Food from the Hart

Posts Tagged ‘drinks’

Art & Science Behind Stocking Your Bar

In Features on February 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Stocking your bar before a party can be tricky.  There’s no definitive formula, but here are some tips to help keep you on track.

Do What You Can Ahead of Time

  • Purchase all your liquor and wine in advance.  It will cut down on party day stress. You might even consider having it delivered if you live in an area where that is available.
  • Cut and organize your garnishes like lemons, limes, olives, cherries, onions the day before.  Store them in plastic bags and pop them in the fridge.

Alcohol Fun Facts

  • One bottle of wine is equal to 750 mL or 24.4 fluid ounces.  There are about 5 servings in a bottle.  Most bartenders recommend 1/2 bottle per person.
  • One fifth of liquor is approximately 750 mL or 25 fluid ounces.  There are about 13 two-ounce shots in each bottle.  It’s safe to say a fifth will serve 12 people.
  • At a dinner party, assume guests will have one drink before dinner, two glasses of wine with dinner and one drink every hour after that.
  • For a cocktail party, assume guests will have two drinks in the first hour and one to one and a half drinks every hour after.

The Art

  • Think about the profile of your guests.  Do they like wine? Any big beer drinkers? Prefer vodka over whiskey? You know they love to party.  Adjust your bar set up accordingly.
  • Consider the season, time of day and day of the week.  In fall/winter, guests are more likely to go for red over white. Spring/summer will be the opposite. Afternoon parties lend themselves to lighter consumption, stock up on wine and beer over the hard stuff.  Friday and Saturday night parties will often last longer than Monday night affairs.
  • When purchasing mixers like soda, juice and tonic water, opt for liter bottles instead of cans.  This saves you money, cuts down on waste, and will reduce your clean up time.

The Science

The table below should help you plan for your next party.  Keep in mind this is just a guide, feel free to adjust based on you and your guests preferences.

BEVERAGE 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-24
Red Wine 

4 bottles 7 bottles 10 bottles 12 bottles
White Wine 

4 bottles 7 bottles 10 bottles 12 bottles

1 case 2 cases 2-3 cases 3 cases

1 fifth 1-2 fifths 2 fifths 3 fifths

1 fifth 1-2 fifths 2 fifths 3 fifths

1 fifth 1 fifth 2 fifths 2 fifths

1 fifth 1 fifth 2 fifths 2 fifths

1 fifth 1 fifth 1 fifth 1-2 fifths


Five 2-liter bottles Six 2-liter bottles Eight 2-liter bottles Eight 2-liter bottles


Orange-Scented Hot Cocoa

In Recipes on January 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Yield: 6 servings

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

There’s nothing like a warm cup of cocoa on a cold day.  In this recipe we combine chocolate with a hint of orange.  It’s a really nice spin on a classic homemade cup of hot chocolate.  For another twist, you could add a shot of espresso to each up to make an Orange-Scented Mocha.

1 3/4 cups whole milk or half and half

1 tablespoon of arrowroot

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup sugar

12 strips of orange zest


Combine 1/4 cup of milk and arrowroot in a bowl to make a slurry.  Mix until smooth and silky.  The arrowroot is flavorless and will help thicken the cocoa.

Place the remaining milk into a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. When the milk begins to bubble whisk in the sugar.  Then whisk in the arrowroot mixture until the milk thickens – 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the chocolate.  Continue mixing until the chocolate has completely dissolved.

Divide among mugs and drop in a one or two pieces of orange zest.

Warm Spiced Cider

In Recipes on January 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm

This is a fan favorite! A quick tip, if you have a slow cooker, combine all the ingredients in it and let it simmer.  You can even serve the cider out of the cooker for the party.  Saves time and dishes! Try topping it with some whipped cream.  Yum!!

Yield: 12

Cooking Time: 30

2 quarts good apple cider

1 tablespoon allspice berries

6, 4 inch cinnamon sticks

8 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Rum or brandy to taste


In a large saucepan over medium heat combine the cider and all the spices.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain the cider to remove the spices.

Add in rum or brandy to taste.  Garnish with whipped cream and serve warm.

*If you choose to use a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and heat on low for 3-4 hours.

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