Winter hibernation or party hosting, you won’t fall short of stellar by following these pro pointers from Creative Beverage Director and one of Canada’s best bartenders, Grant Sceney.
1. MIS EN PLACE
If you ask any chef or bartender what one of the most important preparation tasks during pre-service is, they will answer with, ‘mise en place’. Translating to “everything in its place”, having everything well prepared, organized and ready before guests arrive makes for a smooth and enjoyable service for all.
2. GET LOW (ABV)
We all want our friends to have fun, but never when that one friend takes it too far. Making punches that are low in alcohol and having non-alcoholic options will ensure everyone has a good time and can get home safely. An easy method to remember for punch is this classic Barbadian rhyme: one of sour (citrus juice), two of sweet (syrup), three of strong (rum or liquor of choice), four of weak (tea/soda or ginger beer).
3. BYO (BUILD YOUR OWN)
Be the master of your bar and make your at-home bar interactive by having a ‘build your own’ station like the classic gin & tonic or a Moscow mule station. Purchase a selection of fresh herbs, citrus and berries and let your guests build their own journey.
4. REUSE AND RECYCLE
When you use an ingredient, try to use it in its entirety. For example, if your cocktail calls for lemon juice, use a fruit peeler to take the lemon peels off first, this can be used to steep and create an infused simple syrup (1 part hot water: 1 part sugar), resulting in a delicious lemon cordial for a punch, or use the peels as martini garnishes. If you have to use straws, opt for the paper ones, or invest in a set of metal straws, which can also double as a great design accent on a bar cart.
5. ICE, ICE, BABY
The most important ingredient in nearly every cocktail is the ice. Fill a Tupperware container with water or tea and put in your freezer two days prior. This makes a great big ice block that melts slowly in your punch bowl. You can also purchase a variety of different molds that allow frozen spheres and large cubes from supply stores such the Modern Bartender.