Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Superior Sips

Curating the perfect beverage menu for events takes craft, creativity, and consideration

By Amanda Christensen

When it comes to event planning, food and drink can be as important as keynoters and venue selection. For drinks, specifically, it’s necessary to consider several factors when putting together the menu—with gatherings ranging from corporate galas to colleague cocktail hours, the options should be diverse and well-catered to the attendees. Components like the staff behind the bar, glassware, and the inclusion of nonalcoholic and allergy-friendly options can all make or break a sipping experience.

The shape of glassware deserves a spot on your list of key drink menu considerations. || Courtesy of San Morello

1. Having an expert on hand throughout the planning process and during the event itself is a must—hiring a mixologist for your gathering is a great way to ensure everything is crafted well. While the title might be more honorary than formal, a mixologist differs from a traditional bartender in that they tend to have a more specialized knowledge of cocktails and thus are able to craft one-of-a-kind experiences. Attendees can provide a mixologist with their preferred base liquors, flavors, and garnishes, which the mixologist will then use to concoct something special.

2. Make an impression with the use of specific glassware for each drink. Not only can spe-
cially shaped glassware make cocktails look extra sophisticated, but these different types of glasses also can serve to enhance flavors—the tulip glass, for example, can aid in drawing up the flavor and aroma of hops in certain beers like India pale ales and Belgian saisons. Champagne is best in flutes, mojitos in highball glasses, whiskey in an Old Fashioned glass, and so on. The appearance of these drinks in their specialized glasses can immediately catch the eye and spark excitement.

3. And lastly, it is important to acknowledge that not all attendees will want alcohol, so plan ahead and have nonalcoholic (NA) options at the ready. Mocktails and NA beers, seltzers, and wines are all top choices. If possible, also consider any allergies to liquors, flavors, syrups, and garnishes. Add notes to the menu, as well, that specify which options will be gluten-free or contain yeast, for example. You might not be able to address all concerns, but taking the extra step to cover as many bases as you can might give attendees more peace of mind.