Party Planning Guide
Always Be Celebrating. That’s our philosophy at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, and we want to make sure you have everything you’ll need for your next celebration. Whether it’s a dinner party for eight or a football feast for 40, we’ve designed this guide to help you successfully plan your next gathering.
Your Guide to Cocktail Glasses
Vino, Vidi, Vici
Wedding Wines and Spirits
Pop the Cork Like a Pro
The Perfect Pour
A crowd of any size is going to be comprised of a number of different palates. Stock your bar with at least one bottle of each of the following spirits, and you’ll be sure to please the majority of attendees. VODKA Smooth, unflavored vodka is used in screwdrivers, bay breezes, martinis and vodka tonics; flavored vodka adds a little zing to your cocktails—think cilantro vodka for your bloody Mary or cookie dough vodka in cream soda. Deep Run Small Batch Vodka • Reyka Vodka RUM Always a crowd-pleaser, rum can be mixed in daiquiris, mojitos, sodas and other mixers. George Bowman Small Batch Dark Caribbean Rum Cayman Reef Small Batch White Rum
GIN For your guests with a particular palate, gin offers its juniper flavor to martinis and gin & tonics. Hendrick's Gin • Boodles Gin
TEQUILA Tequila is a must for two occasions: when tacos are involved and when they’re not. For tequila sunrises, margaritas and palomas. Los Rijos Silver Tequila • Tierra Fertil Anejo 100% Agave Tequila
BOURBON Bourbon & Coke, mint juleps, straight up and on the rocks—drinkers of bourbon whiskey are loyalists. Cooper's Mark Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey W.L. Weller Special Reserve Bourbon
MASTER THE MIXERS
Mixers are necessary for cocktails—here is a list of the most commonly used. With these on hand, you’ll be able to mix up almost any request. FRUIT JUICES: cranberry, pineapple, orange, lime SOFT DRINKS: cola, tonic water LIQUEURS: triple sec, blue curaçao
SIMPLE SYRUP GRENADINE VERMOUTH: dry and sweet BITTERS
TOP IT OFF
A garnish is the cherry on top of your cocktail—literally! Keep these around your bar for quick decoration. Besides, they can serve double duty—zest a lemon or muddle those mint leaves! Limes
And don’t forget the ice! You’ll need at least one pound of ice per person per hour. Be sure to stock up in advance!
The drink determines the glass, not the bartender. Every traditional cocktail is served in its corresponding glass. Margaritas are served in their festive glasses and martinis should never be poured in a highball. While each cocktail calls for a certain glass, many glasses can be used for several different drinks. Thatâ€™s why we recommend collecting a set of these three core glasses. THE MARTINI GLASS Stemmed, iconic. Serves martinis, cosmos, Manhattans, sidecars and any other drinks without ice. Why? The stem keeps the heat of your hand away from the cocktail, allowing it to keep its chill longer.
THE HIGHBALL GLASS While the Collins glass is a brother to this tall cocktail glass, the highball can serve as a standard cocktail cup for any libation needing to be served in a tall glass. Perfect for mojitos, gin & tonics, Long Island iced teas, and bloody Marys.
THE OLD-FASHIONED GLASS With aliases like the lowball and the rocks glass, this short glass is used to serve cocktails over ice, usually those with minimal ingredients. Serves rum & Cokes, whiskey sours, vodka tonics and, of course, old fashioneds.
SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED Five steps to the perfect shaken cocktail
STEP ONE: Choose a two-piece cocktail shaker. Generally one piece is a standard glass while the other piece is a large, metal tumbler. Gather your ingredients. STEP TWO: Measure and pour your ingredients into the glass. Add ice. STEP THREE: Pour everything from the glass into the metal tumbler. Secure the two pieces together by creating one smooth seam on one side. The glass should be at an angle against the metal tumbler. Lightly tap the top to tighten the closure. You can make sure the seal is tight by lifting the shaker by the top glass portionâ€”if the shaker remains intact, youâ€™re good to go!
STEP FOUR: Hold the shaker with your palm close to the seal and your index finger on the top, glass portion. Place your other hand on the bottom half of the shaker. Hold the shaker over your shoulder and shake for 15 seconds. STEP FIVE: With the shaker on a solid surface, break the seal by using the heel of your hand to hit the spot where the pieces overlap, creating a flat space. Strain your cocktail into your glass and garnish.
CLASSIC MARTINI • 3½ oz Gin • Splash dry vermouth Fill shaker with ice, add ingredients. Shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with green olives.
GIMLET • 2 oz Gin • ½ oz Lime juice Pour the gin and lime juice into a martini glass with ice. Stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wheel.
