Tonight I’m co-hosting a party with the amazing Paul Barclay and Erin Alexander, whereby they will make delicious tapas-style food and I will recommend and mix drink pairings for guests. It’s super exciting, and I am woefully underprepared! Just now I am sitting down to take a look at the menu (this stuff looks frickin’ delicious) and wondering about:
- whether I’ll have access to the appropriate mixers
- whether I should be pre-determining components rather than full drinks, to better suggest a pairing for the individual
- what sort of drinkers will be at the party (I’m best at hard liquor mixing, pretty bad at recommending beers and wines)
My general philosophy with mixing drinks for friends is to ask simple questions that help determine taste. For example, do you like drinks on the fruitier side? Or more “fresh”/”clean” tasting (like a martini)? Using a series of these questions (usually no more than three), I can find a tasty drink for the person. Doing pairings will be trickier, since I want to recommend a good drink to go with the dish but I don’t want to be giving tequila-based stuff to a rum drinker. Haven’t quite cracked that chestnut yet.
One thing I know for sure – after about two drinks, everyone’s going to love the third, so that takes the pressure off. Also, I’ll probably be taste-testing my creations, so I’m sure I’ll de-stress pretty quickly too!