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Christmas, Tropical Style
Catering to All
Obviously, especially at Christmas, when guests arrive, you want to have something for them to drink.
So through December you stock up your bar, a little at a time. Being the Caribbean, Rum is the favorite so you must have that. Personally I like “Old Master”, so of course I get an Elephants foot of that. An Elephants foot is a one and a half liter bottle. You get a liter each of two other popular Rums. Of course, if a guest does not specify a brand, then you give them one of the others. You get a good Vodka, Gin or both. Scotch is always popular and so I try to get two. One a good, even if expensive, Malt. The other a cheap “who cares”. If a guest asks for a Scotch with either, only water or ice, they get the good one as they obviously appreciate a good whisky. If they ask for it with mixers, then you get them the cheap one as the true flavor is lost anyway. This same policy applies to Brandy; it makes no sense to waste expensive Brandy on someone who doesn’t appreciate its true taste. Yet you still want to cater for the occasional connoisseur.
Wine can always be a problem. If somebody drinks wine, then they usually know what they like and hopefully they will bring their own bottle. You cannot cater for all tastes and so I stick to having available a one and a half liter bottle each of Carlo Rossi Red, White and Rossi. If they are not happy with one of those, then I’m sorry, they can just go back out and get what ever it is they do want.
Fortunately, beer drinkers are not usually so fussy, so if you have a case of light and a case of dark, that should suffice.
Obviously, you have to have relevant mixers to go with the liquors but this too can be awkward. I usually settle for having a case of Coke and a case of Sprite, plus a bottle of Cranberry and a bottle of Orange Juice. Other than that, again I’m sorry; they’ll have to go get their own.
Once again, being the Caribbean, you have to ensure you have adequate supplies of ice.
Now, if you run out of anything, it would normally indicate that you are having a good time, with good friends and so they will usually “chip in” to get any replenishments that are needed.
Well obviously, if you are intending people to come and eat, then you would usually have invited them and so cater accordingly. However if it is just casual visitors that you may expect, then you still want to have something that they can nibble on. Peanuts, chips and dip are always a favorite but if you want to take it a stage further then a few items on sticks [tooth picks] are a fairly easy choice. I will get Pineapple chunks, sliced Jalapeño, cocktail onions, cut slices of ham and cubed cheese. I place these in dishes next to a pack of tooth picks. Let them make their own thing in a style they like rather than wasting any. If you can put a few Christmas chocolates or sweets about the place even better, if not then I doubt anyone will complain.
Now, for once, this is easy. Usually throughout the year having guests can be a little awkward. One or two guests may like one particular type of music, whilst another likes something different. Being Christmas, nobody seems to mind an assortment of Christmas songs being played, so either ensure you have a few CD’s of festive music or tune in to a radio station that is playing it. If there is somebody that doesn’t particularly like it, they won’t generally complain, being the season.
Hopefully you would have had a good time with some good friends and if they were good friends, then they probably bought a little something with them when they arrived. That being the case, then you will have to do very little restocking in order to prepare for New Years visitors.
Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all.