GIN & TONIC • 2 oz Gin • Tonic water • Splash lime juice Pour ingredients into a highball glass with ice cubes. Stir well and garnish with a lime wedge.
HARVEY WALLBANGER • 1½ oz Vodka • 1 oz Orange juice • Galliano Fill glass with ice. Add vodka and fill with orange juice. Top with Galliano. Garnish with orange slice.
LONG ISLAND ICED TEA • ½ oz Vodka • ½ oz Gin • ½ oz Light rum • ½ oz Silver tequila • ½ oz Triple sec • Coca-Cola ill highball glass with ice. Pour all ingredients except the soda. Top F with soda and garnish with a lemon wedge.
MARGARITA • 1½ oz Gold tequila • ½ oz Grand Marnier or triple sec • Splash lime juice • 3 oz Sweet and sour mix ill mixing glass with ice. Add all ingredients. Shake. Rub rim of marF garita glass with lime and dip into kosher salt. Pour contents (with ice) into the salted glass. Garnish with a lime slice. MINT JULEP • ½ oz Bourbon • ½ tbsp Simple syrup • 8 Medium mint leaves Muddle mint leaves and simple syrup in a glass. Add bourbon. Fill with crushed ice and stir well. Garnish with a mint sprig. NEGRONI • 1⅓ oz Gin • 1 oz Sweet vermouth • ⅔ oz Campari Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice. Add ingredients and stir well. Garnish with an orange wheel. RUM RUNNER • ½ oz Light rum • ½ oz Dark rum • ½ oz Banana liqueur • ½ oz Blackberry brandy • Splash grenadine • Splash sweet and sour mix Fill hurricane glass with ice. Add all ingredients, except dark rum, and shake. Float 1/2 oz rum on top.
SIDECAR • 3∕4 oz Cointreau • 3∕4 oz Lemon juice • 1½ oz Cognac Pour ingredients in shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. TOM COLLINS • 2 oz Gin • 1 oz Lemon juice • 1 tsp Superfine sugar • 3 oz Club soda In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, lemon juice and sugar. Shake well. Strain into a Collins glass almost filled with ice cubes. Add the club soda. Stir and garnish with a cherry and an orange slice. VODKA MARTINI • 1½ oz Vodka • 3∕4 oz Dry vermouth Shake the vodka and vermouth together with ice. Strain into martini glass and garnish with a single olive.
VINO, VIDI, VICI
There is elegance in wine that canâ€™t be matched by anything else; passion can be found in every bottle, as well as a wide range of flavors and depth. Itâ€™s ideal to have a selection of wines for your guests to choose from.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot
Fog Bank Pinot Noir
Muirwood Pinot Noir
PAIRING Red wines have the body and weight to stand up to heartier dishes like steaks, stews, burgers and barbecue. Enjoy red wines with most red meats and pastas with tomato sauces. For lighter red sauces and pizza, try Chianti or Burgundy.
Watchdog Rock Merlot
Southern Slope Cabernet Sauvignon
Ca’ Momi Cabernet Sauvignon
SERVING Red wines are best when served slightly cooler than room temperature: 62-65°F. Place your wine in the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
Graham Beck Game Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
V.No Sauvignon Blanc
PAIRING Seafood, chicken dishes, pastas with light sauces and grilled salmon call for the lightness of white wines. Generally, a good Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay will pair well with shellfish like shrimp and oysters.
Collalto Pinot Grigio
Hayes Ranch Moonlit Harvest Pinot Grigio
Cross Springs Chardonnay
Shed Horn Cellars Chardonnay
SERVING White wines are typically served cold—chill in the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving, and keep the bottles on ice, especially sparkling wines like Champagne.
THE OPEN BAR WEDDING WINES AND SPIRITS Your wedding is the one day where everything is planned to a T, and precisely how you like it. The flowers, the colors, the food are all chosen by a careful hand and a passionate heart. And your wine selection should be made with just as much care. Thatâ€™s where ABC comes in. We have a few suggestions to make your wedding memorable for not only the bride and groom, but for your guests as well. While planning your spirits selection, consider 1-2 signature cocktails to feature. This cuts down the cost of having a full bar, while adding a personal touch to your wedding bar. Be sure to choose cocktails that say something about the coupleâ€”choose a floral cocktail for a flower-filled wedding, a bourbon-based drink for a rugged groom, or a cocktail named for
Vigilance Cabernet Sauvignon
Milliken Creek Chardonnay
something important in your lives, like a Bahama Mama for a Caribbean-based honeymoon or a Manhattan for a post-wedding move to the Big City. Once you determine the spirits you want to offer, it’s time to select the wines. If you’re looking for a specific wine or one with meaning—some couples choose wines from the locale of their honeymoon or wines their parents had at their wedding—it’s best to get in touch with one of ABC’s wine consultants. They can help you with smaller details and specific wine choices.
