When we decide to host a party, we focus a lot on the food. That’s understandable, since we don’t want people showing up to our party hungry and leaving unsatisfied.
We need to also pay attention to another critical part of party-planning, though: what are people washing down the food with? The beverage selection is just as vital to making sure people have a good time, even if the drinks don’t get as much attention while we’re busy looking up recipes for “quick and easy appetizers” online.
Consider the theme
Does your party have a theme? As in, are you getting people together to watch a game of football on TV, or is it someone’s birthday? Or maybe you’re just getting people together because it’s a Friday in January, and there’s not much else to do this time of year. All of those are perfectly good reasons to host social gatherings, but they’ll each require different things in terms of beverages. The alcohol list will probably be a bit more extensive for a birthday party, especially if it’s a milestone party where the person is turning 30, 40, or 50.
If it’s a sports party, then that calls for a lot of beer. Nothing says football quite like beer; they’re two things that go together like peanut butter and jelly. If the party has no theme, then you have more leeway on drinks. If you’re the only one buying them, price is going to be a big factor. Are you in Central New Jersey? Then head down to the liquor store in Lawrenceville and asked an employee to help you pick out drinks for a party that stay below a certain price point. Or you can provide a modest selection of beer and wine on your own and ask people to bring any spirits or mixers. As long as you’re clear about your capabilities, party guests should have no problem chipping in with some of their own alcohol supply.
It’s also a good idea to think about what sort of activities will be happening at the party. If the only activities are “sitting on the couch and talking,” then you’re good to go. But be careful if you’re planning on playing any games or sports. If you’re a sports fan who wants to try out the new set of Demarini softball bats that just came in, then that’s well and good, but maybe you shouldn’t be serving your guests vodka before you ask them to hit a flying projectile with a bat.
It’s also a kind gesture to think about any recovering alcoholics who may be attending the party, or even people who just don’t drink booze very often. Maybe they’re on some kind of medication, or maybe they just don’t like the taste of it. But make sure to have some beverages available for the non-drinkers as well. A few cans of regular and diet soda can go a long way towards making those people feel welcome. You want everyone to have a good time, regardless of the drink that is (or isn’t) in their hand.