Drinks to Dessert: A Checklist for the Dinner Host

If you think back on the best parties you’ve been to they probably weren’t at a chain restaurant or banquet hall, but in the home; surrounded by the cozy comfort of loved ones. These days, homes are the ideal place to entertain the family and with a little planning in advance, you can create the scene for memories to be made and passed on to the next generation.

☑ Drinks!

The first thing any gracious host will do is offer their guests a drink! Have fun playing bartender while making a variety of drinks available for your guests. Consider having one signature drink for the night and name it after the get-together or a hire a bartender for the evening. Have a few options available, including red and white wine (add rosé for the modern wine-lover!), three different types of beer (a smooth porter, pale ale and light lager will do the trick!), a non-alcoholic option,  and consider stocking up on some juice boxes for the younger crowd!

TRY THIS TIP: Personalizing glasses with charms or dry-erase markers will cut down on empties piling up in odd places.

Read Also: What’s Not To Love About Italian Beers? 

Don’t forget to have plenty of ice on hand!

☑ Apps!

Rich riccotta fills eggplant rolls at Jim Alesci's Place in Solon, Ohio, photographed Friday April 17, 2015. (Peggy Turbett Photography)Rich riccotta filled eggplant rolls at Jim Alesci’s Place in Solon, Ohio

Not for your phone; these app’s are for your early birds to snack on while you’re receiving guests.  Forgo the cliché, community bowl of dry pretzels. Chips and dips are messy and require multiple containers and the ability to balance a plate and a drink. Disaster! Opt for light, one-bite foods or divvy up snacking food like nuts in advance into small disposable cups. This will keep things light, won’t impede anyone’s appetite for dinner and clean up will be a snap!

TRY THIS TIP: Everyone loves cheese… and we have plenty of it!

☑ The Main Event

Family - Frank - Donna - Jim

Depending on the number of guests, you may do a sitdown dinner; for larger crowds that are coming and going grazing is a good option. This keeps you and your guests mobile and able to meet and greet as the night goes on. These days, great hosts focus more on making guests feel welcome than feeling tied down to making every dish on their own. If you have a signature dish that the whole family looks forward to, it’s ok to supplement that with prepared foods – no one will judge! At the end of the day, the best thing you can give guests at your event is your time.

☑ Dessert

Alesci's pastry array

Make dessert memorable by choosing something unique from Alesci’s bakery. Put together a platter of different sweets to suit a multitude of tastes and preferences from savory to sweet!

Going for small bites instead of large slices of cake for example keeps clean up to a minimum and you can accommodate the various dietary restrictions.