If you don’t have a preference, look for popular wines; we recommend a combination of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon for the occasion. If you know there are sweet wine-lovers and lighter red-drinkers, throw a Pinot Noir and a Moscato into the mix. You’ll be sure to please every palate and get by on a modest budget.
THE TOAST The pinnacle of every wedding reception is the toast. Because a bottle of Champagne starts around $30, consider selecting a sparkling wine like Prosecco or Asti Spumante if you’re on a budget. Wine consultant Dan Eddy (Gainesville) suggests Hi! Prosecco, a dry but supple sparkler, or Veuve Ambal Brut, a creamy, elegant French sparkling wine. But keep this piece of information on hand when you’re picking up your chosen bubbly: due to the shape and size of typical Champagne glasses, less wine is needed to fill each glass up. You should be able to get 72 servings of sparkling wine to a case rather than usual 60.
THE WINE GLASSES
For each wine there is an ideal glass, much like cocktails. However, unlike cocktails, wine glasses cover a wider range. There are three main wine glasses you should have on hand when serving your guests: THE RED WINE GLASS Stemmed and bowl-like, this glass allows the bouquet of the wine to collect within the glass. Serve Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir in this glass.
THE WHITE WINE GLASS This glass is designed to showcase the color and floral, sometimes fruity, nose of the wine. Serve Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay in this glass.
THE CHAMPAGNE FLUTE The Champagne flute is made to encourage a steady stream of bubbles in your glass. The shape allows for less wine than that of the white wine or red wine glasses.
POP THE CORK LIKE A PRO A quick guide to opening a bottle of wine like a sommelier
STEP ONE: Acquire a corkscrew—we recommend a two-step waiter’s corkscrew. Why? This wine key has a knife to cut the foil around the neck of the bottle as well as a hinged lever with two levels to help seamlessly pull the cork out of the bottle. STEP TWO: Use the blade to cut the foil below the lip of the bottle. Remove the foil to expose the cork. Be sure to keep the label facing your guest at all times. STEP THREE: Insert the screw into the top of the cork—you want the screw to be in the middle of the cork. The best way to do
this is to place the tip of the screw slightly to the side of the middle of the cork. STEP FOUR: Once the screw is fully inserted into the cork, place the first lip of the lever on the mouth of the bottle and use the leverage to work the screw upwards. When you’ve run out of room, place the second level of the lever on the lip of the bottle and work the cork entirely out of the bottle. Try to avoid the popping sound of the cork if possible. STEP FIVE: Pour the wine into the glass and enjoy!
At every backyard barbecue or sports-themed bash, the most popular beverage of choice is beer. That said, the weather often dictates what type of brew you’re serving—will it be summer lagers or winter stouts? Here’s a quick rule of thumb: The warmer the weather, the lighter the beer. Below is a list of the most popular beer styles—we suggest the top of the list for summer weather and the bottom of the list for cooler seasons.
PILSNER The style is light and clear in color (light straw to light gold). Smooth and crisp, with the spicy bitterness and floral flavor and aroma that comes through with prevalent hops. Some yeastiness. Excellent on their own or with lighter foods like beer-battered shrimp or seafood salads. WHEAT This is the refreshing, crisp, light-colored summer goddess of beer. With a hint of sweet fruit and a tinge of citrus and spice, wheat beer pairs well with almost anything. Enjoy it alone by the pool or with mahi-mahi and salads with citrus dressings.
BELGIAN Abbey ales are strong and rich in flavor and aroma. Top fermented, with fairly low IBUs and a smooth taste. Excellent food ale, perfect for the usual suspects: burgers with sharp cheddar, ribs, grilled anything. PALE ALE A flavorful, complex and well-balanced classic beer. Pale ales, originally brewed in England, pair well with barbeque, spicy dishes such as curry and grilled meats. They are brewed using warm fermentation and a good amount of pale malts, which gives pale ales their light “pale” coloring.
AMBER The perfect ale for foods hot off the grill: burgers, ribs, even fish. The caramelized malts and fruity compounds that are produced during this ale’s fermentation process make ambers very versatile food beers. Ambers generally are copper in color and best served in a mug or stein.
