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Good (alcoholic) drink for a party?

My wife and I will be having a small New Year's Eve party and I'm looking for suggestions for a good drink that I can make a large amount of and not have to play bartender all night. I don't want anything too sweet or too strong, and I'd like to be able to make it a day or two before the actual party, because I have to work on the 31st. So, any ideas? Thanks in advance for the help.

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    1. re: LindaWhit

      I recently made the Cranberry Spiced Sangria from this site. It is very festive and pretty. I contains wine, cointreau and port - and very little cranberryjuice. (I added much more juice.) It contains 2 cups of cranberries and a couple of diced apples that have been soaked in the spiced simple syrup - and more cointreau and port. You can add more juice and wine to the pitcher when it starts getting low.

      1. re: cackalackie

        Roast a few orange halves (or grill in a hot cast iron pan or skillet just to carmelize, can be made a day in advance) stud them with cloves and it's a nice addition to a Sangria. Roasted apples work as well. "Float " some brandy on the top to liven everything up.

    2. Champagne punch fits the bill:

      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      Make the base in advance and add the bubbly stuff right before serving.

      1. Difficult to make a one-size-fits-all, especially for a whole evening. Instead of being bartender, when not just a bucket of cold beers and mixers, some spirit bottles and instructions to make your own.

        If you are committed to providing this then I think you will need two. The red wine and white wine drinkers tend to fall in different groups so both of the previous suggestions are good, but I'm not sure either-or is the way to go.

        1. I have done the red sangria thing at several parties and have found almost no body that doesn't like it. Mine is less sweet than what you get in most restaurants, and I have found that red and white wine drinkers and beer drinkers all like it. I very loosely follow a recipe I found years ago, and the main trick is that I use club soda instead of 7-up in it. I guess maybe the bubbles make it more like a wine punch than a true sangria.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cycloneillini

            Exactly what I've found as well, cycloneeillini. And the club soda added at the end just adds a light sparkle (7-Up would add more sweetness that I wouldn't want).

          2. The best make-ahead is a retro Craig Claiborne standby -- the holiday punch from the French section of the old NYTimes International Cookbook. Make it early in the day to mellow, but add the champagne just before serving.