Serving drinks to your friends and family brings up another thing to have to organize at the holidays. Not many of us stock a full bar in our houses. We aren't trained as bartenders either, so deciding what to serve guests in the line of a "cocktail" can be daunting.
I came up with an idea that has benefited me many times in cutting down my bar coordination and has benefited those who have a cocktail at my house because they get to experience new and different libations. We call it The Drink of the Day.
There's a formula for The Drink of the Day and anyone can do it. I guarantee you that if you follow this process and start serving The Drink of the Day at your parties, over 50% of your adult guests will gladly drink it, and that saves you money on stocking a bar, gives your guests something fun to drink, and keeps the mess of making all different kinds of cocktails off your counter. (I hate cleaning up dried maraschino cherry juice, and I bet you wouldn't miss it either.)
Here's the formula: Choose two liquors. The ones that work best are white or dark rum and vodka. The vodka can be flavored or regular; it depends on the drink you are making. Then choose a fruit juice and a "thinner." What's a thinner? It might be club soda, it might be another fruit juice, or it might even be a lot of ice that you are counting on to thin out the drink and make it less potent.
There are so many combinations I can't count. When you get the hang of this, you might choose one of your liquors to be Southern Comfort, a whiskey (rye), or even a bourbon or brandy. I don't recommend gin (except with tonic) or scotch (Scottish whiskey) for a drink-of-the-day ingredient. The people who drink gin and scotch are pretty puritan in how they want it served, and those two things are difficult, for the most part, to mix with too many other things.
The juices and sodas are pretty endless. Any kind of fruit juice makes the grade. Most white sodas work well and the others you can experiment with to your taste. Don't forget lemonade and iced tea as possible candidates.
When you get really fancy, you might start using liqueurs as an ingredient.
Then the next fun thing is to name your drink. The drink can have a name that goes along with the theme of your party. For a Super Bowl party the drink might include the name of the team you are rooting for. For St. Patrick's Day the drink might include Midori Liqueur which is green and you could name your drink The Leprechaun. You get the idea. People love waltzing up to your bar and saying, "I'll have one of those little Leprechauns!"
If you feel completely inept, buy a bar book and just rename one of the drinks and serve it as your Drink of the Day.
Don't forget the non-alcohol drinkers and the designated drivers. You can make a non-alcoholic version of any Drink of the Day. Just leave out the "booze" and toss in a white soda instead.
Keep in mind if you want your drinks less potent, you can always add MORE juice or soda. I like to put in just enough liquor so guests can still taste it. This seems to remind them that they are drinking alcohol and not a fruit punch. I usually keep the proportions at least four times higher on the juice than the alcohol.
Here are two drink recipes to get you started: Merry Berry Margaritas and Dreamy Martini's.