IPA First brewed in England and exported for the British troops in India during the 1700s, IPAs were made to withstand a long voyage. With a high hop content (hops are a natural preservative) and a higher alcohol percentage, this beer has a clean, bitter taste. IPAs go well with red meats and grilled foods. OKTOBERFEST Traditionally called Märzen, this copper-colored beer claims Germany as its origin. Oktoberfest is characterized by rich, toasted flavors, a mild hop profile and a medium body. Different brews can be paired with a variety of foods, but most Oktoberfests are a safe pairing with bratwurst and roasted meats. BARLEY WINE Robust, malty, very rich and considered one of the original “extreme beers,” barley wine is usually one of the stronger offerings at any given location. The round body of barley wine and its fruity complexity make it a great complement to fresh vanilla ice cream.
PORTER A dark, strong flavored beer. Originated in London in the early 18th century. Roasted barley may be used, as it gives a distinctive taste to the porter. Some brewers also age porter in barrels, adding to its character.
STOUT A dark, strong flavored beer usually with roasted flavors and coffee notes. Originally called “stout porter,” stout is a strong style of porter.
Glassware is often chosen to enhance a beer’s flavor, aroma and appearance. But which glass goes with which beer? Remembering the answer can be a difficult task, and one we’ve made irrelevant with this handy guide to beer glassware.
THE PILSNER GLASS Typically tapered, a pilsner glass is made to retain the head while showcasing the color and carbonation of the beer. Use this glass for lagers, pilsners, bocks, doppelbocks, schwarzbiers and witbiers.
THE MUG A mug generally has thick glass and a handle. It’s a very traditional glass used for one reason: it holds a lot of beer. You should use this glass for IPAs, pale ales, stouts, porters and smoked beer.
THE PINT The most common beer glass out there, a pint glass can come in one of two sizes: 16-ounce or 20-ounce. Often there is a bulge grip just above the middle of the glass, and the wide mouth makes for ease of drinking, as well as easy storing. You can use this glass for any beer.
THE CHALICE A beer glass with a carefully crafted stem. A chalice is made with a wide mouth for head retention; many are etched in the bottom of the glass to create a steady stream of bubbles. This glass is meant for Belgian beers, especially heavy ales.
THE TULIP A stemmed beer glass shaped like a tulip; the lip helps to maintain the foam in beers with bigger heads. This glass is also good for showcasing the aroma of the beer. Use to serve American imperial IPAs, Belgian beers and fruit beers.
THE SNIFTER Often used for Cognac, this glass is great when you have a strongly aromatic brew. The wide base allows the volatiles of the beer to be captured and concentrated for a fuller nose. Serve dark and pale ales and Russian imperial stouts in a snifter.
THE PERFECT POUR Three steps to the ideal beer
STEP ONE: Be sure your glass is clean— a dirty glass could inhibit head formation and lessen the aromatics and flavors of your beer. STEP TWO: Open your beer and tilt the glass at a 45° angle. Pour the beer into the glass, hitting it at the middle of the slope.
STEP THREE: Halfway through the pour, tilt the glass to its upright position and finish pouring the beer straight down the middle. This should create a respectable foam head on the beer, releasing the beer’s aromatics.
CALCUL ATED COCKTAILS
Now that you know the basics of spirits, wine and beer, it’s time to figure out how much you need for your celebration. Use our quick calculating guide for nearly perfect estimates of how many bottles and brews you should have available when your party starts. Generally speaking, wine and beer are the most popular drink choices at any given party. You should plan for wine to be the choice of 50% of your guests, while beer and spirits will most likely account for 35% and 15%, respectively. Adjustments can be made depending on the crowd, or if you do not plan on serving cocktails. For every 750mL bottle of wine, there are approximately five glasses; every 750mL bottle of liquor should make 16 cocktails if each cocktail requires 1.5 oz of alcohol. Again, adjustments can be made according to the cocktails you plan to offer. Figure 1-2 drinks per guest per hour: a 1-hour party would require two drinks per person, for a 2-hour party, estimate three drinks per person, a 3-hour party would call for four drinks per person, and so on. Once you have the hard numbers, plug them in and place your order!
WINE NUMBER OF DRINKS BASED ON LENGTH OF PARTY
NUMBER OF GUESTS
750ML BOTTLES NEEDED
X 0.5 ÷ 5 =
BEER NUMBER OF DRINKS BASED ON LENGTH OF PARTY
NUMBER OF GUESTS
BOTTLES OR 12 OZ SERVINGS NEEDED
X 0.35 =
SPIRITS NUMBER OF DRINKS BASED ON LENGTH OF PARTY
NUMBER OF GUESTS
750ML BOTTLES NEEDED
0.15 ÷ 16=
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