some vinegar mixed with water to sit in the bottle overnight. Use one part vinegar to one part water.

2
In a small bowl, mix the essential oil and the vodka using a wire whisk or fork. The vodka acts as an emulsifier so that the water and oil blend together.

3
Pour the oil and vodka mixture into your spray bottle. Add the water to the mixture and shake vigorously. Now you're ready to freshen your room. Remember to shake the mixture each time you use the spray.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Well....that's a different kind of "recipe"....thanks!


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Hmmmmmm . . . think I'll try my watermelon and tomato
along side my wedge of iceburg lettuce.
(running now to hide under my bed).


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Our table for our guests last Saturday. I have a friend who is a tabletop designer who helped me. Unfortunately, I took the pictures before I finished setting the table...no spoons and no wine glasses.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

bbstx, that's lovely. The flowers are peonies, roses and iris? The colors are beautiful and the napkins match the iris almost perfectly.

Annie


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Annie1992, the flowers are peonies, roses, and orchids. There are also green hydrangeas and dracena leaves.

The small stack of brown baskets at the upper right of the centerpiece were used for cool towels before dinner was served. DH brought them to me when he went to China several years ago. I had not used them before, but I just may start doing so! We had our drinks on the patio, so it was refreshing to have a cool towel for our hands when we sat down to dinner.


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Lovely setting!!
And I love that toile!
I have a cupboard of Mason's Pink Vista......perhaps I need those chairs!!

Photobucket


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Lindac, How pretty! I'll bet you set a lovely table with that. Is it transferware?


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RE: Suggestions for 'a full bar'

Now I see the hydrangea in the middle, very pretty contrast.

The baskets for cool towels is an interesting idea. Used to freshen up fingers before dinner?

Wow, those chairs DO match LindaC's dishes!

Annie


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